What a treat we had in store with this month’s Digs and Dibs speaker Simon Partridge. As head of the How Hill trust he was the perfect person to show us with his excellent slides, knowledge and amusing talk the little known joys and wonder of the gardens at How Hill.
The house itself was built by Edward Boardman, originally as a summer house for himself, his wife and then his family but at the outbreak of WW1 he added to it and made it his permanent family home. The development of the house and gardens in its amazing position continued up until his death and when the family finally sold it the purchaser was Norfolk Education Committee. What foresight Sir Lincoln Ralphs, the chief education officer, had. Staff training and school visits took place there and when the How Hill trust took it over the work with school visits was certainly accelerated. The house provides a superb place for the children to stay and the grounds, Toad Hole Cottage and the new centre provide a wonderful base to study wildlife and the Norfolk broads.
The gardens surrounding the house are not always on public view because schools are in residence but the rest of the garden is open every day and is well worth a visit. At one time they were only open for a few weekends a year to see the azaleas and rhododendrons, which are spectacular, but now work has been done to make the gardens a place of all round interest. There is also a coffee shop!! Simon showed us slides of the restoration of one of the gardens near the house which promises to be really beautiful.
This talk was special for me as I took the children from Angel Road School and every year of my time as headteacher at Tacolneston School to How Hill. It is a place of real beauty and wonder and to my great delight Isobel, one of my pupils, came to Digs and Dibs to hear the talk. I would urge you all to visit this magical place on the Broads which was so eloquently spoken about by Simon.