Archive for the ‘Future Plans’ Category

Hampshire County Council is delighted to announce that following the award of a new grant of £630,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund it is now able to embark on Phase 2 of its development and conservation project.   This new project will continue to build on the original master plan to ensure that Basing House is developed to support the ambitions for conserving the historic buildings for future generations and encouraging more people to visit or get involved with researching or looking after the  site.

This blog will keep you up to date with the works as they progress over the next few months.

The main aims of the Phase 2 Project  

Aim 1

The ‘Cow Byre’ building in the Basing GrangeThe Cow Byre complex of former farm buildings (around the  Great Barn)  received structural repairs in Phase 1  to prevent further weakening. It will now be refurbished to complete the transformation of Basing Grange as a key part of the visitor and learning experience and as a home for community activities.  

The Cow Byre will be fitted out to support practical and hands-on activities related to the ongoing research into Basing House’s history and archaeology, and the nurturing and development of skills – past, present and future – that both created Basing House and will be required to support the ongoing investigation and conservation of the site. 

The byre will be available for use by community groups, for example by the Friends of Basing House or the Basingstoke Archaeology & History Society, using it as a base for their activities on the site. Groups would be encouraged to create their own exhibitions and provide workshops to support public understanding of the site, its history and conservation.  

Basing House will also facilitate the use of this space by partners (like Basingtoke Technology College and the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust) to support the development and teaching of heritage and conservation skills.

 Aim 2

To improve the understanding of the complex remains of Basing House by both restoring access to the cellars of the William Paulet’s Tudor house and installing a high-level viewing platform which will provide a birds-eye view of the remains of the Norman castle, the Tudor house, the Civil War defensive earthworks, and Basingstoke Common (site of the Oliver Cromwell’s main siege camp) and Old Basing village. Basing House is a key site in the county council’s ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ programme and this platform will become an important part of the experience for schools visiting the site as well as the general public.

Viewing platform (illustration)

Viewing platform (illustration)

Click here to see the  Viewing Platform location on a site plan.

Aim 3

To undertake a comprehensive conservation programme on the brickwork remains in order to prevent further loss of the important Tudor architectural features of the first Basing House in the ‘Citadel’ area of the site, and also ensure safe public access.

The brickwork remains are always vulnerable to severe weather conditons, as was proved in January 2010 when many consecutive nights of very hard frost and heavy snowfall caused the worst damage in living memory. Further damage occurred in the November that year. The proposed repair and conservation programme will be comprehensive and designed to provide long-term protection

January 2010

January 2010

Frost damage

An example of frost damage


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  Battle of Basing weekend1Battle of Basing weekend8 Battle of Basing weekend3Battle of Basing weekend5 Battle of Basing weekend10Battle of Basing weekend4

What a month it’s been!   

Our heartfelt thanks go out to the large number of people whose energy, commitment and enthusiasm helped to achieve the following milestones over the past few weeks.  

  • 14th August  Basing House re-opened after its £2.3 million refurbishment
  • 28th August  New museum exhibition opened
  • 28-30th August  the Battle of Basing. Thousands of people came to Old Basing at the bank holiday weekend to enjoy this spectacular event  featuring the Sealed Knot re-enactment society
  • 11th-12th September  Basing House was a popular destination for the National Heritage Open Days event
  • 15th September  a Special Viewing was held for funding partners, stakeholders and supporters of the development project (photo below) 
  • 17th, 21st, 23rd September  first schools visits since re-opening     

 Special Viewing 15 Sept 2010


 So what’s next?   Illustration of proposed footbridge

Work has not finished yet.  By next Spring Basing House will boast a new footbridge spanning the western ditch of the Norman bailey and sailing over the excavated remains of the western gatehouse to the Tudor house (illustrated right), and a new cafe too, The Bothy Tearoom, which will be run by a local catering firm.  

Looking a little further ahead, plans are being drawn up for exciting new themed play facilities for our younger visitors.  

On a sadder note, fundraising has begun for a programme of conservation for the Tudor house, which suffered greatly from the exceptionally severe frosts experienced last January.  Work is already under way but to complete the task and prevent further damage to this  important scheduled monument  more resources will have to be found.    


Upcoming events  

  • Saturday 2nd October  Geocaching day
  • Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th October Mary Rose Weekend
  • Saturday 30th October Halloween Ghost Walk!


And finally  

Please visit our website or Facebook page regularly for more information about events. You can see more  pictures and video of the Battle of Basing weekend there too,  and much more.  And don’t forget that new volunteers are always welcome! 

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New Events Programme and Learning Sessions at Basing House

Basing House is such a fascinating site and there are many topics that can be covered in education sessions that can be offered to schools, families, adult lifelong learning groups and local interest societies that it’s hard to know where to begin telling you our plans!

