Hillmorton children uncover more mast site history

The old mast site in Rugby has been the focus of a history project for Hillmorton Primary School pupils during the summer term and their findings have educated not just the 233 that took part but the whole community.

Many remember the site’s famous radio masts but what happened within the security gates and walls of Rugby Radio Station from the 1920s is now much more familiar around Hillmorton as children spread the word through their research, interviews and presentations.

The school project, which was sponsored by developers of the mast site, involved children from all ages at the school and involved a visit to the radio station’s Grade II listed C Station building, research on local knowledge about the site and interviews with former workers and historians.

Their project culminated this week with a presentation of all their findings, their artwork and sculptures, photography, drawings, poems and films.

Johanne Thomas from developer Urban&Civic said; “I was so impressed by how enthusiastic the children were for the history of the site and how interesting they found it. Relating the ground-breaking work that happened here in the 1920s to the mobile phones and ipads that many of the children use on a daily basis really helped to bring it alive. The scale of the building and the equipment that was needed back then was also a shock to children, and as always, children ask the best questions so they really uncovered some interesting stuff.

"Working with local schools and using development to engage and inspire children and young people is something we do across all of our large development sites and at Rugby we have the fascinating, rich history of the site as a good starting point. We look forward to continuing to work with Hillmorton School and other local schools, including our own at Houlton when it opens next year, to bring more opportunities for children to learn about development and topics like ecology, architecture and construction.”

Catherine Crisp, head teacher of Hillmorton Primary School added; “When we embarked on the project with Urban&Civic, it became clear very quickly that there was multiple learning opportunities for the children. There was of course the history link but they also got to think about science and maths – it was really varied. We wanted this to come across in the project using photography, videography and editing, art, research and even poetry. The children had a great time and a lot of fun with this project.”

The school project is part of a wider piece of work being done by the developers on the heritage of RadioStation Rugby. As well as naming the development Houlton after the first transatlantic broadcast from Rugby Radio Station in 1927, they have also compiled a heritage website documenting the history of the site and will be publishing a book written by former radio station manager and local resident Malcolm Hancock.

The first phase at Houlton is underway with house building starting over the summer.

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