A community project aiming to bring the heritage of Seaton Delaval Hall to life has been awarded £24,000 in lottery funding.
The Delaval Lives project will see residents living around the National Trust run property in south east Northumberland, working with the conservation charity to investigate the existences of the people who once lived and worked there and then sharing their stories in a new and fun way.
Helen Nisbet, project manager for the National Trust, described the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant as a “brilliant start to 2012.”
“It means that we can help our visitors and local communities understand and learn about the history of the hall and about how the National Trust is committed to bringing its properties to life.
“We are really excited about the Delaval Lives project and look forward to taking people on this journey with us.”
During the next few months the Trust will be inviting the local community to participate in costume making workshops led by North East based fashion designer Paul Shriek.
The workshops will include researching, designing and creating outfits and participants will learn the art of costume making and sewing. The final pieces will be showcased in what promises to be an exciting Georgian catwalk show early in the summer. Afterwards they will be used to create a dressing-up box for visitors.
The HLF funding will also enable volunteers at Seaton Delaval to learn the art of story-telling from a professional story teller, reflecting on theatre, industry, tragedy and the comedy that the hall and its inhabitants have witnessed over the centuries.
In addition, the hall will make learning packs for local schools and offer other educational activities looking at the 18th century lives of Seaton Delaval’s owners and its servants and estate workers as well as the local industry.
Helen continued: “The overall aim is to bring the place to life in a unique way in the hope of widening our appeal and offer and to make a visit to the hall special and fun.”
The Delaval Lives project is a partnership with Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn Museum in Ashington, which has loaned the Delaval section of its Working Lives exhibition to the hall.
The exhibition draws on archival information and stories about the property and its characters during the late 1700’s during the time of the cutting of Seaton Sluice. The exhibition opens this weekend at Seaton Delaval Hall, regarded as among the finest works of its architect, Sir John Vanbrugh.
The head of HLF in the North East, Ivor Crowther, said: “At HLF we always look to fund projects that are interesting and different, and that will reach out to new audiences and provide innovative and exciting learning opportunities for everybody to enjoy.
“We were therefore delighted to be able to support the Delaval Lives project which will give communities across the North East a chance to show their passion and creativity, as well as creating fun new opportunities for visitors to explore the history of Delaval Hall.”