The Watkin Times

The Friends Of Rose Hill are working with local primary schools, St Wilfrid’s & Northenden Community School, to create a magazine about the achievements of the Watkins and the flora/fauna of the woods. It is a part of our Heritage Lottery funded “The amazing Watkins of Rose Hill House and their Woods” project, with the aim of encouraging children to discover their local history and of Edward and Absalom Watkin.

A combination of historical research, drama and the arts will provide the children with the information to make an interesting and informative magazine.

Update from October 2018:

The children at St. Wilfrid’s PS helped us to form an editorial team to decide on the style and contents of the magazine. Over four weeks 10 pupils met with our editor and designer, Jamie, to create the layouts for each page and the content within.

In the previous school term over 100 children had created drawings of the significant elements of the Watkin & Rose Hill story to use two-fold: Towards the Watkin Banner and to decorate the Watkin Times magazine.

An amazing range of drawings, fact sheets, poems and stories were created by the pupils. The magazine will be based around these, complemented by the hand written Park opening stories created with Manchester Archives and the work of pupils from St Wilfrid’s PS and the Northenden Community School towards the assembly’s and other projects.

Update from April 2018:

The schools project is making excellent progress. In January 2018 Geoff Scargill and Carolyn Macdonald, two members of the FoRH committee, met the staff and 120 children of St Wilfrid’s PS and the Northenden Community School to introduce them to the Watkin Story. The teachers reported that the children were ‘bubbling over’ about plans for them to research the lives and times of Absalom and Edward Watkin. The dreadful working and living conditions of the poorest families in central Manchester, which the two Watkins fought to improve, came as a great shock to the children in both schools but they also learned something about the beautiful rural village of Northenden in the mid-1800’s, when the Watkins first came to live in Rose Hill. We received this wonderful description of that workshop:

“The Watkin project got off to a fantastic start with a visit from Geoffrey, who shared a brief outline of Sir Edward’s achievements and how he linked to the history of Manchester, along with his connection to Northenden.

During Geoff’s visit the children used the information from the assembly to put pictures linked to Edward in chronological order and now we are looking at each aspect in more detail.

We began by looking at the parks, thinking about what we do at the park now, and what the Victorians did at the park. As part of our growth reflection the children thought about what they would like to say to Edward. The children had a very good understanding about how the life of the parks in Manchester may be very different today, and that we may not have the large choice of parks if it had not been for Edward’s consideration of other people and his fund raising.

For the rest of this half term we will continue to focus on the History of the Watkins, which includes a trip to Manchester and learning about the Peterloo Massacre (to show children that Edward’s father also had a huge impact on Manchester, because after the Peterloo Massacre, Manchester became the birthplace of children’s medicine). While in Manchester we will also be visiting the Manchester Art Gallery where we will look at paintings from the same era as ‘The Iceberg’. Looking at Edward’s dream to build a railway from London to France and beyond and how his dream was crushed 100 years before the Channel Tunnel opened. Also, we will research his vision of Wembley Tower. After this the children will choose one aspect and create their own newspaper article (which will be used when producing the booklet/newspaper in the Summer Term.

During our history focus we have not looked at Rose Hill but we intend to focus on that in the summer when hopefully the weather has improved. When talking about this with the children they are very keen to help produce a guided tour of the woods with interactive links to the history of Edward Watkin, along with creating a mini beast hunt (which will link the Science curriculum that is being taught). It is wonderful to see the children so excited.

We are awaiting dates for the drama specialist and artist, which we will then work with to continue to enhance the creative curriculum we are developing around Watkin.”