We would like to create a Battle of Barnet Visitors Centre near Barnet, which would be run the charitable incorporated organisation Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society which has been running since November 2017.
The Barnet Battlefield Visitors Centre will predominantly be a community led project to involve locals and wider population to educate everyone no matter their age is on the battle of Barnet and associated history of the land. The battle took place of 14th April 1471 as part of the Wars of the Roses period which secured the Yorkist rule till 1483 and is London’s only registered battlefield, but it still needs to be truly found. The ultimate aim to get everyone involved in research, to help grow and maintain our community gardens in a sustainable eco manner, to have volunteers and staff in our visitors centre whether it be in research, the exhibitions or working with school children and to also help to develop and implement the annual temporary exhibit space and to assist with our regular festival/events space.
We have big sustainable plans plus the site we believe forms part of the battlefield, where the future Richard III fought his first ever battle and Richard Neville Earl of Warwick the Kingmaker dies. We already have a team around us which includes landscapers, museum design consultants, heritage consultants and the trustees of the society. We also have partnership support/backing from local and national organisations including local councils. We are also planning to launch archaeological digs next year with your support to find the actual battlefield as its still not found, we have access to land not previously explored which we also involve workshops on archaeology delivered by Peter Masters and will set up volunteer led battlefield walks taught by Mike Ingram.
We would like to the centre to be run by local people based in hertsmere and barnet areas, aswell as providing apprenticeships in landscaping, office and museum skills. We have plans to run a variety of community projects which include researching on the battle of barnet 1471 and the history of the land which goes back to early medieval times, helping with the 4 themed gardens we plan to develop which include a medieval rose garden, childrens castle play area secret garden, medieval herb and food garden where the produce will be used for our cafe area/ sold locally. So there is a lot of unknown local rich heritage we would love to share with the local community and wider world in order to help to educate everyone and involved people in. There will also be the establishment of a schools project where school children can visit the centre to learn about the wars of the roses period and help teach them about the politics of the age, medieval warfare and get on hands with many different activities aimed at their relevant age groups aswell as enjoying the exhibits and gardens.
We would like to build 2 outbuildings in the theme of a medieval tithe barns . One outbuilding will be used as office space and research headquarters on all things war of the roses /local house history and is also where our Dig for Barnet 1471 project will be run from. Another will be a ticket area, shop, cafe selling medieval themed dishes with a modern twist and a exhibit area on the history of the land/ house which we would like to get local volunteers involved in developing and researching. There will also be opportunities help to design the exhibits in the main centre as we will have an annual exhibit. In addition to this there is a 9.5 acre field attached to the house which would like to turn into a car park and events space to hold weddings, medieval joust festivals, vintage car events, tudor festivals, ww2 events to name a few which ties into the history of the area and helps to increase business and tourism to the with it being close to the m25 and easily accessible for groups.
In terms of the Battle of Barnet exhibits we would like to develop and help to deliver it with the local community and experts:
- A 3D immersive experience of being in the battle of barnet where you may come across the Edward IV or Warwick the Kingmaker in the mist and fog of the battle
- A wars of the roses short history of the politics of the age and what lead to battles being fought with yorkist and lancastarian victories
- An interactive map of the battle of barnet which show the local medieval landsacpe back in 1471 which can transform into the modern landscape and you can fight with whatever King you'd like
- Battle of Barnet room detailing the history of the battle, its tactics and battlefield finds from our digs
- A weapons of the war of the roses room.
- Welcome to the Court of Edward IV
- The Warwick the Kingmaker Story
- Interactive archaeology room
Some questions to consider to help us raise the funds we need.
What difference do you think your donation will make?
The Battle of Barnet is londons only registered battlefield even though it has yet to be archaelogically discovered you can help to find it we need £300,000 to deliver a 5 year dig.
By opening a visitors centre it will really put Barnet back on the map, as the Battle of Barnet 14th April 1471 is a well-known historical event of national significance and international interest. It is the place where Richard Neville Warwick the Kingmaker gets killed and Richard Duke of Gloucester who later became King Richard III first battle; plus this battle is one of 2 the major yorkist victory battles in 1471 the following battle at Tewkesbury on 4th May 1471; which wiped out the lancastarian cause until the Battle of Bosworth in 1483. With the recent discovery of the remains of Richard III in Leicester in 2012 this has only served to add to this wider interest to this period of history from tourists, local communities, businesses and schools.
The Battlefield was designated a Registered Battlefield Area by English Heritage in 1995. Several contradicting theories regarding the location of the Battle existed for many years, and the desire to determine a more exact location for the Battle will hopefully be made possible in 2020-2025 we can donations we hope to receive and the generous assistance of the local landowners. The subsequent detailed battlefield research we need to undertak, together with survey work undertaken by Peter Master we hope will revealed manyimportant finds and locate the likely battle site to the north of the hadley highstone near kitts end land and Dancers Hill areas.
The Registered Battlefield and its surrounding landscape setting also contain a wide range of other cultural and natural heritage designations, demonstrating that the area is of considerable significance and not just important as the site of the Battle. Development and conservation of the Battlefield Area therefore needs to be carefully managed, balancing different values within a changing economic and planning context. It is in a highly population area in the midst of urban crawl towards the M25 and the local population for both Barnet and Hertsmere is 495,140 and that is without tapping into a wider population as we would be situated very close to the m25 approx 2 minute driv.
