What makes a housing estate special?

This resource uses the John Laing Photographic Collection to help pupils explore their local built heritage. It focuses on the Easiform housing built by Laing’s from the 1920s to 1960s. They built over 100,000 homes this way, all across the country. By looking at ‘ordinary’ houses pupils gain a greater understanding about how their local area looks today and the people who helped to build it.

Although this PPT is written as a teacher-led classroom presentation, it is designed so that all the ‘activities’ and ‘research tasks’ within it could be done by pupils as part of their home learning.


Teaching idea

What makes a housing estate special?

Using the John Laing Photographic Collection to explore Easiform housing in their community pupils are encourage to consider questions such as – are historical photos a good source of evidence? They will look through a selection of archive images to work out what they can tell them about houses in the past and the people who built and lived in them. They are then set the challenge – could you be an ‘Archive Image Selector’? They learn about Jack, the Archive Image Selector for the John Laing project, who had to pick the ‘best’ 10,000 photos from a collection of 230,000 photos! They learn what his criteria were and then develop their own, to allowing them to select their ‘best’ photos. They then share their selections with the rest of the class, explaining why they chose them.

Learning aims and outcomes

  • To develop a sense of pride in where they live
  • To understand their local heritage and how it relates to a national story
  • To understand what a photographic archive is & how it could be used
  • To use primary sources
  • To select and organise relevant historical information
  • To explore changes in post-war Britain
  • To look at their own identity within a local case study
  • To devise historically valid questions (oral history)

Prior knowledge

  • An understanding that not all houses were built at the same time or in the same way