Broads' study centre 'fully booked' under modern makeover

Bedroom makeover at How Hill Ludham

A bedroom makeover is underway at How Hill study centre in Ludham where generations have stayed in dormatories now being consigned to the past by modern en-suites. The facility saw its income cut off by coronavirus but is fully booked again as concerns ease. - Credit: How Hill

A study centre on the Norfolk Broads is bouncing back as coronavirus fears ease and schools return to revamped rooms.

Bedrooms at How Hill, Ludham, which have been a temporary home to thousands of children since the 1960s, are being given modern en-suite facilities signalling the end of an era.

It is the first major change in the “dorms” for decades as the centre looks to "futureproof" facilities – and attract more adult overnight visitors to boost its finances.

How Hill director Simon Partridge in one of the bedrooms at How Hill Ludham being revamped.

How Hill director Simon Partridge in one of the bedrooms being revamped. - Credit: How Hill

The £180,000 project has been carried out during the final months of Covid restrictions which halted residential school visits since March 2020.

Centre director Simon Partridge said: “It has been a tough time during Covid, but the future is bright.

“Lockdown gave us problems, as it did many other organisations, but it also provided the ideal time to do these improvements.

"They will enable How Hill to meet the changed expectations of people staying overnight – and they will put us in as strong a place as we have ever been.”

How Hill at Ludham given modern en-suite bathrooms

Painting underway as the How Hill Broads study centre is given a makeover. - Credit: How Hill

Schools are returning from March 14 and the centre is fully booked for the rest of the academic year.

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But How Hill is also re-energising its residential adult courses – ranging from tours and talks on birds, plants, gardens, Broads heritage and even the chance to sail a wherry.

The project is backed by grants and partly funded by money left to the trust in 2017 by Mulbarton schoolteacher Diane Robinson, who used to regularly bring children to How Hill.

How Hill study centre in the Norfolk Broads getting modern makeover

Trustee Mike Flett with some of the original wallpaper discovered during the work. - Credit: How Hill

Her gift to the Trust charity which runs the centre had been put aside for a re-thatch in 20 years’ time. But trustees agreed to spend it on the bedrooms instead to grab a one-off opportunity to get the work done, Mr Partridge added.

Workmen, from contractors Soter SMS from Hemsby, have uncovered one or two surprises along the way dating back to when the house was the home of well-known architect Edward Boardman, who built it in 1905. They include some original William Morris style wallpaper, and some 1910s underfloor insulation made from American eel-grass which was way ahead of its time.

How Hill at Ludham is getting new bath rooms as expectations change

Contractor Darren Kemp installing an en-suite frame. - Credit: How Hill

Find out more about the work, courses, history and walks at How Hill at howhilltrust.org.uk.