The historic 54 acre campus at the University of Roehampton is being used by students as the basis for a pioneering project including researching the lives of high society Georgian and Victorian figures.
Posted: 23 March 2015
The research project uses existing buildings, combined with archive material, art works, landscape features and the services of the University’s expert heritage advisor Gilly King to reveal a unique picture of the area’s past. The project, funded by the Higher Education Academy, is believed to be the first of its kind at a university. It will now be set up as a model for other institutions with historic grounds.
At the launch on Tuesday, students presented the findings of their work, including details of the beautiful Burne Jones stained glass windows at Whitelands College, and unveiled an art installation about highwaymen who targeted the roads out of London. Four alumni of the University’s founding colleges were interviewed about their memories of college life. During the launch a discussion compared their experiences with those of current students.
As part of the project, new web pages have been designed which will act as a significant resource for local history enthusiasts and schools. Details about people and buildings on the website include:
Dr Sonya Nevin who co-ordinated the project, said: “Our students are fortunate to have a large campus with such a depth of history, so making use of this wealth of material within our degree schemes is a great way to bring their studies to life and to develop skills for use in the heritage sector. We intend that the principles of this project will guide other universities to make the most of their own history to educate students.”
The website also records local life from the 18th century onwards, including the influence of the arts and crafts movement, and religious communities, such as the Jesuits who owned Parkstead House during the 19th and 20th centuries when it was named Manresa House. Famous architects like William Chambers and Robert Taylor are included, as is information about the pioneering work which the four colleges that now constitute the University carried out to educate young women in the 19th century.
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