Isis Education Centre goes 'Open House' for a weekend

27 September 2012


Last weekend, together with hundreds of other buildings, we celebrated London's architecture by opening the doors to the Isis Education Centre in Hyde Park. Brigid, who volunteers at the Centre, blogs about her experience:

To abuse a football analogy, the London Open House weekend was a weekend of two halves. Saturday delivered glorious weather and temperatures perfect for Open House viewing; Sunday delivered cold, rain and wind all day which would have put off most people.

I was a volunteer for the Isis Education Centre on Sunday. The Centre is only a year old, and it was the first time we had been part of the Open House weekend. We opened at 10am and it rained from 10.01 onwards! This did not, however, seem to deter regular Open House followers who seem to be a determined bunch and who I gathered have over the years seen many of the buildings and had all sorts of experiences as part of these weekends.

They fell in to two distinct groups, those with a deep interest in the architecture, layout and use of the building, wanting to absorb the detail of its history and its construction, read the literature and watch the film about the buildings construction; and those who, whilst interested in the Centre's history, were taking the opportunity that the weekend provided to get around many of the buildings and maximise the rare opportunity the weekend provides to explore otherwise secret buildings. They seemed very happy to tour the site on their own, taking in their general surroundings. 

And a third group of people also showed themselves. Those who live locally and know Hyde Park well, and who walk by our building on a regular basis and have been curious about what it is. It is always nice to meet this category of person who feels quite proprietorial about the Park and consider it 'theirs'. I certainly feel like that too, and I love the reaction of people to the building and to what we do, which makes them realise Hyde Park delivers more than just beautiful scenery and lovely open spaces. Most have little idea about the educational side of the Royal Parks Foundation. I hope this will mean we have new followers for our Ramble in the Parks programme!

The Centre was designed with children and their education in mind. For the weekend we were ready to do pond dipping, and show kids the bumblebee trail and let them do a quiz, but unfortunately the weather was against us on Sunday. Ah well....maybe next year.

  • If you missed your chance to visit the Isis Education Centre during Open House London, don't worry you can find out about other Discovery Days in our events calendar.

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