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Children from a Bradford Primary School Explore their Local Heritage

Feversham Primary School children named themselves Heritage Hunters as they explored the history of the people and places on their doorstep. Supported by Heritage Schools, the children interviewed local people, worked with a historian and even made a film about their discoveries.

The children have gained so much from their heritage projects and now know a lot more about Bradford and the area around their school, this has given them a real sense of belonging and identity. They have enjoyed exploring outside the classroom, discovering stories about real people and real places. In particular, they have learned and developed many new historical skills through their own research and interviewing, listening and filming with local people.

Naveed Idrees, Head Teacher, Feversham Primary School

Feversham Primary School

Feversham Primary School is a large inner city school in Barkerend, Bradford. Head teacher Naveed Idrees joined the Heritage Schools programme keen to help his children learn about their local heritage by exploring places on their doorstep and in their historic city of Bradford. 

A group of 5 school children talking to two bearded men wearing white caps.
Children from Feversham Primary School in Bradford exploring changes in the area around their school have been looking at local buildings, and interviewing and recording stories with members of their local community

Exploring Bradford's Barkerend

The school took on their heritage projects with great gusto naming it 'Heritage Hunters' and they were keen that each year group had its own local focus.

Using maps and trade directories they explored streets and buildings around their school: they discovered a Bradford city footballer had once lived close by; a large old steam powered worsted spinning mill; a church with art work by William Morris; the oldest house in Bradford, Grade II*Listed Paper Hall, once housing the city's very first spinning machines and the location of a Fever Hospital which probably gave the school its name.

Oral histories

Children learned more about their area when members of the local community came into school and the children were able to ask questions of their own.

Two adults sitting on chairs at the front of a classroom, answering childen's questions.
Members of the local community came into school and the children were able to ask questions of their own

Four waves of immigration

Working with a historian, teachers realised that their central location provided a wonderful opportunity to explore buildings which told the story of Bradford's many waves of immigration which in the form of Irish, German, Jewish, and Eastern European communities.

Bradford's first mosque

One such building investigated was a Victorian terraced house on Howard Street. The children learned that was the location of Bradford's first mosque, used by South Asian Muslim migrants after the Second World War, many of whom worked in Bradford's textile industry such as Barkerend Mills at the bottom of their school road. The conversion of the Howard Street mosque from a home to a religious building marked the first step towards the purpose built mosques in Bradford today.

Recording memories for future generations

The year six class wanted to learn more and decided they would like to record memories from the first generation of Asian immigrant communities in their locality before they might be lost forever. One of their interviews was with a former President of the mosque who arrived as a migrant in Bradford in 1961.

Making a local heritage film

With the support of Heritage Schools, Feversham Primary decided to make their own heritage film.They worked with a professional film maker Mobeen Butt who had extensive experience in contributing to all sorts of different projects on the South Asian Muslim experience.

Mobeen helped the children understand the importance and process of recording oral histories and prepared them for their interviews on film.

The film is now ready and will soon have its first public viewing.

Celebrating our local heritage

Children at Feversham explored their local heritage in many ways as can be seen by the wonderful displays of arts and design work around the school.

Colourful artwork of children at Feversham Primary on display in the classroom
Children at Feversham explored their local heritage in many ways as became apparent in the wonderful displays of arts and design work around the school

Feversham Street First School Grade II* listed

The next line of enquiry will be investigating the site of the original school, which is a listed building and of great historic and architectural significance. Now derelict, it has been identified by the Victorian Society as being among the country's top ten endangered buildings, the school are keen to get involved!

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