Revealing forgotten history at Attingham Park

A flier advertising a music course at the Attingham Education College

Visitors to Attingham are often familiar with its history as a family home up until the 1940s, but a lesser known period in its history saw it housing a pioneering Adult Education College from 1948 – 1976.

From family home to radical institution

The college offered a radical range of courses alongside more traditional options, including classes which required students to get up at 3am to listen to birdsong and sit on the roof identifying star constellations late into the night.

The Shropshire Adult Education College was an innovation, offering the opportunity to study in the beautiful surroundings of Attingham Hall and its grounds to people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

It started off small, with only 30 students able to stay at the college but, at its height, it attracted thousands of students, local and national, as well as day visitors and guests from overseas. It is an important chapter in Attingham’s history as a property which played a special role in the lives of local people.

Telling untold stories

Until now, relatively little was known about the college, but in 2014 a new research project, in partnership with the University of Nottingham’s School of Education, began with the aim of revealing the hidden stories from this period in Attingham’s history.

Sharon Clancy, Doctoral Researcher, has already begun work on the archives relating to the college at the hall, and is now starting the next phase of the research; gathering the stories and experiences of the people who knew the college to share their stories and uncover what life was like.

Share your memories

To help bring this period of history at Attingham alive and tell the stories of the people who worked and studied here, we need your help. If you have memories of the Adult Education College that you would like to share, please contact Sharon.

You can also follow the progress of our work to uncover Attingham’s hidden history in our blog, where we'll be posting all our latest discoveries.