Princess Anne officially opens new learning centre at Chatsworth

Popular Derbyshire attraction Chatsworth House welcomed a special visitor on Friday when Princess Anne opened the estate’s new learning centre.

Her Royal Highness was greeted warmly by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and civic leaders from across the county before officially opening the facility.

The Princess Royal talking to the Duke of Devonshire

The Princess Royal talking to the Duke of Devonshire

Youngsters from nearby Pilsley Primary School were also in attendance for the royal occasion.

The new learning centre has been created by converting a potting shed in the heart of the historic garden.

Now the Old Potting Shed is a fully accessible bespoke indoor learning space capable of hosting up to 70 students at a time.

Run by the Devonshire Educational Trust (DET), it has been in use since May and has hosted a range of learning activities for primary, secondary, higher education and community groups.

The Princess Royal is welcomed by the Duchess of Devonshire and Lord and Lady Burlington

The Princess Royal is welcomed by the Duchess of Devonshire and Lord and Lady Burlington

The facility has been funded with money from the Derbyshire Charity Clay Shoot, the Duke of Devonshire’s Charitable Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Lord Burlington, chairman of DET, said: “The growing range of projects made possible by the new Learning Centre will help us reach a more diverse range of people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, enabling the Devonshire Education Trust to ensure Chatsworth is a more accessible, relevant and inspiring educational resource for a broader audience.

“As well as expanding what we offer, the new Learning Centre will help us to provide an even deeper level of connection with the vast array of resources available at Chatsworth, not only for children, but for people of all ages, by offering them learning opportunities of the highest quality.”

As well as 20,000 formal educational visitors a year, Chatsworth’s education team works with a range of disadvantaged groups including children in care, young carers, refugees and local BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) community groups.

The new centre will allow them to develop and improve their educational programme and increase the numbers of people taking part.

Having an indoor space in the 105-acre garden has allowed DET to develop a tailored programme for GCSE, A-Level and undergraduates; host bespoke talks and deliver practical sessions working with artists.

- For more information visit www.chatsworth.org/plan-your-visit/education/plan-your-education-visit or email education@chatsworth.org.