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Tatton Park’s Farm wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Tatton Park has received initial support* from the Heritage LotteryTatton-dale-farm-granary-and-buldings
Fund (HLF) to develop its farm attraction. The project aims to bring alive the agricultural, architectural, technological, social and cultural heritage of Tatton Dale Farm through the ‘field to fork’ story, told through the mouths of former workers, its buildings, machinery, livestock and traditional agricultural skills.

A new visitor hub at the Farm’s Agricultural Mill building will bring the story together and inspire visitors with a narrative of food production for a large country estate from the late 18th century to the 1950s; its contemporary relevance to food and healthy eating, ingenuity in agriculture and Cheshire’s wider farming heritage.

Development funding of £76,600 has been awarded to help Tatton Park progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The ‘field to fork’ story includes the whole process of producing food, from growing the crops to providing animal fodder, to taking them to the Farm Mill where the processing of the corn and other fodder took place. This in turn would go on to be fed to livestock, which would then provide food for the table at the mansion and manure for further crops and the kitchen garden. The role of animal care and husbandry is also part of the story; feeding, milking, farrowing and butchering in the Farm slaughter house to provide food for the Egerton family, servants and estate workers.

The story will introduce new volunteering opportunities at the Farm where people can gain heritage knowledge, learn new skills, both practical and interpersonal, from restoring agricultural equipment, investigating local archives, giving guided tours to working as a team and developing leadership skills.

National Curriculum changes this year mean all secondary school children will be learning about food and cookery in their syllabus, with the aim of improving their diets.  The ‘Field to Fork’ story will build on this momentum by working with local primary and secondary school teachers, Cheshire East Council, local community groups, Reaseheath College, the University of Chester and the Food for Life partnership who are recommending visiting a farm for every child, recognising it as a life-changing experience.

Farming and food production started at Tatton Dale Farm in 1758, when Samuel Egerton’s steward reported “we have about 4 cows calved at the Dale and they are very well”. A new set of Farm buildings were commissioned around 1780 from Samuel Wyatt, the well-known architect and engineer. These were then enlarged and re-modelled to meet the demands of the new ’scientific’ agriculture from the 1840s and it is in this form that they exist today.

Recent research has uncovered some of the characters working at the Farm such as Richard Toft who ran the Mill from 1873. He lived and worked there with his wife and son Joseph for at least 30 years and was paid 3 shillings and 4 pennies per day for a six day week ‘grinding’!

Carole Mullineux, Tatton Park Business Development Manager said, “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. The ‘field to fork’ project is an exciting new initiative for us which will give us the opportunity to attract new visitors, protect Tatton’s heritage assets and ultimately realise the Farm’s potential.”

Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said:
“Tatton Dale Farm stands as a rare surviving example of agricultural technology and is of national historic importance. HLF’s initial support will help Cheshire East Council to develop their plans to open up the farm’s most historic areas - some to the public for the first time -  and, under the ‘field to fork’ theme, introduce school children and local people to  hundreds of years’ worth of agricultural and technological heritage.”

For further information about this release contact:
Vicky Wilby, Marketing Department                                                        
Tel: 01625 374417 / Email: vicky.wilby@cheshireeast.gov.uk

*A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.

On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme. 

Tatton Park is managed and financed by Cheshire East Council on behalf of the National Trust.

This impressive historic estate receives in the region of 800,000 visitors every year all of whom come to enjoy its Georgian mansion, Tudor Old Hall, award- winning gardens and 1930s rare breeds farm.  The 1,000-acre deer park is home to red and fallow deer and the estate also boasts speciality shops, adventure playground, restaurant, a new Gardener’s Cottage tea room and year-round events programme.

The Tatton Park Vision

The `Tatton Park Vision’ is the park’s 5 year vision for its visitor activities and aims to substantially develop its visitor experience by increasing the attractions and activities on offer. In delivering the vision the aim is to fully realise Tatton Park’s potential and present the best possible experience for its current and new visitors in order to provide new and sustainable income to help manage and conserve the historic estate into the future. By 2016/17 it is expected that over 1 million visitors a year will enjoy this experience. This will be done through a programme of investment by Cheshire East Council and the attraction of new business. More information about the vision.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK.  http://www.hlf.org.uk/.

Facts and Links

A recent study by the British Nutrition Foundation questioned 27,500 children and found that nearly a third (29%) of primary school children think that cheese comes from plants; nearly one in five (18%) said that fish fingers come from chicken and one in ten secondary school children believe that tomatoes grow underground.