Exploring empire, artefacts and local history

Primary History article

By Dan Lyndon-Cohen, published 14th June 2021

Exploring empire, artefacts and local history

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 this history needs to be extended and that many of the families had connections with less savoury aspects of the past. This article explores some of these connections and why it is important that primary children have a more balanced understanding of the past and its surviving buildings. There is a particular focus on three important National Trust properties.

What is the connection between Sir Francis Drake, a turtle and a tiger? Perhaps you would be surprised to find out that they all have a connection with Britain’s colonial history and in particular with some of the National Trust houses that are visited by thousands of people every year. The Colonial Countryside Project brings together authors, historians, and primary pupils to explore country houses’ Caribbean and East India Company connections. This article will showcase some of the resources which were produced for the project that are freely available for teachers to download...

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