A history graduate is using her academic expertise to help boost visitor numbers at one the capital’s best known tourist attractions. Suzannah Lipscomb has joined the staff at Hampton Court Palace as part of a three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project set up by the University’s Enterprise Exchange.
The project, sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will enable the 28 year old to work as a research curator exploring the day-to-day lives of the courtiers and servants who populated the palace during the reign of King Henry VIII in the 16th Century. Her findings will help shape a series of new exhibitions about the life and times of the Tudor monarch, best known for his six wives and his decision to sever ties with the Roman Catholic Church.
Palace officials hope the exhibitions will lead to a resurgence in the number of people from the United Kingdom making excursions to the venue. They are particularly interested in targeting family groups and more repeat visitors from the local community. “While Hampton Court is one of the must see sites for international tourists coming to London, in terms of the home-grown market people often feel less of a sense of urgency to spend a day out at the palace,” Ms Lipscomb explained. “The new displays will play a big part in reversing that trend by incorporating features that will really capture the imaginations of visitors curious to know more about the origins of the royal residence and the people who lived there.”
Knowledge Transfer Partnership manager Charlene Edwards said the project demonstrated the important contributions the University was able to make across the region. “Being approached to support such a prestigious icon as Hampton Court Palace is testament to the effectiveness of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme and I am confident our links will reinforce the venue’s reputation as one of the true treasures of Britain’s national heritage,” she said.
Dr Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said Ms Lipscomb was already playing a key role in unearthing a dynamic new perspective on life in Henry VIII’s time. “Suzannah is playing a really important role in the lead up to the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne by spending three years getting under his skin, helping us to make sure the Tudor court will come alive for visitors in a fun and informative way,” she said.