Bringing children to Sandham
Sandham is an amazing place for children. There is so much to see in the stunning paintings covering the walls in the chapel, and plenty to do with First World War handling items including things to dress up in and a bespoke children's guide* and trail* for younger children to engage them both during and after their visit.
Sandham is an extraordinarily special place and an intriguing one for children. The chapel paintings show them the everyday life of this tiny man - only 5' 2". Stanley Spencer was a medical orderly at the Beaufort hospital, Bristol and then in Salonika. There is so much detail in the paintings - strange looking animals - unfamiliar pieces of First World War kit and uniform, and representations of day to day activites washing, cleaning, drying that will be familar to all children. They can see the extreme heat experienced in Salonika and the perils of the mosquitos causing widespread malaria.
There is an extensive selection of handling items which can be picked up, touched and worn; children can find these in the paintings too.
We now have a beautifully produced and illustrated guide* with hand drawn and coloured sketches. It welcomes children to the chapel through Stanley's voice and words. Stanley tells us about his early life and asks children to think about thier own similar experiences. He shows us what he has painted and invites children to produce their own drawing. Stanley takes children through his time at the Beaufort hospital and all the jobs he had to do there.A Spelling Bee challenges children to unscramble the letters and find out those tasks. Stanley takes the children to Salonika and recalls his experiences including burning all the bacon! There is a spot the difference and word search puzzle to do too. The guide will not only engage children around the chapel and its paintings but provides thought provoking material for discussion and research to continue at home or school.
There is also a trail* to help younger children explore the site. They can handle the massive chapel key, play "I Spy" looking carefully to spot tortoises, a dog and many other details.They can draw in the windows and doors of the chapel building and complete the "Spot the Difference". The trail offers a range of ways for children to explore the site using all of their senses.
All of our staff and volunteers are incredibly knowledgeable and keen to engage with eager minds and curious questions - so just ask.
The chapel is surrounded by gardens so there is plenty of space to run around and let off steam or perhaps enjoy a picnic.
*there is a 50p charge for the trail and £2 for the guide