Children on stage at the Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival
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Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival 2017 © Historic England
Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival 2017 © Historic England

Stamford Schoolchildren Celebrate First Conservation Area

Find out how children from East Midlands Heritage Schools in Stamford helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of England’s first conservation area. All involved had a fantastic experience, learnt new skills and came to understand the importance of looking after the heritage of Stamford.

Eighty pupils plus teachers met in anticipation at Stamford Art Centre. They were there with their parents and friends to see the films they had made on Stamford’s heritage. During the evening, we watched several short films made by young people from three local schools.

The films brought the history of the town’s schools to life. Fifty years ago, Stamford was the first conservation area in England. Local men went off to war in 1914 but did not return. A ditch across a school field was once an important canal. 

Each school had worked on their films since March 2017. The project started with a Heritage Schools training day for teachers from all the schools in Stamford.

School children filming with their teachers outside a chuch in front of poppy wreaths.
Bluecoat schoolchildren filming in Stamford

The Bluecoat Primary School film

At the site of the homes of men who fought in the First World War, the children tell their story to camera. At the war memorial, they explain how many were involved. At Stamford School, they add the story of a local school master.

The children made their films with support from Cath Pike from Lincolnshire Memorials and Memories programme and Ian Marshman from Heritage Lincolnshire. They had film making workshops to learn skills they can use in the future. For all involved, it's been an unforgettable experience.

A group of three adults and two young people pose for a photo at the podium at the Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival
Bluecoat School come up to receive their awards at the Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival © Historic England

The Copthill School film

The children at Copthill often play in the grassy ditch that cuts across their school field near Uffington. They were amazed to discover that it was once the Stamford canal. They met a local landowner who told them of the wildlife and conservation of the old canal. They also filmed at the locks in Stamford and Wisbech that still exist. A shame it cannot be brought back to life.

Stamford Welland Academy's film

Students of all ages and abilities decided to find out about the history of their school. They uncovered the story of schools in Stamford as a whole and created a living timeline to show us. They interviewed people of all ages about their time at school in Stamford over the past 50 years. The children learnt a lot of new skills and created an important oral history for the town.

A group of 6 adults and a boy pose for a photo at the podium at the Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival
Staff and students from Stamford Welland Academy receive their awards © Historic England

Heritage Schools Film Festival

After watching the films, leader of South Kesteven District Council Councillor Matthew Lee and Mayor of Stamford Councillor Anthony Story presented awards to all three schools. As well as presenting Heritage Schools awards and ‘Oscars’ for each school, they also presented all the children involved with prizes.

A Heritage Schools Award, 3 oscar-like statues, and a clap board.
Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival awards © Historic England
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