The Ishams and Education
Although Sir Gyles Isham established the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust in 1974 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.
University of Leicester: Centre for the Study of the Country House
In 2004 the Trust founded The Centre for the Study of the Country House with the University of Leicester. We contribute to the teaching and host practical and demonstrative lectures for the MA programme The Country House in Art, History and Literature. We have also co-developed a programme of annual guest lectures and individual study days. These events exist to promote all aspects of the study of historic houses and their estates. Through its research and teaching, the Centre gives its students the opportunity to access Lamport’s contacts and archives, as well as studying its architecture and art, landscape and estate and an internship is offered to a student on the MA course.
Past AL speakers Contributors to the MA course
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. An internship is offered to an MA student from within the Department of History. There are currently three AHRC PhD students working under the Initiative:
• Emma Purcell; ‘Great House and its Household Economy at Work at the English Versailles in the long 18th Century’
• Helen Bates; ‘Customs in Common versus Contested Rights and their Stewardship from the estate office of the English Versailles in the long 18th Century’
• Tamar Moore; ‘Household Cures and Female Charity: The Welfare and Well-Being of the Estate of the English Versailles in the long 18th Century’
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!
University of Northampton: Fine Art BA & MA
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.
University of Lincoln: Conservation of Historic Objects BA & MA
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.
Royal & Derngate Theatre
The Trust is delighted to be a supporter of the Unforgettable Gift Campaign through the Sir Gyles Isham Young People in 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.