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The Hill House teacher information

The Hill House is considered to be the finest example of domestic architecture by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and, as such, is a major landmark within the history of architecture.

The Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie commissioned Mackintosh to design the house in 1902. Mackintosh also designed the furniture for the main rooms, fittings and decorative schemes, while his wife, Margaret Macdonald, contributed fabric designs and a unique gesso panel. The Blackie family moved into the house in 1904.

The house has been conserved in its original form. The garden has been restored to its early 20th-century composition and reflects some of Mackintosh’s architectural designs.

The Hill House is currently surrounded by a protective steel structure that’s covered in chainmail mesh. This structure, known as ‘the Box’, is the start of a 10-year conservation programme to protect the house from the rain. Over the years, the Hill House has suffered from extreme damp issues caused by a combination of architectural flaws and exposure to the elements. The Box has been put in place to allow the walls of the house to dry out and prevent further damage.

The Box brings with it a whole new visitor experience. Our visitors are now able to discover parts of the house that would have previously been inaccessible or hidden from view. Our magnificent walkways take you on an elevated route around the perimeter of the property and, also, up and over the roof! This allows you to experience the Hill House in a way that even Mackintosh himself would never have seen. We also have a brand new visitor centre and café within the Box.

The school programme offers many opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence. History, art and architecture combined in a family home, with old and new coming together, creates an excellent learning opportunity for pupils.

Pre-primary  45 minutes
Pre-school visits can be arranged for nursery groups. A tour of the house and Box introduces 3–5-year-olds to Mackintosh and the Blackie family using songs and games. The children will learn about how the Blackie family children lived and what games they used to play in the house.

The house tour can be complemented by a short walk around the gardens. Please contact us for more details on thehillhouse@nts.org.uk.

Primary  90 minutes 
Primary visits will have a tour of the house and Box with one of our team and be able to be hands-on with the chainmail that covers the Box. Children will discover Mackintosh through craft activities, learn about how the chainmail is saving the house from dissolving as well as doing a Mackintosh stencil of their own.

The house tour can be complemented by a short walk around the gardens. For more details please email thehillhouse@nts.org.uk.

Secondary 2 hours
Groups will have a guided tour of the house and Box by one of our House team. Groups will then have a 20-minute specialist talk chosen by them in advance from our list.

If you have a different subject that you’d like a talk on, please contact us and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

  • Architecture and the Box
  • Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (gesso)
  • Mackintosh and Walter Blackie
  • Japonism, the Glasgow Boys and Mackintosh

The house tour can be complemented by a short walk around the gardens. For more details please email thehillhouse@nts.org.uk.

Possible topics

  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh
  • Scottish design and architecture
  • Conservation

Resources for schools

  • An illustrated guidebook is available from the visitor centre (price £5).

Planning your class visit

  • To book: booking is essential for visiting the Hill House.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • The Hill House is open for educational visits all year round.
  • Maximum class size: 30 with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils
  • Access: we regret that the Hill House is not fully accessible for individuals with mobility, sight or hearing impairment. Please contact us to discuss your requirements. You can also find more information on accessibility at the Hill House webpage.
  • Parking: parking is available for coaches in the adjacent car park.
  • Toilets: these are available within the house and visitor centre.
  • Refreshments: we have catering onsite, so please contact us for details and to book refreshments by emailing thehillhouse@nts.org.uk. There are no facilities for eating snacks/packed lunches in the house. Schools are welcome to picnic in the garden when the weather is fine.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-member schools are welcome – there is an admission charge of £2 per pupil.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free. 
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site. We offer a pre-visit tour for teaching staff – please contact us for dates and bookings on thehillhouse@nts.org.uk.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: Your school will be met by a member of staff.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • The Hill House is open from 10am–5pm. Group bookings are available from 10am–4pm.
  • For the programme, your class may be split or tour as a group, depending on class size – this will be confirmed at the time of booking.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils do not need to bring any materials for the school programme.