How has Luton changed over time?

Through a series of five questions, pupils will learn how Luton has changed from prehistoric times to the present day. Each question has a PowerPoint presentation of information plus a series of supporting enquiries and activity sheets to help pupils discover more about Luton’s history and embed their learning.


Teaching ideas

By investigating the development of the town chronologically, pupils will be able to look for similarities, differences and changes over time throughout the whole history of the town. They will gain an understanding of how the town they live in today has been shaped, and continues to be shaped, by the place itself and the people who have lived in it.

Each of the following questions is designed to enable pupils to use enquiry techniques to discover for themselves how their local history relates to the national history of Britain. The Luton Local History Teaching Overview describes the specific learning outcomes for each of the activities listed below. You can also download our ‘Essentials’ for extra resources that can be used with all five questions, such as word mats, writing frames and much more.

Question 1 - Who were the first people to live in the area?

This includes the following sections:

  • Luton during the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages information - PowerPoint Presentation
  • Waulud’s Bank - Aerial Photography Activity
  • Discoveries that Reveal the Past - Artefact Analysis

Extended Task: What can you find out about Dray’s Ditches?

Question 2 - What impact did invaders have on the area?

  • Invaders - PowerPoint Presentation
  • Timeline - Sorting Activity
  • Roman Roads Map Activity

Extended Task: How were Roman roads built?

Question 3 - How did the industrial revolution change Luton?

  • How Luton changed during the Industrial Revolution – Information PowerPoint Presentation
  • Luton’s Hat Industry – A Sewer’s Complaint Poem Analysis
  • The Hat Business in Luton - Research Activity Booklet

Extended Task: What more can you find out about the Vauxhall company in Luton?

Question 4 - What part did Luton play in the World Wars?

  • The World Wars - PowerPoint Presentation
  • World War 1 Luton - Information Sheet
  • Wardown House Hospital - Letter Writing Activity
  • World War 2 Luton - Information Sheet
  • Churchill Tank - Research Task
  • Anderson Shelter - Craft Activity

Extended Task: What were the Peace Day Riots?

Question 5 - How has Luton changed since the war?

  • Moving to Luton - PowerPoint Presentation
  • Jobs in Luton Census - Analysis Activity
  • History Defenders – Design a Celebratory Statue Activity

Extended Task: How has the population of Luton changed since 1945?

Learning aims and outcomes

  • To learn about changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
  • To make inferences from archaeological evidence
  • To use the terms 'invade' and 'settle'
  • To investigate aspects of local history and how it relates to a national story.
  • To develop a sense of pride in where they live
  • To develop skills in chronology using timelines and historical information
  • To create reasoned and evidentially supported judgements
  • Establish clear narratives within and across the periods studied

Prior knowledge

  • No prior knowledge is required, all information is provided.

Extended learning and useful links