The resources, which are freely available via the Historic England website, form part of a nationwide education programme running parallel with a 21-month project to digitise over 10,000 images from the vast John Laing Photographic Collection.

Designed to serve as useful templates for conducting interesting and engaging classes on the built environment, lesson plans and supporting videos have been made available to teachers. The films were recorded at workshops enabling key stage two pupils to meet former Laing construction workers as part of a series of school visits in Swindon, Bristol, London and Coventry last year.

The sessions aimed to develop pupils’ sense of pride in where they live, helping them understand local heritage and how it relates to the national story. Through these workshops, Breaking New Ground also developed a guide for conducting oral histories to help teachers engage pupils in learning from others about their experiences.

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“The aim of the programme is to engage students with the John Laing Photographic Collection, to share stories and to increase the students’ knowledge and sense of pride in their local heritage,” explains Ashley McKenzie-White, Breaking New Ground outreach officer at Historic England.

“Following our workshops, we are delighted to present these education resources and films, so teachers throughout the country can access materials online to help teach their pupils about the history of their local buildings and bring them to life.”

A further film exploring the project’s trainee programme has also now been published. The scheme involved three year-long placements in archive cataloguing, conservation and digitisation at the Historic England Archive.


For more on the John Laing Collection: Breaking New Ground project, click here.

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