A team of pupils from Strood Academy in Kent is helping to bring a 13th century-building back into the public eye.
Temple Manor, a grade 1 listed medieval stone hall built by the Knights Templar – a military and religious order founded during the Crusades – is on an industrial estate,, with few people aware of its existence.
The school and Medway Council – which manages the site on behalf of English Heritage – applied for a grant to help to restore the building last year, and has now received £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme.
The council will work closely with the school to restore the building and to explore ways to engage members of the public, particularly young people, with the old hall.
This project will help to shine a light on a little-known treasure, and develop new ideas to preserve Temple Manor for the future
Is current plan is to develop the site into an attraction that uses augmented reality technology to engage with younger audiences. It will team up with local universities to explore how this can be achieved.
During weekly after-school clubs led by history teacher Jayne Fenton, Strood’s year 7, 8 and 9 pupils are researching the building’s history and picking out facts that will help to tell the story of the site to visitors.
Once restoration work is complete, the pupils will also help with the promotion and marketing of the site. They have already hosted a focus group with local home-schooled pupils (pictured below) to find out what they liked most about the building.
Strood’s principal Kim Gunn, said: “The project will help pupils to develop many skills including digital media and communication, alongside learning about an important local heritage site, which we hope will encourage more people to visit and learn about its history and relevance to the local area.”
Stuart McLeod, head of the lottery fund in the south east, added: “The Young Roots programme is all about giving young people the opportunity to develop their skills and connect with their local heritage. This project will help to shine a light on a little-known treasure, and develop new ideas to preserve Temple Manor for the future.”