Horton Kirby education centre plans for the future by looking to its past

PUBLISHED: 09:26 14 July 2011

Andrew Berry

Andrew Berry


»The new manager at an environmental education centre wants to use the building’s history to entice not just schoolchildren but the public to explore the area’s past.

Horton Kirby Environmental Centre is built around the old village primary school, built in 1857, which shut in the Sixties to be converted to its current use.

Victorian classroom

While attracting school trips for activities such as river surveys in the Darent and learning about settlement development in the village, new centre manager Andrew Berry is keen to draw attention to the site’s past.

“The historical aspects here are fascinating. We still have an intact Victorian classroom and the original headmaster’s log book, full of interesting notes and anecdotes,” he said.

“The site also has a World War II bunker that we are hoping to open later this year.”

Mr Berry, a former primary school teacher and Kent County Council education adviser, is keen for residents of the area to get in touch with any memorabilia of the wartime era.

“Most likely the school was evacuated during the war and it would be great to speak with anyone with memories, pictures or anything else showing what it was like in Horton Kirby at the time,” he added.

The centre is now only open to schools and is preparing to close for the summer, but Mr Berry wants to open it to the public on specific days by next year.

To contact him, call (01322) 863302.

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