The Wilderspin National School Museum in Barton was one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant last November. Now, this exciting project called The Wilderspin Legacy, has led to the launch of two new publications researched by volunteers at the Wilderspin National School Museum in Barton. The Trust was given £6,100 to research and tell their own story and find out more about the work of Samuel Wilderspin, pioneer of infant schools in the 1800s – a lifetime’s work that culminated in Barton at the former Church School on Queen Street.
All Our Stories, was a new small grant programme, launched in 2012 in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – and was designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups carried out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.
The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people. The programme and HLF All Our Stories proved a real hit and the Preservation Trust was one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. The Trust runs the Wilderspin National School Museum in a restored Grade II* listed National School which has unique links with the British educational pioneer, Samuel Wilderspin. The grant enabled volunteers involved with the Museum to find out more about Wilderspin and appreciate better his place in the history of British education. Most of the volunteers travelled to Hertfordshire to see another school museum – the British Schools Museum at Hitchin – with its Lancasterian schoolroom of 1837.