Tour of Killyleagh Focuses on the Early Life of Sir Hans Sloane
Participants currently taking part in Down County Museum’s ‘Preserving or Plundering? Sir Hans Sloane to Modern Museum’ course, took part in a fascinating talk and walking tour of Killyleagh on Saturday 8 February.
The event, led by local historian and author, Mr Clive Scoular, began with an engaging talk in the recently opened Sir Hans Sloane Centre on Killyleagh’s High Street. Clive highlighted the influence collecting objects on the shores of Strangford Lough had on Hans’ development during his early years. He also recounted the effect the death of Hans’ father had when he was six, and the unexplained departure of his mother after her remarriage, which left Hans and his two brothers living alone in Killyleagh.
The PEACE IV funded cross-community course, ‘Preserving or Plundering? Sir Hans Sloane to Modern Museum’, focuses on the impact Sir Hans Sloane’s legacy has on the development of museums and collections. A key component of this course is to increase understanding of cultural diversity and how this has been reflected in museums. It also examines attitudes to collecting and interpreting cultural artefacts from around the world.
The course is part of a Newry, Mourne And Down District Council’s Shared History and Culture programme. A project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The cross-community initiative has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The EU’s PEACE IV Programme also contributes to the promotion of social and economic stability, particularly through actions to promote cohesion between communities.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “This European Union funded PEACE project has brought people together from all over the district to celebrate their local shared history. Hans Sloane was a major figure of the 18th Century and we can learn much from his life and the impact he made on the wider world”.
During the tour the group viewed the site of the Sloane’s original house and the capstone memorial, as well as the memorial in front of the castle and the statue in Sloane Square. Hans was known as an intelligent boy with a thirst for learning, who often visited the extensive library in Killyleagh Castle and the rectory of St John the Evangelist church. These places were important venues for the participants in the tour who were fascinated to see the church where Hans was baptised and the gravestone of some of his brothers. Gawn Rowan-Hamilton also gave a fascinating and entertaining tour of Killyleagh Castle and the group gained great insights into life for the Hans family through the years.
Shirley Lennon, Course Facilitator from Kenera Consulting, explained, “Clive Scoular has a gift for storytelling, and it was fascinating to see him bring to life the character of the young Hans Sloane. He shared his extensive knowledge of and love for other people from Killyleagh who have made important contributions to the world far beyond the area. I was pleased to see participants form the course getting to know each other and to learn more about their shared past.”
Match funding for this project has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.