Bringing the First World War to life

Blackhall Local History Group at St Josephs R.C. School.'Linda Doyle  deputy head and group members Tom Smith (left) and   'John Woods
Blackhall Local History Group at St Josephs R.C. School.'Linda Doyle deputy head and group members Tom Smith (left) and 'John Woods

EAST Durham schools have praised demonstrations given by a local history group that brought the First World War vividly to life to children.

Blackhall Local History Group took displays and presentations at four primary schools in the area to mark the centenary of the war.

Sharing artefacts that the children can hold and feel is a fantastic way to learn, and teamed with the knowledge that the group have, it provided a learning experience we could not replicate ourselves.

The group took along artefacts for the youngsters to handle, read poetry and gave poppy seeds out.

Each of the schools has since written to the history group to thank it and told how the demonstrations struck a real chord with the youngsters.

The group visited St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Blackhall Colliery, on Remembrance Day.

Deputy head Lynda Doyle said: “The children had lots of questions about present and future wars which were very sensitively handled.

“Poetry was read out to the children and they listened respectively and with great interest, even the youngest of our children who were only four.”

Susan Gibbins, of Hutton Henry CE School, said: “Sharing artefacts that the children can hold and feel is a fantastic way to learn, and teamed with the knowledge that the group have, it provided a learning experience we could not replicate ourselves.”

Sarah Myner at Hesleden Primary School wrote to say: “They thoroughly enjoyed their time, and everyone from the group were friendly and informative.”

Joanna Clark, headteacher of Blackhall Colliery Primary School, said: “It was lovely to receive the poppy seeds and the remembrance cross, the children will enjoy planting them and it makes it more meaningful for them when they look out of their classroom windows once they start to grow.”

Stanley Gray, treasurer of the history group said the work of the group was thriving in their research and documentation of history in the area with the publication of books, displays and presentations, and work with schools on various projects.