What can local history tell us?
Local history and the local environment are very much entwined. We can learn so much from them and enjoy sharing that knowledge. Architecture can provide information about the development of an area; building and street design can reveal how places have changed over time, while local parks and beauty spots tell us about how urban spaces have been used by different groups. Victorian water fountains, canal towpaths and war memorials provide an insight into the people who have inhabited the urban landscape in previous generations, while in rural areas a peek at the hedgerows will tell us about how the area was farmed over the years.
You may be fortunate enough to have a historic site on your doorstep. Perhaps local individuals or families have played a significant role in local or national history. Historical information, and ideas of how to ‘read’ the local area, can be found in books, local archives, websites and collections such as this one.
Local history in the curriculum
The National Curriculum specifies that pupils at Key Stages 1-3 should undertake a local study that may encompass an aspect or a site that is significant in the local area: perhaps a local event or individual that is reflective of national history. Carrying out a local study is not only a wonderful way to introduce young people to a range of tools used by historians (such as archives, maps, film, the built environment) but is also a way for our young people to connect with their locality and to understand its place in the national picture.
The clips curated here cover a range of geographical locations and historical themes and issues, and may provide either the impetus or the focus for a local history study.
Carrying out a local study is a way for our young people to connect with their locality and to understand its place in the national picture.
Guest Playlist: Historical Association
To mark Local History Month, ERA have teamed up with the Historical Association to curate an inspiring set of video resources.
Search thousands of History video resources on ERA's Video Streaming Platform.
History – is it always horrible?
Dr Seán Lang is a Senior Lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University, he recently spoke to ERA about the virtues of Horrible Histories in the educational press.