This compact historical site is a splendid educational resource that covers several themes in the national curriculum. If a visit is to encompass all three buildings, then ideally a whole morning should be devoted to it. This allows for some drawing opportunities as well. Classes will be provided with a guide for the duration of the visit.
King John's House is a 13th-century stone building with thick flint walls. Geography features in the places from which the stone came - Isle of Wight, Chilmark in Wiltshire and the Hampshire Downs - and encourages discussion on the difficulties of transport and construction at the time.
Later Tudor 'modernisation' offers different techniques with useful sections of 'wattle' work exposed where the 'daub' has fallen off. This building helps an appreciation of the way in which real houses have altered over the centuries to accommodate the aspirations of successive generations.
Information learned on the lower floor can be used upstairs as the children act as 'house detectives', seeking old window openings, blocked doorways and other medieval features.
The timber-framed house is very evocative with casement windows, wide floorboards, sloping walls and floors, sagging ceilings and a steep Tudor staircase all helping to create a true atmosphere. A couple of replacement timbers allow appreciation of modern-machine cut timbers versus old hand-tooled ones. There is a table model of a timber framework plus a display about the house carpenter's skills. Its association with the additions made in King John's House adds to an understanding of the Tudor period. We also run Tudor lifestyle re-enactment days where the children get to try every day activities, then dress up and take part in a typical feast.
TUDOR RE-ENACTMENT DAYS (click here)
The brick building has original sash windows and the shop windows and main door are unaltered. The old shop fitments have been reassembled upstairs in the museum and many contemporary shop items are displayed in the glass cabinets. Another room has been set up as the family room of the Moody family who lived in the house until 1974. Other aspects of Victorian Romsey are represented, giving a full flavour of a market town of the time. There are practical activities, particularly in the old shop.
VICTORIAN RE-ENACTMENT DAYS (click here)
Development of Building Techniques
The three buildings together take the student from the 13th to the 19th century via three very distinct styles. They offer tactile experience with a range of building materials as well as visual appreciation of patterns, tessellation and the importance of geometric shapes to construction. The buildings also encourage an understanding of the way in which building materials dictate or influence the style.
As an optional extra, it is possible to arrange for a short tour of the town centre to enlarge on any or all of the above themes.
The garden is also a study in itself. Mention should be made on booking if any specialist information is required about plants.
It is essential to book in advance (no pre-payment requested). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit or to ask for further details.
School visits are welcome to all three buildings all year round as long as they are pre-booked.
Teachers are welcome to visit the centre by arrangement at no charge. Teacher packs are available on request.