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Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives School Workshops – Curriculum-based learning

 All workshops are free for Tower Hamlets Schools (donations welcome).

 We welcome hundreds of children and young people to our site every year through planned school visits. We deliver sessions on the following topics and continue to develop more sessions every year, linked to the curriculum and always guided by the teacher’s brief.

 All our sessions include an introduction to our service and how to handle delicate historic materials safely. Onsite sessions use some original material so that students can connect directly with primary sources. Offsite sessions will use copies from collections. Examples of sessions that we offer.

women waiting for DLR train at Limehouse Station

Our Local History - KS1

In this session pupils can see original images on their local area. These will include landmarks that are familiar to them, such as their school, a place of worships, a community space, and places close to their school.

This session involves two craft activities:

  • Comparing pictures of then and now in groups
  • A mapping exercise with copies of the collections and local maps of the area.

Duration: 1.5hrs

women hanging washing in 1950s

Changes in the home KS1

In this session pupils handle and explore images of homes in the East End over the last 100 years. This session also includes curriculum-based learning for both history and science, as pupils use a fun craft activity to find out which materials were used in homes of the past.

Duration: 1.5hrs 

Victorian Alley Street Scene

Victorian East End KS2, KS3, KS4

How did industrialisation change the east end? How did working class inhabitants live? What was life like for women and children? All these themes are explored alongside a variety of original materials from the Victorian east end including maps, images, and workhouse registers.

Duration: 2 hrs

Female factory workers in WWI

WWI & the East End KS2, KS3

In this session pupils will explore key themes on the affects of WWI on the East End. Pupils will use a range of primary and secondary sources to cite and answer questions to broaden their learning. This session also includes some artefacts from our museum collections alongside primary sources from our library and archive collections.

Duration: 2 hrs

Bomb damage building in Poplar

WWII & the East End KS2, KS3

This popular session allows students to explore East End experiences in World War Two. The session follows curriculum topics including children’s experiences, women’s roles, and bomb damage in the East End. There is a special focus on topics with local relevance such as the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster, the largest loss of civilian life during the war. This session makes use of the huge variety of material we hold including many artefacts from our museum collection.

Duration: 2hrs

The building of the East India Docks

Migration & Exploration KS2, KS3, KS4

In this session pupils can discover the local connection to exploration, migration, and colonisation. Using original maps, illustrations, and archive material to reveal how important the East End was to these journeys across the globe. This session age appropriately highlights how central London was to the transatlantic slave trade, and how it profited in the trade. The session also covers the colonisation of the Bengal region, the recruitment of Lascars and some of their journeys to the East End. We use a range of archive library and museum collections to show how many different groups of people migrated to the East End in the 19th and 20th centuries including the Chinese and Somali communities.

Duration: 2hrs

Local History topics

Bengali East End KS2, KS3, KS4

Somali East End KS2, KS3, KS4

Match Girls Strike KS2, KS3, KS4

East London Suffragettes KS2, KS3, KS4

We also offer a variety of topics for pupils to explore the heritage of the local area. These topics can be combined in one session or delivered individually. If a topic you are teaching is not listed here, please contact us to discuss in more detail.