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Dear Friends

2014 is the Friends of Higham 21st Anniversary Year. The inaugural Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday 11th April 1993. We have chosen the nearest date to that date for our 2014 Annual General Meeting – Sunday the 6th April 2014.

There is much to celebrate this year as we look back over 21 years of the Friends activities in support of Higham. The Friends of Higham is a Registered Charity committed to the objectives of ‘supporting Higham Hall College with special projects and bursaries, and, of course, looking out for the college in any way we can’.

A Celebration Booklet is being produced by us that shows in photographs and words the history of the Friends and of the support, special projects, and bursaries that we, the Friends, have given to Higham in the years between 1993 and this year 2014. Researching and producing the booklet has absorbed and delighted us, the Friends committee team, for the story and journey of the Friends that it has revealed is fascinating. A copy of the Celebration Booklet will be given to every member of the Friends of Higham in April.

All members of the Friends are invited to the Annual General Meeting Reception, Lunch, and Meeting as our guests. Do come – we look forward to seeing you.

Best Wishes
Ann Pilkington
Chairman of the Friends of Higham

21st Annual General Meeting to be held on Sunday 6th April 2014


The Friends of Higham inaugural Annual General Meeting took place on Sunday the 11th April 1993. This year 2014 we celebrate 21 years of being ‘Friends’ of Higham and of supporting Higham in many ways from 1993 to 2014.

We have had a second thought on how to involve all members in celebrating our 21st year. Recognising that just a small percentage of members are able to attend the Annual General Meeting – mainly because of the distance they must travel – we have decided to produce a Celebration Booklet which shows, through photographs and words, the history of the Friends of Higham and the contributions made to Higham between 1993 and 2014. Every member of the Friends will receive this booklet. Research for it has included reading through some 20 years of AGM and Committee Agendas and Minutes, Annual Balance Sheets, Newsletters, Newspaper cuttings, and umpteen notes and letters. This has been an absorbing project for us, the Friends committee team. The research tells a fascinating story which we look forward to sharing with you all by way of the Celebration Booklet.

The Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday the 6th April 2014. There will be a reception at 1.00pm, lunch at 1.30pm, the meeting at 2.30pm to 4.00pm, followed by tea and refreshments, all of which you are invited to as our guests.


The first Board of Trustees was formed in 2007 when Higham was in the process of ‘buying itself’ from Cumbria County Council and becoming an independent Educational Trust. The first Trustees were appointed by the Principal at that time (Alex Alexandre) and representatives of Higham staff and of the Friends of Higham too. The Articles of Association stated that Trustees could serve for up to six years and must then stand down. Six years have now elapsed and four Trustees stood down in November 2013 – they were Gareth Kelly (Chairman), John Hudson (Deputy Chairman), David Abbott, and John Wallbank. The Board of Trustees now comprises of five members. Charles Searle has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Margaret Walker, a current trustee, becomes Deputy Chairman. The other Trustees are Heather Scott (Friends Chairman from 2008 to 2012), William Dufton, and Andrew Robinson. Nigel Barker continues as Company Secretary. More on Higham Board of Trustees can be found on Higham website www.highamhall.com


Promotion of Higham to a wider audience by Friends of Higham volunteers to interest groups took place in the autumn and focussed on Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, County Durham, Cleveland, Berwickshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire.


Heritage Open Day at Higham which is an event in the annual National Heritage Week took place on Friday 13th September 2013. Quite a number of people visited and members of the Friends of Higham were volunteer guides. When people visit Higham they frequently ask if Higham is a listed building – yes it is and for your interest here is the actual listing of Higham as a Grade 2 Listed Building.

Higham was first listed as a Grade 2 Listed Building on the 5th September 1986. The listing applies to ‘Higham Hall and the Curtain Wall to Rear’. The list entry summary description is as follows:
‘House now a Residential Adult Education Centre. House built in 1828 for T. A. Hoskins.
Calciferous sandstone ashlar with string courses, battlemented parapets and stepped angle buttresses. It has a graduated green-slate roof with ashlar chimney stacks. There are 2 storeys, 11 bays in Gothic style. Central 3 bays C19 double doors in pointed surround within contemporary battlemented stone porch, the central battlement having shield of Hoskins arms. Flanking 2A1/2 storey towers have octagonal angle turrets, with pyramidal roofs at front and battlemented parapets to rear, each with blind cross vents. Sash windows, those on ground floor with pointed head glazing bars under hood-moulds, under sash windows with interesting glazing bars in pointed heads. Rear extensions enclose courtyard with angle turrets and mock battlemented curtain wall. Various C19 2 light-stone-mullioned windows and C20 windows. Interior has Gothic panelled doors and ceilings with heraldic shields. Staircase has Gothic balusters and carved tread ends; niches for statues.’
The Grad 2 listing of 1986 also includes the ‘Garden Terrace in front of Higham Hall’ and lists it as follows:
‘Garden Terrace, Mid C19, Calciferous sand-stone ashlar. Low wall with a series of square panelled piers, under ball finials; open balustrades under moulded copings. Serpentine shaped stone seats at each end with blind balusters.’


‘The Story of Higham’ book written by Alan Hankinson (first Chairman of the Friends of Higham) and first published in 1990 is to be updated. The original farmhouse was built in the mid 17th century, had rebuilds to it over time and became an adult residential college in the mid 20th century. It reflects the changes in social history over nearly four centuries.
This project to be completed this year as part of celebrating 21 years of the Friends of Higham is now well underway. A Friends of Higham volunteer team is researching, adding new text and photographs, and organising the re-printing of the book ‘The Story of Higham’. It will be on sale at Higham by the end of 2014.
As part of our research we are asking you to help us by letting us have anything of interest that could be included in the book. Please contact Sally Alexandre at [email protected] or write to Sally at Higham Hall, or phone 01900 822020. Thank you.


People who come to Higham often ask about the paintings, textile wall hangings, and studio ceramics, that they see there. During the last 20 years and back beyond that, items have been donated, purchased, and tutors commissioned to create arts and crafts items for Higham to provide interesting art and craft works around the college. A catalogue of the arts and crafts items at Higham is now being produced by a team of Friends of Higham volunteers for the use of course participants and other visitors. The catalogue will be available by the end of this year.


Garden Benches at Higham
Friends of Higham have now donated five garden benches to Higham. Thank you very much to members of the Friends who have generously contributed. Two of the garden benches are now in situ in the gardens and a further three will be in place by the beginning of April this year.
Bee Hives
Higham Gardens now has two hives of honey bees, tended by a member of Cumbria Beekeepers. The hives are in the wooded area of the gardens on the slope to the left of the driveway to Higham. The honey bees have a clear flight path over the northern part of the field at the front of Higham Hall. We expect the bees to tuck up for the cooler weather and not be much in evidence until the spring when they will have a ready supply of flowering plants to give their attention to.
Volunteer Gardeners needed at Higham
Gardening volunteers are welcomed and much needed by Higham – please contact Higham on 017687 76276.


With the support of our ‘Friends’, humans can spend time amongst like-minded people in a rather special place. You have made all the difference over 21 years: enabling us to be faithful to our raison d’etre. You have provided many benefits for all who come for true lifelong learning and the joy, stimulation and difference that it brings. Your membership and current projects of benches, catalogues, books and volunteering are embodiments of a positive, pro-active support that spurs us on!
On behalf of our 27 Staff, our many Tutors and students, and this wonderful historic building and grounds, I thank you for your continuing commitment and congratulate you for your celebratory year of 2014.

George Cooke, Principal

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