English Heritage, the charity which looks after over 400 historic sites across the country, will host a ‘Teacher Twilight’ education session at Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire to offer a taster of what pupils can expect on a visit. 

Gainsborough Old Hall

Source: © Christopher Ison

Pupils will now be able to explore the history associated with Gainsborough Old Hall.

The newly opened property, which is said to be one of the UK’s best preserved medieval manor houses, is welcoming teachers for the special event on 22nd September offering information on King Henry VIII and Catherine Howard who stayed at the Hall in 1541.

The session, which runs from 4pm until 5.30pm, will offer a special-access taster of English Heritage’s new Prepare for a Feast: The King is Coming Discovery Visit.

Matthew Lester, education visits officer for English Heritage, will guide teachers through the visit, showing how it supports teaching and aims to engage pupils, while senior curator for the North Kevin Booth, who led the reinterpretation of the Hall and has conducted extensive research into its history, will be on hand to answer questions over complimentary drinks and snacks.

Kevin Booth said: “Gainsborough Old Hall is a gem of a building, but it’s so much more than that: it’s the memories and voices of the many unique people who’ve inhabited it over the last 500 years which make it so special.

“It has been an absolute privilege to be able to work through the building, finding clues and then connecting them to the people and their stories, bringing those voices to life for our visitors.”

Gainsborough Old Hall

Source: © Christopher Ison

English Heritage curators have worked hard to restore original features at the hall.


English Heritage curators have researched the original interiors, taking time to understand the biography of each room and gently bring it back to life.

Paint analysis showed a mid-Victorian gothic assembly room, a bright airy dining room and a rhubarb and custard masonic temple. These spaces have been reimagined to tell the stories of the building.

Glazing and cleaning work has been carried out on 15 portraits of the Hickmans, the family who bought Gainsborough Old Hall in 1596. The family abandoned it in 1730 but continued to own and oversee the building until 1969. 

The building can also be seen as a skeletal stage set, with a cast of characters and a plot line with twists and sub-plots to tell the story of the Hall to visitors.

Places for the ‘Teacher Twilight’ event are free but limited, so to reserve a place call the education booking team on 0370 333 0606 or sign up here