Activities and Events

What have we done so far?

Credit: ?

Year one (2018): country house visits, writing workshops, publication of leaflets, research by 10 commissioned writers, children’s conference.

Year two (2019): public speaking workshops, Massive Online Open Course for writers and heritage professionals, exhibition preparation in National Trust houses.

Year three (2020): appearances at literature festivals and black history month events by children, historians and writers, launch of project books.

Years four and five (2021-2022): child advisory boards and project historians assist the National Trust with further research, training and reinterpretation projects on the theme of colonial legacies.


What have the 100 children done so far?



What have the 100 children done so far?

Copyright: Ingrid Pollard

The 100 children across the schools linked with Colonial Countryside have been involved in various projects in connection with the houses they have visited.

Historians have found that as many as one in every six British country houses is connected to the history of empire. Charlecote Park in Warwickshire is no exception. Ten children from Colmore Primary in Birmingham explored this National Trust house with the historian Kate Donington and the writer SuAndi.


Some examples of work done by children at Colmore Primary:

Charlecote Park painting_cropped

Below are some examples of the creative writing produced by the children. Here is a poem written by Lana and an essay written by Theo in response to a question posed as the children looked at a painting of Captain Thomas Lucy: 'but who is the black page boy wearing the metal collar, standing by his horse?'

The Little Boy

He has no name,

He has no home.

All by himself.

No one sees him in Sir Thomas’s painting.

He wears a silver collar

like a pet

from Africa or the Caribbean,

in the picture as a symbol.

Dressed like an ornament,

a lost treasure pushed to the side.

He has no name,

He has no home.

Lana Habeel


We compiled a book of the children's poems after their visit.

Click here to download


The Horse

I am a horse. This is not a great animal to be when you are painted on a canvas. To begin with, it was just me and a setting sun behind me. Gradually my artist progressed and other objects appeared. A red curtain, for instance, and a turquoise carpet. Eventually a grand head appeared. I recognised him as the owner of the house. He had been in the Dutch War and fought bravely. Slowly his body produced a fine brown coat and a luxurious hat. With him came an enslaved boy. His metal collar glinted in the light. Wouldn’t that collar hurt? I wondered why he wasn’t fully showing. Maybe the artist thought that I, a black majestic war horse, was far more important than an enslaved boy. Why was he treated so badly? I scanned the entrance hall and saw all the riches there. And I thought “what is the point in being rich when you treat people badly?”



We also compiled all of the children's essays after their visit to record their response to the various items and topics they encountered at Charlecote Park.

Click here to download



Children's Conference 2018

Source: Twitter (Credit: Corinne Fowler?)

On 16th November we held our first 'Children's Conference' at the Church of St James the Greater in Leicester. Teachers, historians and National Trust staff & volunteers heard about four National Trust houses with connections to the British Empire.

40 primary school children from Wheelers Lane Primary and Colmore Junior School presented on the colonial connections of Kedleston Hall, Charlecote Park, Wightwick Manor and Calke Abbey.

Source: Twitter (Credit: Corinne Fowler?)


Comments from some of the children at the conference:

Child's comment 1_cropped

Child's comment 2_cropped

Child's comment 3_cropped


Copyright: Ingrid Pollard

Upcoming Events

January: visit to Speke Hall and Sudbury Hall

March: public speaking workshops for children

December 2019: Launch of Massive Online Open Course

All our future events will be listed on the Centre for New Writing Events pageYou can also keep up to date with our events by following us on Facebook or Twitter.



For more information about Colonial Countryside events, please contact:

Dr Corinne Fowler


Phone: 07791989672

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Photography: Ingrid Pollard
Web Design: Daniella Briscoe-Peaple

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Contact the Centre

The Centre for New Writing
School of English
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Dr Corinne Fowler

Deputy Directors:
Dr Harry Whitehead
Mr Nick Everett

Project Manager:
(Colonial Countryside)
Kevin Ncube

Useful Links:
Creative Writing at Leicester