Northamptonshire County Council
Due for completion April 2018
Overall exhibition budget £600k
In March 2016 Simon Leach Design won a competitive tender to develop design proposals for Chester Farm. The ’10,000-year story’ of the site is a fascinating but complex one for the first-time visitor to understand. There is little to physically see, except for the 17th and 18th century farm, with previous eras buried on top of each other.
The interpretation design will ‘unlock’ the Chester Farm site, lifting each layer of history individually out of the ground and then filling in the gaps, painting a picture that enables the visitor to imagine the buildings, people and their lifestyle within the context of the landscape. Accompanying this is a children’s trail, a sort of treasure hunt for children, challenging them find ‘hidden’ clues.
The story is ultimately that of the Nene River Valley and its relationship to the different generations of people who have lived within it.
The interpretation strategy responds to the landscapes, the buildings and activities that have unfolded on this site. Interventions are not ‘traditional’, rather they express the ongoing sense of discovery that will take place, as well as reveal the layers of past activity that has formed the landscape, instilling a sense of magic and wonder about the site.
The ongoing archaeological activities will be part of the reasons for visitors to return, and this will be supplemented with seasonal activities and trails that will link to the site’s history as a working farm.