White Hall Centre.


The Friends of White Hall Centre feel that the benefits of outdoor education, accessible for all, regardless of any disability, or ability to pay, cannot be overestimated, and we know that the Centre, with the support of Derbyshire County Council, demonstrates this ethos in everything it does. One vital aspect of White Hall’s function is the provision of activities for those less fortunate. Through the support of Derbyshire County Council, the Centre is able to offer tailored activities, often at little or no cost to the individual. Examples include,

• Virtual Schools
Provision for young people who cannot attend mainstream education every day. Predominantly young people from care homes, on the edge of going into care or excluded from school.

• HAF courses
Holiday Activities and Food courses. Holiday provision for young people receiving benefits- related free school meals (FSM) and/or with SEN. Children are provided a healthy breakfast and lunch each day as well as a day of outdoor education during major school holidays. Places are funded by Derbyshire County Council and free for the participants.

Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Courses are aimed at bringing more young people into STEM subjects and improving future recruitment and involvement in STEM industries.
Another funded package offered to schools with high numbers of young people receiving free school meals,(FSM). The Centre currently this to all schools with 50% or more students on FSM.

• Moving on moving up
Offered to children in or on the edge of care or not in mainstream education. The programme starts in September and works with 5 children per week on ASDAN* qualifications. These are the ‘Living independently’ and ‘Outdoor residential’ qualifications. The course aims to give young people an education and some valuable qualifications as a steppingstone towards getting back into education. *ASDAN = Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network.


Extract from Centre’s own site:

White Hall Centre’s first residential outdoor education course ran in 1951 from 26 February to 2 March for a group of boys from Spring Bank School, New Mills. Walking to local rock faces or longer walks with bivouacs was the main transport of the day until a mini bus and old Land Rover were acquired. Over the next seven years, White Hall’s reputation grew as more Derbyshire young people came to stay and teachers reported back on the positive effects the experience had had on their students. The ‘educational experiment’ was seen as a success and began to be taken up by other local authorities.

Duke Of Ediinburgh visit 1958
Recognition for Derbyshire County Council and White Hall was to come in the form of Royal approval with a visit in 1958 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He watched a group canoeing on Whaley Bridge canal and a climbing session at Castle Naze. To reach the foot of the cliff at Castle Naze, the Duke needed to walk uphill for 10 minutes so was given a pair of White Hall wellingtons to wear. Story has it that the Duke’s shoes were somehow mislaid on his return, so he had to leave for his next engagement wearing the wellies! Somewhere in the Palace may sit a pair of White Hall wellingtons. If you are ever there, you’ll recognise them by the holes punched in the tops to mark the size. It is a system that is still in use today.
To skip over the next fifty years would seem to be an injustice for all those who have worked at White Hall, attended courses here, been assessed for outdoor qualifications and have been influential in outdoor education for the benefit of so many. Staff from the centre have played their part in setting up the mountain leader scheme, the cave leadership scheme and local accreditations in climbing and mountain biking which have allowed thousands of people to experience the outdoors safely. Some of the greats within the outdoor world have played their part in White Hall’s history; Eric Byne, Geoff Sutton, Joe Brown, Don Morrison, Eric Langmuir, Doug Scott, and in more recent times world champion climber Simon Nadin and local expert Sam Whittaker.
At the time of our 60th anniversary in 2011, we estimated that over one million young people from all parts of Derbyshire had walked through the front doors of White Hall. Add in all the young people who have participated in outdoor activities because their teachers or youth workers had been trained and assessed at White Hall and that figure could be double or even treble.
So has White Hall as an outdoor activities centre changed? Yes and no. Education has developed, government and local priorities have evolved and young people’s expectations change. White Hall hasn’t sat on its laurels but has developed and adapted to meet the challenges of today and even to prepare for tomorrow! However, at its core, it remains the warm welcoming house on the hill where visitors can have life-changing experiences, eat well, sleep well and have fun!
AB Afford, who worked at the centre, wrote that Peter Mosedale, the first principal, returned for a visit in 1975, after the efforts of three intervening principals and twenty years, he concluded that ‘it still seems the same’. AB, after initially feeling a little hurt from all the work and development they had put into the centre, concluded, on reflection, ‘Yes, that’s how it should be’.



White Hall video

Follow the link below to the Centre's own site.

Video on YouTube