The Victorians

A popular unit of study in Key Stage 2 has in the past been the Victorians. It is possible to continue to study the Victorians through either a local study or through a unit of study beyond 1066, although the emphasis now shifts to the Victorians representing a turning point. Given that so much reform and industrial change took place during this period, turning points are not difficult to find. In this section, you will find articles and resources to help you to plan to teach the Victorian period as a turning point. 

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  • The Great Exhibition of 1851: teaching a significant event at Key Stage 1

    Article

    The Great Exhibition allows pupils to consider the impact of a particular event. The exhibition provides a means to look at Britain’s wider role in the world and social and technical developments such as the impact of the railways. Pupils can explore a variety of sources, consider the substantive concepts...

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  • Female migration to Australia

    Article

    The Hyde Park Barracks, in Sydney, has a layered history. Designed by Francis Greenway (a convict architect) it was built between 1817 and 1819 by convict labour. Over the next three decades an estimated 50,000 male convicts passed through – some stayed for years, others days or only hours before...

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  • Sporting legacy: the history of endeavour

    Article

    One of the highlights of 2021 for many people was getting up early over the summer and avidly watching events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics unfold: feats of bravery and endurance, heartbreak and celebration. It will, of course, enter the history books and the pub quiz questions, not least because...

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  • Teaching Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history

    Article

    Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people are the largest minority ethnic group in some communities (and therefore in some schools) in the UK. Yet the past of Gypsy, Roma, Traveller people may rarely be part of history lessons. The result is that pupils of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritage may not...

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  • How to make a toy museum

    Article

    Making a museum in your setting or classroom is easy and children can learn all kinds of historical skills as well as developing their mark making and writing. Tees Valley Museums are a consortium of seven venues across the Tees Valley. Together they have created online support to develop a museum...

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  • Arthur Wharton: the world’s first professional black footballer

    Article

    Schools are now looking to extend their study of significant individuals away from many of the conventional ones.  This article looks at a lesser known individual, Arthur Wharton, which could make a good choice for teachers wanting to tap into pupils’ interest.  Arthur Wharton was the world’s first black professional...

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  • Exploring empire, artefacts and local history

    Article

    This article introduces us to the Colonial Countryside Project. Many of the sites we visit, especially the great country houses and stately homes, have long been visited by children. They are often fascinated by both the buildings and the history associated with them. However, there is a growing recognition that...

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  • One of my favourite history places: the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum

    Article

    This certainly represents one of the more unusual in the ‘My favourite place’ series: a hospital for the mentally ill for the poorer sections of society. Buildings such as this, however, were often imposing structures with fine architecture and an important history. With a growing recognition of the importance of...

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  • Census 2021: using the census in the history classroom

    Article

    As we approach the next census in March 2021, we are reminded of what a rich historical source the census is. For historians, using the census can shine a light on particular people and places – a snapshot in time. Big stories can be told through a sharp local lens...

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  • The back cover image: Malachite Urn

    Article

    This large green urn was given as a gift to Queen Victoria in 1839 by Emperor Nicholas I, to thank her for the way in which his son Alexander had been welcomed in England the previous year. It was placed in the Grand Reception Room of Windsor Castle, and has...

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  • All the fun of the fair! Key Stage 1 – Beyond living memory

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson outlines three activities looking at fairs past and present. We all enjoy a visit to the fair, don’t we? There’s always a bit of a buzz when the fair comes to town. In my village it arrives just in time for Feast Weekend, in the summer holidays. The rides...

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  • Local significant individuals

    Multipage Article

    The National Curriculum specifies a local study both at Key Stages 1 and 2. Basing your local study around an individual is a great way to bring the heritage of your locality to life. Many of these individuals are part of larger national events and changes and seeing these changes at...

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  • Scheme of work: George Stephenson and the development of railways

    Article

    This unit of work is intended to teach children about George Stephenson as a significant individual in history, his achievements and the impact that he had locally, nationally and internationally. It also includes some introductory lessons based around vocabulary for consolidation of terms relating to the passing of time, which...

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  • ‘Come all ye fisher lassies’

    Article

    When considering either ‘changes within living memory’ for Key Stage 1 or ‘an aspect or theme to develop children’s chronological understanding post 1066’ for Key Stage 2 it is important to focus on a clear observable change. This enables children to draw effective comparisons with their own experiences. Washday, bread...

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  • Using different sources to bring a topic to life: The Rebecca Riots

    Article

    For primary school pupils a key aim of the National Curriculum for history is to understand the method of historical enquiry. Working with original sources is of course central to the whole process and provides a great way to inspire pupils’ experience of the subject. Young pupils, once they have...

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  • Happy 200th birthday Florence Nightingale!

    Article

    2020 is undoubtedly going to be an important year in the nursing world and is a significant historical anniversary. The World Health Organisation has declared it the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ in part because Florence Nightingale, the famous ‘Lady with the Lamp’, will be celebrating her 200th birthday...

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  • Making the most of a census

    Article

    This article looks at how children can utilise and manipulate mathematical data to make sense of a historic past. The focus is on helping children see the numbers as a resource for understanding the experiences of those that lived in this place. Aim: Understand historical concepts such as continuity and...

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  • One of my favourite history places: Meldon Viaduct

    Article

    'One of my favourite history places' is a regular feature in Primary History – see all favourite history places here. In this edition, Tim Lomas explores Meldon Viaduct and its surroundings: Visiting places you have read about or seen pictures of can sometimes prove an anticlimax. Others far exceed expectations. One such is...

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  • Riding along on my pushbike… exploring transport in EYFS

    Article

    There is a myriad of opportunities for exploring the history of travel and transport in Early Years. You could focus on the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon flight in the late eighteenth century, the invention of steam trains and motor cars in the nineteenth century, or even the space race...

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  • Three first-class ladies – teaching significant individuals in Key Stage 1

    Article

    The turn of the 20th century was in many ways a golden age of aviation. In 1903 the Wright brothers conquered heavier-than-air flight. From that time onward there were many other visionaries who wanted to be part of the dream of flying. The topic of early aviation history is an...

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