Primary pupils seize Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle will be taken over by school pupils for a day as part of the 2016 Takeover Challenge.

Lauriston castle in summer
Lauriston Castle

Tomorrow (Friday 18 November), the Cramond visitor attraction will the domain of P6 pupils from St David’s Primary. With support from Edinburgh Living History volunteers and staff at Lauriston Castle, the pint-sized staff will take over the running of the Castle as tour guides.

The Takeover Challenge is a celebration of children and young people’s contributions to museums, galleries, arts organisations and heritage sites. The initiative is run by the Children's Commissioner for England and takes place in November every year with 44,000 people. Lauriston Castle is understood to be the first and only Scottish venue to participate and the new young ‘staff members’ will be invited to take part in future public events.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The pupils have been studying life at Lauriston for weeks and now ready to take over the attraction and entertain visitors. The Council’s museum staff have been working closely with the school, volunteers and the community and the project gives the children a really rounded view of life at Lauriston Castle.

“It has been a history lesson, a confidence booster and an opportunity to build skills for the future all in one. Overlooking the Firth of Forth and Cramond Island, Lauriston Castle is gem of a museum for people of all ages to visit and this has been a great opportunity for our local school pupils. What P6 wouldn’t love to run their own Castle for a day?”

Head teacher at St David’s, Lorraine Cusack, added: “Takeover Day has provided our P6 pupils with a fantastic learning experience. They have been taught how to engage an audience and have had great fun exploring the wealth of artefacts collected by the Reid family at Lauriston. This is a great opportunity for the school to develop local knowledge and build skills for the children to use in the wider world.

"We hope it will also raise an awareness in the local community of the wonderful resource schools have in Lauriston Castle with its experienced staff and volunteers.”

The children will host three tours around the rooms and grounds at 9:45am, 10:15am and 10:45am free of charge. A group of pupils from Davidson’s Mains Primary School will also attend to showcase a Lauriston Castle guidebook produced by children, for children.

Lauriston Castle provides a glimpse of Edinburgh life in 192, when it was left to the nation by the last private owner, Mrs Reid. The Castle and the beautiful grounds which were laid out by William Henry Playfair in the 1840s are in the care of the City of Edinburgh Council which provides regular tours and events.

The Takeover Challenge promotes Article 12 of the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child), which says all children should have a say in matters that affect them.

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