School children pick Hinckley’s historic heroes for new exhibition

Published Wednesday, 13 September 2023
Photo of Charlotte Brame work created by children

Local school children have picked their favourite historic heroes for a new exhibition in Hinckley’s Atkins Gallery.

The display has been created in partnership with Historic England’s Heritage Schools Programme, with two local primary schools asking pupils to connect with Hinckley’s rich heritage.

As part of the national scheme, which supports primary and secondary schools in using local heritage resources to enhance the curriculum, the children unearthed exciting stories from the borough’s past. 

The exhibition features the results of the project, with displays from Hinckley Parks Primary School and Battling Brook Primary School.

The Hinckley Parks Primary School project is about local history heroes, with pupils researching about those who have made a difference to the town. The Hinckley Heroes were chosen from those who have a Blue Plaque in the town, including Joesph Hansom, Charlotte Brame, Elizabeth Coxhead, Dr Chessher and the brewers Bass and Butler.

The exhibition will also feature filmed productions by Red River Theatre Group who have written and performed four plays based on the Hinckley Heroes in the exhibition: ‘Being Dora’ is a Hinckley workhouse romance inspired by the works of Charlotte Brame; ‘Heart of a Romantic’ is production based on the life of Charlotte Brame; ‘Walking with Crutches’ is a production about Prime Minister George Canning's time in Hinckley with Dr Robert Chessher; and ‘A Gentle Genius’, a monologue from the inventor of the Hansom Cab, the architect and inventor Joseph Hansom. A Gentle Genius was recently performed and filmed at Atkins as part of Heritage Open days.

As part of their project, the year five pupils of Hinckley’s Battling Brook Primary contacted Historic England regarding the Danilo Cinema, on Trinity Lane, to request it become a listed building.

Headteacher Mrs L. Mathie said of the project: “Recently, as part of our Geography, History, English and Art curricula, we posed the inquiry question, “should we save old buildings?”  

“There is an art deco building a short walk away from our school which was built in 1936 as a cinema. The pupils are very familiar with the building as, sadly, it has become abandoned and is falling into disrepair. 

“Using current photographs of the inside, alongside archive photos and documents regarding the original design, as well as questioning we were able to pique curiosity about building. Whilst researching we discovered that it is not listed. The children were outraged by this and thought that, yes, we should save the old building!”

The pupils produced over 70 handwritten letters which are on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition is supported by Hinckley & District Museum who have lent objects related to the Danilo Cinema and the Hinckley Heroes. The exhibition is open now until Friday 29 September.  

Executive Member for Culture at the Borough Council, Deputy Leader Councillor Mark Bools said:

We have some fascinating historic heroes who hailed from this area and this exhibition promises an interesting way to learn more about the contributions they made. It’s great to see children have really got involved in the history of buildings as part of this exhibition too as it’s a great way of learning all about history and culture. I urge everyone to come along and have a look at what’s on offer.

For more information on Atkins Gallery, including how to host your own exhibition in 2024, please email