Lamport Hall and the surrounding Estate are cared for by the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust, a charitable trust which aims to promote historic and aesthetic education. We promote education in a number of fields. We offer gardening courses through the Lamport Gardening Academy, art courses and study days on various historical topics. We also work closely in conjunction with Moulton College and the University of Leicester.

The Ishams and Education

The Isham family has historically had a long tradition of interest in education. From the 16th century the Ishams built up a reputable library collection, containing works on theology, philosophy, science and the languages. The education of Isham children was taken seriously. Home tutors were employed and many went to Rugby School and the University of Oxford. Over the eighteenth century alone, five Ishams graduated with an MA qualification and four with a Doctorate. Crucially, the daughters were also educated along with their brothers, which was unusual.

Until universal education became law in the 1880s, the poor had very little access to education. The Ishams were struck by the unfairness of this. Sir Justinian, the 2nd Baronet, founded a charity for apprentices in 1675 and oversaw the building of Clipston School. He served as trustee for the school, a position held by an Isham for over 200 years. Sir Edmund, the 6th Baronet, left money in his will to build the parish school at Hanging Houghton, which offered free schooling for every child in the parish. It was later extended in the 19th century by Sir Charles, the 10th Baronet.

When Sir Gyles Isham set up the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust in 1974, he included within the aims of the Trust the promotion of historic and aesthetic education. Today, this is done through a variety of different channels. Study days and lectures are offered, as well as the series of ‘Lamport Masterclasses’ and Royal Horticultural Society courses through the Lamport Gardening Academy. The Trust also works closely in conjunction with several local higher education institutions (details below).

The Trust was delighted to be awarded the Sandford Award in 2017 for its educational programmes. The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles.

University of Leicester: East Midlands Research Initiative

    Set up in 2011 between the University of Leicester, the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust and the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust, EMRI aims to promote research into the history of country houses, their estates and the wider communities which developed around them. Students are provided with the opportunity to access both the Lamport and the Buccleuch archives.

    Lamport has worked in conjunction with Moulton College in Northamptonshire for many years. Its agriculture, countryside, design and horticultural students regularly use the Hall, gardens and the Estate as an educational resource. As an example, one class of students recently did a project setting out their vision for redundant farm buildings across the Estate, while another class analysed some barn owl pellets found in one of those buildings and compared the diets with national comparisons. We were pleased to discover from this that the barn owls are thriving! In addition the Trust supports students in both horticulture and stonemasonry with bursaries.

    Students within the Fine Art department have been using Lamport as a source of inspiration for new works of art and exhibitions as well as studying the collection itself. The second year students make use of the collection for ‘analysis through transcription’, a process by which they chose a painting from the collection and make a copy. The first year students made use of Lamport as a source of inspiration for their public arts festival for which they had to design and create a piece of artwork to be exhibited in the hall and gardens.

    The collaboration with Lincoln is designed to offer students the chance to make use of the collection and the archives. As well as being an example of a typical country house collection and the issues they may encounter when working in the industry, the students are able to practice and refine their conservation skills on objects from the collection. Again, bursaries are offered to support students.

    Both Sir Gyles Isham and his sister Virginia loved the stage, both on the boards and off, and so a partnership with the Royal & Derngate seemed a perfect fit.

    The Trust is delighted to be a supporter of the Unforgettable Gift Campaign through the Sir Gyles Isham Theatre Award. This campaign gives disadvantaged children an opportunity to enjoy one of the Christmas productions at the theatre. Working in partnership with the Northampton Community Foundation, groups such as those living in child poverty, ethnic minorities and those with learning disabilities are identified and given free tickets.

    The theatre run many youth programmes including youth companies, holiday projects and outreach activities as part of their Creative Learning provision. The theatre is an Arts Award Centre, helping children gain their bronze, silver and gold awards in theatre and the creative arts. The Virginia Isham Young People in Theatre Scholarships are designed to provide scholarships for young people either to take part in youth theatre or undertake their arts awards.

    Lucy Worsley presenting the Chairman of the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust Ltd with the Sandford Award
    2017 Sandford Awards ceremony celebrating excellence in heritage education, held at the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms, Bath.
    Picture: Chris Vaughan Photography
    Date: November 21, 2017