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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Key Stage 3

Our archives give Key Stage 3 students a chance to get to grips with engaging sources that are different from those in textbooks and more locally relevant. Sessions can be as easy and accessible or challenging as you require.

All of our workshops can be customised and adapted so that you and your class get the most from the session. We can even adapt sessions for different age groups entirely, so why not have a look through the lists for other Key Stages?

For further information on any of these workshops, or to discuss building a new workshop to meet your requirements, please contact us.

Medieval and Tudor

The Other King John Charter

Close up of King John Charter (D/St 1/3/1)
Magna Carta was far from the only charter issued by King John. This workshop looks at a local example and explores what we can learn from these fascinating documents about real people who lived in Medieval Durham.

National Curriculum link: Development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain, 1066-1509

Northern Rebellion

Map of Tudor Durham (D/CL 23/11)
What was the Northern Rebellion of 1569 about? What did it mean for ordinary people? What would you have done if you had been there? This workshop investigates the themes of rebellion and puts students in the shoes of real people who lived in Durham at the time.

National Curriculum link: Development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain, 1509-1745

Women's fight for the Vote

Suffragettes

Newspaper article about suffragettes (D/WP 1/75/1)
Should women have the vote? What did local people at the time actually think about it? This workshop explores the question through the eyes of men and women who really lived in Durham in 1913. Each student has a 'character' to investigate. They then take on this character in a class debate on women's suffrage.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

World War 1

Football, Forestry and Furnaces:  Keeping the home fires burning during the "Great War"

Munitions workers in World War 1
Students are invited to depart from the well-trodden paths of Flanders' Fields and take a different look at the First World War.  Working from film clips, photographs, oral history recordings and archive material students will explore how working and leisure activities continued during the war.  The session culminates in a local depth study of a number of County Durham characters and their contribution.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Coastal Seaham: Investigation

Shell fired on Seaham in 1916
Parachute into the events of coastal Durham on 11 July 1916.  Who is the unluckiest woman in County Durham?  Can you map out the unfolding events? What do eye-witnesses report?   And who is the mystery man? This is a local depth study using primary sources (in English and German) but interweaving national and international themes.  Also includes word bank and reading skills activities. 

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Remembrance Cards

Certificate for service in First World War (D/DLI 7/227/18)
Who are 'the fallen'? This workshop puts a human face on remembrance by using photographs to explore the stories of some local soldiers. Find out where they came from, where they fought and where they died, then design a remembrance card for them. Some schools have used the results to make a beautiful display!

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Local Men in Flanders' Fields: Tracing a World War 1 soldier

Soldier writing a letter in a trench
Explore World War 1 through the eyes of a local soldier. What was his life like before the war? What happened to him? Find out using the Census, army records and photographs. The sources used will vary according to what survives for each soldier being investigated. Our archivist will liaise with the class teacher in selecting the soldier and your input is welcome.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

War Horse: a real local story

First World War soldier on a horse
At the start of the First World War, George Thompson collected horses for the war effort. He took a horse from his owner in Newcastle and promised to keep him safe. Investigate the story of George and his horse using his memoir and photographs. Find out how they survived fires, gas attacks and disease.  Did George keep his promise and bring the horse back home safely in the end?

If you're interested in George's story, you can find out more about him on our Durham at War project website, including a full transcript of his memoir.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day 

Enemies in Our Midst?  Germans in County Durham, 1914

World War 1 cartoon (D/DLI 2/18 (119))
A First World War workshop investigating ethics, citizenship, identity, crime and punishment.  How did the people of County Durham react to their German-born neighbours?  Was rioting and violence understandable or even justified?  Finish the session with the examination and trial of one of the most notorious traitors of the period.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

World War 2

Surviving Belsen

Female survivor at Belsen (D/DLI 7/404/68)
See the Holocaust through the eyes of the local men who helped liberate Belsen in 1945. Find out what they, and the survivors, had to say about it through their photographs and accounts.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Aycliffe Angels: munitions workers in County Durham

Munitions worker at a machine
Who were the Aycliffe Angels? What was it like to work in a munitions factory in World War 2? Our workshops use photographs and first-hand accounts of life at ROF Aycliffe to help students to answer these questions and ask some more of their own.

National Curriculum link: Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day

Local History

Your Local Story

Map of Shadforth, c. 1850
What was your area like in 1851? Who lived there? How did it change? Find out using maps and the Census. This workshop will follow the story of your local area and be as individual as your area is, so the sources used will vary.

National Curriculum link: Local history study

Research Skills

Open Research Workshops

List of people receiving poor relief in Stockton, c.1730 (EP/Sto 42)
These workshops can be based on almost anything at all! Have a friendly chat with our archivist, who will advise you on what sources we have and work with you to design the visit that you need. Typically, we select a range of relevant sources and the students then use these to answer pre-arranged questions. We can also show the students how to search our database, so that they can identify and request archives themselves.

National Curriculum link: Anything you choose!

Booking

All workshops must be booked in advance.

As a guide, workshops last 2 hours and cost £100 each, though the length can be altered as required. If required, a condensed version of each workshop can be delivered in an hour and we could deliver up to three of these for £100.

Sessions can be delivered at the Record Office in County Hall or at your school. Visits to the Record Office allow students to see our strongrooms and original documents. In order to protect the records we care for, we use high quality copies for visits to schools.

All of our sessions can be customised to your own needs. We can even design a workshop just for you! Please contact us to discuss what you need.