Project to help child historians to explore English country houses colonial connections

A new initiative by our Centre for New Writing will mobilise child historians to develop new audiences for cutting-edge research about British country houses’ Caribbean and East India connections.

The three year collaborative project, entitled ‘Colonial Countryside’, will encourage schools to engage with country homes with the help of historians and writers. Peepal Tree Press will publish and resource new writing, stimulating widespread interest in this neglected aspect of British history.

The team, from the Centre for New Writing, is kick-starting the initiative by crowdfunding a pilot event with Colmore Junior School in Birmingham, working with Kenwood and Harewood House.

The crowdfunding, to run from 3 July – 7 August, will pay for 20 children to visit country houses and related archives. It will also fund an historian and a writer, also paying for a podcast narrated by the children, who will recount their experiences.

Dr Corinne Fowler, Director of the Centre for New Writing, said: “Children make great researchers. They ask different sorts of questions to adults. This project will be led by children, who will introduce parents, children, teachers and country house visitors to a wide range of colonial connections. We want to encourage children to think of themselves as future leaders and historians in the field.”