A group of eight children from Priory Infant School in Ramsgate has won the Heritage Schools Award from Historic England for their work researching the history of the Grade II listed houses, No 1 – No 19 Guildford Lawn. Before receiving the award, the ‘Time Detectives’ gave a presentation to an audience at Ramsgate Library about what they did and what they learned.

As part of the project, the Year 2 pupils visited Guildford Lawn, looked at census material as well as old newspapers in Ramsgate Library before interviewing a long-standing resident from the street, Bob Pryor. They researched who once lived in the 19 houses on Guildford Lawn since they were built back in 1842.

The Ramsgate Society also took the children on a guided walk to explore the early Victorian era and life at that time in Ramsgate. And Martin Crowther, a local freelance educator, ran a workshop with the children using objects and artefacts from the seaside town.

The project is part of Historic England’s commitment to the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone. The town was one of the first places in England to be given HAZ status. The HAZ aims to support Ramsgate’s regeneration as a prosperous maritime town where outstanding heritage and architecture is being brought together with new investment and development to boost the economy for the benefit of the local community.

Priory Infants is the first school to take part in the Ramsgate’s Remarkable Residents project, which is run by Historic England and led by Discovery Planet. The next school to take part is Christ Church CE Juniors. Pupils there will explore the local work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Vivienne Botting, Deputy Head Teacher at Priory Infant School said: “The children loved meeting historians, exploring historical artifacts, scrutinising maps, photographs, and paintings, as well as developing their research skills at the library. It’s been a joy to see their confidence grow as a result of the project. They now feel a sense of pride in their home town of Ramsgate with all its wonderful history and architecture.”

Helen Spencer, Heritage Education Manager at Historic England said: “What’s wonderful is that these children and their families now see Ramsgate through a different lens. This project has opened up their world to what has gone before them here and they’ve delved into the lives of the people that once inhabited the houses on Guildford Lawn. There is so much rich history here in Ramsgate for local people to explore.”

Nikki Hildesley, Co-Founder of Discovery Planet C.I.C. said: “We have been delighted to link locally with Historic England, Ramsgate Library, Martin Crowther and the Ramsgate Society to deliver Ramsgate’s Remarkable Residents, a unique and ambitious 10 week after school club for children, proving that you can never be too young to learn about local people and local history and that ordinary people can change the world.”

Speaking about the experience, the children said:

  • “Now that I know about the people who lived in Guildford Lawn, I like the houses more.”
  • “I loved looking at the old maps and seeing how Ramsgate has changed. My house wasn’t even there in 1842!”
  • “I liked finding out about life in Victorian times. Queen Victoria had nine children!”

The latest news about the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone can be found at https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/in-your-area/south-east/ramsgate-haz-news

For more information about the Heritage Schools Programme and free education resources visit https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/education/

About the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone
Ramsgate is one of 18 places to have been awarded Heritage Action Zone status by Historic England. The five- year project aims to capitalise on Ramsgate’s rich heritage.

The Heritage Action Zones scheme led by Historic England aims to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

In Ramsgate, Historic England is working with Thanet District Council, Ramsgate Coastal Community Team and other partners, to deliver a variety of projects designed to engage the local community as well as increase understanding of the town’s rich local heritage including the exciting maritime story.

For more information, please visit https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/ramsgate/

About Historic England
We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories these places tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.