Exploring and Celebrating Culture Project

Exploring and Celebrating Culture in Doncaster

During the first few months of 2023, The Sand House Charity collaborated with the National Literacy Trust to deliver a project for primary school children aimed at exploring and celebrating culture in Doncaster. The project was inspired by Doncaster’s newly acquired city status and was supported by Doncaster Culture & Leisure Trust.

The project details


A full day workshop was led by Phil Sheppard, of National Literacy Trust, in each one of three primary schools which lie within a mile of the Sand House site. At each school, the children attended an assembly at which the story of the Sand House was introduced to them. Then, for the rest of the day, one or two of the Key Stage 2 classes delved into greater detail and took part in creative writing and illustrating sessions based upon what they had learnt. Richard Bell, of The Sand House Charity, attended on each afternoon to answer questions about the Sand House and his involvement with it.

The children in one school wrote stories about their own imagined visit to the Sand House tunnels. A second school produced their versions of newspaper articles from the period when the house had just been created, back in the mid-nineteenth century. The third group of pupils wrote poems inspired by the unique story of Doncaster’s lost Victorian marvel. Some of the children produced drawings, too.

There was so much wonderful, imaginative material created during these workshops that there was no difficulty finding enough to fill a 52-page, A5 size anthology booklet, which we had commercially printed. On the 15th March 2023, a group of invited pupils who had contributed to the anthology’s contents, along with their parents and teachers, were invited to an event to celebrate the publication and the end of the project.

During the evening, local singer/songwriter Mick Jenkinson performed two songs about the Sand House, which he and Ian Parks had written. Actor, presenter and trainer, Thomas Frere, reprised the role of Sand House creator Henry Senior, leading a lively Q&A session with the children. The highlight was when each of the children present recited their piece from the anthology. A great time was had by all. Thanks to Balby Community Library for hosting our event.

Finally, we should like to thank Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, without whom this project would not have been possible.