Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 15.11.32Children have been given history lessons with a difference – learning about one of the North East’s top parks through the medium of song.

Lake Poets singer Martin Longstaff joined historian and musician Keith Gregson to visit schools in County Durham ahead of the reopening of Wharton Park following its £3m Heritage Lottery Fund-backed restoration.

Louise Vest, the council’s programme officer for Wharton Park, said: “We are really excited to see the new look Wharton Park following the restoration.

“It’s steeped in history and it’s so important to go into schools to give young people the chance to learn the park’s heritage and story.

“Learning songs and hearing tales is a fabulous way to connect and interact with the pupils and makes for memorable, fun sessions which hopefully will encourage them to pass on what they have learned to their families, and future generations.”

Over a number of weeks, as part of the Wharton Park Outreach Programme, the pair visited schools including St Godric’s, St Margarets, Bluecoat, Belmont Cheveley and Framwellgate, culminating in a trip to Shincliffe Primary School.

There, using a new children’s guide that has been produced ahead of its reopening in May, they taught children in years five and six some of the history of the park and its mining heritage.

Wharton Park was created in July 1858 when William Lloyd Wharton gave use of Windy Hill to the city. It was one of the earliest public parks in the North East, although at the time Wharton retained ownership of the land.

The park was immediately popular and the Durham Miners’ Association used it to hold its first Gala in August 1871.


Wharton Park was eventually given to the city in 1915.

For more information about the history of Wharton Park and the restoration work visit