Past Endeavours

Living History - bringing history into the classroom - an artifact-based interactive experience

Having worked closely with schools for many years, I am well aware of the problems associated with running outside visits. The answer is simple - I can bring the museum to you, complete with living, breathing historical interpretation, thus obviating the need for lengthy and time-consuming risk assessments and organising expensive transport.

I can bring into school examples of Great War and Second War uniforms, artifacts and equipment to help bring history alive for

your students. I will discuss your requirements beforehand to ensure that the presentation is tailored to fulfil your individual teaching requirement.

I appear, dressed in the guise of a regular army Sergeant of the 1914 period and talk to the students about recruitment and what it was like to be a soldier in the army of 1914, with particular reference to the dramatic events of the time. I firmly believe that to get the most out of such an experience, it has to involve the students physically as well as mentally. I get some "volunteers" to perform some basic drill movements, a bit of fun which breaks the ice and introduces a more informal and relaxed atmosphere. We move on to the background to the great War and talk about the intricate web of alliances which bound the whole of Europe.

I discuss the evolution of the soldier, from Wellington's day up to the Great War, with particular reference to the uniforms and equipment carried and how and why it developed into what was used during the Great War. This is artifact-based and the students get to handle kit for themselves.

After a short break, during which the students are able to look at and handle some of the artifacts, including a machine gun ( under supervision, of course !) I re-introduce myself, now suitably dressed, as a soldier back from the Front on leave and talk about life in the trenches. I usually do a 25-30 mins "talking head" presentation in character, during and after which I get "volunteers" to come up to be dressed in various items of kit and used as models to demonstrate items. My models can tell the others what it feels like, and explain what the problems they feel they will likely face are. I find this tends to make more of an impression on the rest. There are of course ample opportunities for photo calls for the school website !

During the presentation one of the topics which is examined is the impact the war had on Society and the Home Front, in particular the role played by women and how this accelerated the process of female emancipation. It also covers the sensitive topics of conscientious objection and those soldiers who were executed, Shot at Dawn.

My living history is not confined to the Great War. I can put on a presentation of the evolution of the British Army through from the age of the Redcoat to the end of the Second World War. Topics which are covered are the inter-war years, what were the major Great War combatants doing ? what was going on in the various countries, what was Britian doing about her armed forces ? All this is punctuated by reference to period uniforms, equipment and the usual dressing-up !

Using the theme of the development of warfare we can demonstrate how it influenced equipment, weapons and tactics.

The rise of National Socialism in Germany can be covered and Britain's attitude towards it. All this can be achieved by reference to period artifacts such as repoduction newspapers, Home Front items such as gas masks, ration books, clothing coupons etc.

These presentations can be mixed and matched to suit your requirements and budget. The duration can be similarly adjusted to fit in with other activities so the whole package is bespoke to your needs.

Hopefully, my visit will fire up the imagination and stimulate interest in history which for some, perhaps, had always been a dry and dusty subject. Some schools use a living history presentation as a recruiting tool for GCSEs - others to cement studies already undertaken. Some invite me to parent's open evenings as an example of initiative. Whatever you decide, my unique blend of hands-on living history will make it an unforgettable experience.

I have a small but loyal cadre of schools who I visit every year, and I am sure any of the heads of history of those schools will attest to the usefulness of living history as a teaching aid and will be happy to recommend my services:

Whitmore High

Woolwich Polytechnic

The Sandringham School,

Hitchin High School for Girls

Lord Wandsworth School

Dunraven School

St John's RC School

Welling High School

Mosslands School

Fulston Manor School

Sandwich Tech.

Thomas Telford School

Durham Johnston School

Prices

I can do mornings, afternoons, or both. Either a morning, or an afternoon will cost £525 within a 100-mile radius of my location. A whole day will cost very little more at £695, as the bulk of the costs are associated with logistics. For example, you could do Yr8/9 Great War in the morning, Yr 10/11 Second World War in the afternoon.

For schools outside the 100 mile radius I charge 40p per mile, charged at cost. I am happy to do overnight stays with local accomodation provided at your expense ( I will always chose the most cost-effective option for you ).

Please enquire about the possibility of two actors, as I work closely with another living history interpreter.

"Stop Press !"

To mark the Great War Centenary I have dropped my prices for 2014 - 2018 to:

£495 for a morning/afternoon, whole day to £625 

If interested, please contact me on: pastendeavours@btinternet.com, call 01842 862014, or write to me at: Past Endeavours, 18, Pashford Close, Lakenheath, Suffolk IP27 9ED