English Heritage staff at Osborne House asked schools across the Isle of Wight to help them decorate the historic property and grounds in time for Christmas this year.

The staff at Osborne worked with 9 local education groups, who were each given one of Queen Victoria’s 9 grandchildren and the country that they subsequently married into as the inspiration for their colourful Christmas decorations to bring festive cheer to the palatial holiday home.

The decorations, which are now on display for visitors, range from Russian dolls to a wooden tree in the red and white of Denmark, and a box of purple Scottish thistles complete with cross-stitch flags.

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All schools were provided with background information about Victoria’s children and their family connections to help them with their research and design plans. They also had a copy of Queen Victoria’s family tree for reference. They were given freedom to interpret their brief in any way they wished. They were also given a specified area for their decoration with some exhibits being inside the House and some around the estate.

Laura Bosworth, Education Officer English Heritage, based at Osborne House said:

“The results have been amazing and have involved a wide cross-section of schools from across the island. Our hope was that we would provide a challenge which gave schools and education groups the chance to stimulate work across the curriculum and they certainly all did an amazing job.

“The exhibits include sewn items, pottery, paper craft and even a set of child sized Russian dolls produced by Nine Acres Primary School who took the challenge on as a whole school project.  It has been an absolute pleasure to work in partnership with the staff and young people on this project and we thank them all for their enthusiasm, hard work and fabulous creativity.”

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