With establishing a Battle of Barnet Visitors Centre it will enable and cater for visitors wanting to visit the Battlefield and discover what happened at the Battle through an immersive exhibition space in a grade 2 listed house and surrounding ancient land that would have been involved in the battle. We would like to recreate a medieval herb and food garden where the produce from will be sold or used onsite aswell as the local Barnet Market this entire project will be managed by local volunteers. We would like to also recreate a medieval rose garden again managed by volunteers and preserve the many rare species on site in the surrounding gardens which in the past Kew gardens have been involved in preserving. We would like to hire local people to run the visitors centre alongside the trustees so they feel like they are investing in protecting, preserving and educating the general public on the battle of barnet and dancers hill.
We have plans to have extra events on throughout the year with a Golden Rose Joust the 1st of its kind within the m25, a elizabethan theme as it is reputed that Elizabeth 1st had a hunting lodge on the land, a ww2 event as dancers hill house was a prisoner of war camp and requistioned by the RAF and a vintage car event to represent the modern day history of the house. A local large scale event Barnet Medieval Festival hosted 8,000 last year for its 2nd year on a large scale and Tewkesbury Medieval Festival on the other scale has over 30,000 visitors each year. We will be working with a company called eventplan https://www.eventplan.co.uk/ to make this possible who have years of experience and I can provide quotes on this if needed. We hope to one day be an established festival site gaining regular visitor numbers to the above.
Our schools project will help to teach outside the current curriculum about the history of the wars of the roses period and the battle of barnet and we want to work with schools to establish this and create fun and educational material for this, which can be happen in schools or with a visit to the centre. Our target audience in the local is as follows:
- in Barnet there are 86 primary schools, 22 secondary schools and four special schools,
- in Hertsmere 23 primary schools and 7 secondary schools across the borough .The independent sector also is very well represented locally with 16 independent schools.
- How are people and communities involved with your project?
This project will be run by the local community for the general public from working in the exhibit areas, research, gardens and more commercial spaces such as the offices and customer facing roles. This team will be a mixture of volunteers and employees. I have detailed the many schemes above that illustrate how people and communities can get involved. We will recruit through advertising in the local area with newspapers, attending local events and creating lasting relationships with the local organisations some of which we already have in place from the societies other activities.
Once we are trading we would like to open charitable days, and work with local organisations such as local hospices to have exclusive access for the day free of charge.
- What is the background of your organisation?
Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society was set up in August 2017 to work in partnership with the Battle of Barnet Project which has now finished early this year. We aim to help to provide a legacy for the Battle of Barnet and other battlefields from the Wars of the Roses period (1455-1483) and to learn more about medieval history. We would like to engage with the communities of Barnet as well as the wider world to promote, protect, educate and engage everyone in medieval history, battlefields and associated warfare.
Our objectives are as follows
advance public education through the promotion, encouragement, development and dissemination of knowledge of the Battle of Barnet as well as the associated war and warfare of the wars of the roses periodundertake and support research into the Battle and its landscape, the associated war and warfare and the publication of the results of such research as well as encourage the protection and preservation of the battlefield siteTo open a visitors centre focusing on the Battle of Barnet to promote education and workshops which will be run by Trustees and staffto mount a programme of activities on topics relevant to the battlefield in the County of Hertfordshireto run a stall at the annual Barnet Medieval festival or any other event deemed by the trustees to be of interest and to support the Barnet Battlefield projectto build relationships with other organisations, groups, societies or projects within the Barnet area as approved by the Committeeto organise talks that will provide members and the general public with relevant information, knowledge or skills to pursue individual or group researchto arrange guided walks of the battlefieldto create and maintain an internet presence including a Barnet1471 Battlefield Society website, Facebook and Twitter pageTo extend any of the above and develop additional activities as opportunities ariseto advise and assist the appropriate authorities and co-operate with other bodies having similar interests
How much money do you need from you?
We will need £11 million to create the centre which includes capital costs and to get a list of detailed activities up and running. Even if you can give £10 that will all help.
- How does your idea fit in with other local activities?
There is no soley established battle of barnet visitors centre and this will be the only dedicated battlefield centre in London for the wars of the roses period and the only medieval garden in the borough. There is an established Barnet Museum which has a small exhibit on the battle and they are a museum for the whole of Barnet. We have the ongoing backing of the Battlefields Trust from Prof Anne Curry. There has been local support and encouragement in articles written in the Barnet Society and support from Alison Weir https://barnetsociety.org.uk/component/k2/putting-the-battle-of-barnet-on-the-map-for-historical-tours
Barnet is the nearest settlement with a 5 minute drive into the town centre and they are in the process of regenerating the high street and we will be working with them to help improve this and see if there is a way to incorporate a small exhibit in the centre of town.
Our regular events and the establishment of a community led visitors centre will add to the local tourism and increase the business economy and other such projects such as Bosworth Battlefield and Bannockburn Battlefield Centre have been very successful in doing this.