Stoke Newington Embraces School Heritage Project

Past pupils, parents, local museums and heritage sites joined forces to help pupils from William Patten Primary investigate their history and local heritage.

For three weeks pupils examined historical evidence, explored sites of local significance and interviewed former pupils and local residents, including centenarian Kathleen Housden who attended the school in the 1920s.

Children looking up at projection screen which a teacher is pointing to and an old lady is sitting in a wheelchair
Kathleen Housden 'welcome back' assembly

The project kicked off with a residency from the Geffrye Museum to develop object handling and questioning skills. Pupils visited a wide range of local heritage sites including:

In addition to investigating William Patten's life, children examined 'mystery boxes' to uncover the lives of other local residents such as Daniel Defoe and Frank Bostock, the showman and lion tamer. This inspired activities ranging from creative writing to circus skills.

I really enjoyed the mystery boxes because they were fun and interesting and we saw lots of objects from the past.

Connie, Year 6
A pupil examining a mystery box
A pupil examining a mystery box

Parents and relatives shared their local knowledge and lent their expertise in areas such as film making and graphic design. Local historian and parent, Amir Dotan, shared his research into the changing face of Stoke Newington Church Street and created a poster of famous residents.

It has been wonderful to see how excited the children have been about learning about local heritage. It is a project that they, as well the staff, teachers, parents and carers have fully embraced. The heritage project has been a wonderful way to engage the wider community.

Deputy Head Teacher Craig Porteus
Children sitting cross-legged on floor with woman pointing to the chamber pot being held by one of the children
Geffrye Museum Schools’ Educator working with children to develop object handling and questioning skills
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