Avery Hill is the former home of Victorian entrepreneur, Colonel North, who built a vast mansion and glasshouse to show off his wealth. Subsequently one of the first all-female teacher training colleges in the UK, the mansion is now occupied by the University of Greenwich and surrounded by a public park. The University wish to restore the glasshouse and it’s planting to its former Victorian glory, and open the mansion and glasshouse to the public, supported by a range of formal and informal learning programmes.
Julia Holberry Associates, with Alis Templeton, Alison Porter and Helen Butterworth, were engaged by the University to test the ideas with the local community and with the formal learning sector, undertaking focus groups with hard to reach groups, an online survey, individual interviews with community leaders, school teachers, representatives from Further and Higher Education organisations and potential partners. The ideas for interpretation and activities were tested through a series of activity days, organized by the University, which involved all the project consultants. We worked as part of a large design team of architects, exhibition designers and business planners.