Fifty-one Year 10 GCSE History students have just returned from a trip to London to support their GCSE course, exploring the Tower of London, the Imperial War Museum and Westminster Abbey.
“Why are the people who are commemorated in Westminster Abbey all men?” said one student after a tour of a building that pre-dates 1066. This thought-provoking question and the subsequent discussion that arose about how and who to remember from History, highlights why it is important for students to get outside the classroom and explore History in the world around us.
Students even had the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of one of the most notorious serial killers of the 19th century whilst on a Jack the Ripper walking tour of Whitechapel. The students were immersed in a world of extreme poverty, crime and the lives of the London working poor. They also learnt the origins of the phrase: ‘daylight robbery’ after being taught about the plight of poor Londoners forced to brick up their windows rather than pay an unfair window tax.
The students were allowed access around the cloisters of Westminster Abbey and into the resting place of one of our fiercest monarchs and her family – Elizabeth I. They learnt about Elizabeth’s relationship with her courtiers and how the Queen asserted her authority upon her subjects through a religious settlement that was designed to end a period of religious unrest and discontent.
At the Tower of London, students saw first-hand some of the forms of punishment and torture used on those imprisoned for the most serious of offences, from murder and heresy to treason. “Would that not hurt?” asked one student as they examined the ‘the rack’, a medieval torture method designed to stretch out the victims and extract their darkest secrets.
With thanks to Mr Hayes, Miss Millington, Mr Gifford and Miss Walton for their support and time during the trip.
The pupils had a fantastic time and were very grateful – they even found time to get some personalised chocolates to commemorate their trip.
Teacher of History