Storytelling across 900 years

Delapré Abbey

At Delapre, our masterplan helps visitors identify routes and major narratives across a vast site with a long history.

Delapre Abbey was founded in 1145, with the abbey, house and surrounding lands playing host to 900 years of English history. These include key moments such as the Abolition of the Monasteries and the capture of King Henry VI in 1460. Despite its long and fascinating past, the site had never been open to the public. HKD were responsible for the masterplan that facilitated the site’s transition to a public attraction.

Core features that shaped this work were the sites size and the absence of a physical collection. We therefore placed emphasis on helping visitors to engage with the site’s intangible heritage. To do so, our masterplan identified milestones in Delapre’s timeline and located them across the site encouraging visitors to explore and discover different parts of the story.

As the house and abbey are displayed mainly unrestored and the site is run as a commercial enterprise, hosting weddings and conferences, most of the interpretation can be removed to allow for adaptable use of the site.

Featured exhibit:

Kingmakers: Lines of Succession

Kingmakers is one of a suite of tactile interactives loosely based on side show entertainments.

The game is located in The Battlefield Gallery – a section that focuses on one part of the Abbey’s story – the Battle of Northampton. Kingmakers: Lines of Succession is a pinball tabletop exhibit showing the complicated and interconnected lines of succession. Cecily Neville and Elizabeth Woodville married kings and were the mothers of kings. Our current King is a direct descendent from Elizabeth Woodville. This playful exhibit allows the visitor to see those connections, and understand links between the site, its history and the present.

The game was a unique, dynamic exhibit, designed for a single player, but designed to be watched by a group. Many of our exhibits explore the idea of learning by watching

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