School Education Sessions

We are working hard to redesign the schools education programme that will be on offer at Basing House from September 2010. This involves consulting with schools to make sure that we are offering the best service possible to our local schools. New sessions for Primary and Secondary schools will look at topics such as:

• The differences between lives for the rich and poor in Tudor times at Basing House.
• The visits to William Paulet at his home Basing House by Queen Elizabeth I.
• The events during the siege of Basing House during the Civil War.
• Archaeological investigations at Basing House and the huge variety of objects that have been found here.

If you are a teacher and would like to contact us to discuss the new Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3 offers at Basing House, please visit our website where you will find more information about the planned sessions and contact details: www.hants.gov.uk/museum/basing-house/basing-house-news/basing-house-schools.htm

Provisional Events Programme

From the end of Summer 2010 there are going to be some great new family events being offered:

• There are going to be some archaeology pits that children can ‘excavate’ with finds and features to discover under the sand.
• Basing House is home to many bats and we have a resident barn owl; there will be an opportunity later this year to come and find out all about our shy wildlife.
• In October 2010 we will be inviting families for a spooky dusk walk around our historical site. Who knows what you will find walking around the grounds of Basing House!

The Basing House team will also be offering some great weekend events such as geo-caching and treasure hunts, as well as providing a varied programme of talks, lectures and tours throughout the year. Civil War re-enactment groups will continue to visit Basing House and re-enactment days will be offered. The community archaeology excavation will be taking place again this year, and the newly refurbished Basing House Museum will be showcasing the results of these excavations.

    Look out for some national events as well!

The Big Draw will be visiting Basing House in October 2010 and we will be supporting National Science and Engineering Week in March 2011 and, as always, site tours will be available as part of the nation-wide Heritage Open Days in September 2011.

Full details of all our events will be published in our What’s On leaflets and on our website.

Of course, you don’t have to come along to one of our events to enjoy Basing House. The site is going to be the perfect venue to have a family picnic, explore the ruins, or to just sit and soak up the atmosphere.

For now let us finish with two images:

This great photo appeared in the Basingstoke Gazette following a visit to Basing House by more than 80 Year 3 pupils from St Mary’s Junior School in Old Basing. Pupils learned how to collect and identify insects as part of National Insect Week:

National Insect Week at Basing House

The second photo was taken during the community archaeology excavations in May last year (2009). You can read more about the excavations on the Basing House website, under ‘Basing House Excavations’, www.hants.gov.uk/basing-house :

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Work continues to go well, despite the wetter weather in recent weeks, and some unexpected problems encountered. 

Drains, paths and fences at Grange Farm are nearing completion. The concessionary footpath around the Duke of Bolton’s field will re-open in the week beginning 7th December.

The door to the site museum has been widened, and the ramp leading up to it reconstructed – both measures to improve access for people with disabilities. New parking bays for blue badge holders are also being created outside the museum. 

Work to the main car park, off Barton’s Lane, is also nearing completion so pedestrian access to Cowdery’s Down will be restored soon too. 

Museums Service staff have stripped out the old exhibition displays from the museum and are now finalising plans for the new one. Simultaneously specialists are also working on selecting and conserving the objects that will go on display in the new exhibition.   

Volunteers from the Friends of Ancient Monuments (F.O.A.M.), continuing work begun last Spring, have now cleared more scrub to expose the western fishpond. 

Hampshire Highways Section have drawn up plans for a simple pedestrian crossing at Garrison Gate entrance, designed to improve the safety of visitors crossing from Grange Farm to visit the house and castle ruins.   Local residents and the local authorities are being consulted on the proposals.  

Scripting for all signage and information points, signage and multimedia presentations is well advanced.  Designs will be finalised over the next two months. 

Work is also continuing on the planning of an events programme for the opening next summer and beyond, and on preparation of the learning packs for teachers.  

Milestones expected to be reached before end of year: 

  • Re-opening of the concessionary public access across the Duke of Bolton’s field and from the site car park to Cowdery’s Down 
  • Completion of all major ground works before Christmas (weather permitting). Includes resurfacing of Grange Farmyard and Garrison Gate drive 
  • Removal of asbestos from WC block near Garrison Gate (one of those “unexpected problems”) 
  • Finalising of plans for road crossing 
  • Finalising of plans for museum exhibition 
  • Application to English Heritage for Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent for groundworks associated with information points and signage, and new footbridge over the bailey (west side)  
  • Application to Natural England for licence to carry out works in buildings where bats are present.

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So what’s next at Basing House?

With less than a year to go before we open next summer the team are already feeling the pressure and are busy working on a number of things that need sorting out soon.

For example interior designs, catering, events planning, finalising the scripts for information panels and audio guides, designing the new museum, tourist road signs, teaching resources, recruiting new staff and volunteers, and yet more fundraising.

Watch out for our next update!

Just for fun:

In the meantime, here are some images of just a few of the fascinating objects found at Basing House:

Charles I Sixpence

Charles I Sixpence

Tudor Rose Floor Tile

Tudor Rose Floor Tile

Stoneware Bottle

Stoneware Bottle

Carved Stone Head

Carved Stone Head

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