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Case Study; Remembering the Past in our Area: Pat Hughes
KSWar memorial, Astwick, Bedfordshire, IoE number 037806, © Mr Derek E. Wharton 1 History, Citizenship


These activities could form a local history and geography follow up to the QCA Unit 17: What are we remembering on Remembrance Day.

Most areas have some form of commemorative monument, often a war memoria,l to remember those who died in the First and Second World Wars. Children may be taken to visit this while studying Unit 17.

The Unit also provides an opportunity to look at why and how important events are commemorated by people in Britain and the wider world. There are important links here with current conflicts where family members may be involved and sometimes whole families have fled from hostilities.

Key Question: What monuments do we have in our area which remind us about people and events in the past?

Learning Objective

  • Understand what the word ‘commemorative’ and ‘monument’ mean
  • Identifying monuments in the locality which record past events
  • Using the Images in England website to find other commemorative monuments in our district/areaWar memorial, Westbury, Bristol, IoE number 379780, © Mr Cyril N. Chapman LRPS


Access to the internet, Imperial War Museum website, English Heritage Adopt a Monument local history resource etc.

Local photographs of war memorials, churches, fountains, house plaques etc


Pre-lesson task

  • Prepare a display of photographs taken in the immediate locality of the school which can be seen as reminding children of the past
  • Children who are regular church goers may be very familiar with gravestones which provide a commemoration of people who may have lived a very long time ago
  • Ask children if they can recognise where photographs have been taken
  • Ideally children should have the opportunity both before and after the lesson of looking and touching some of these memorials
Teaching and learning activities

War memorial, Stanley Road, Bootle, Merseyside, IoE number 216422, © Mr Philip Pye

  1. Ask children to tell you where in the area they can find a building or plaque which ‘commemorates’ an event and/or people in the past.
    • Use the words ‘commemorate’ and ‘monument’.Make a title for the display using the key words ‘commerate’ and ‘monument’. This will also aid the search later.
    • Some children may mention family gravestones
    • Local baths, libraries and road signs may record people and events in the past. They may be named after local dignitaries or may have a plaque on the inside to identify when the building was opened and by whom. Many schools have this as well.
    • Record the type of commemorations the children identify and suggest ones they may have missed
  2. Use the interactive whiteboard to visit the Images of England site. Demonstrate how to use the Quick Search to find commemorative buildings which have been identified as being particularly special in a district in their county.
  3. Print out and display some of these monuments. Some areas have very few, if any.
    • Ask children to suggest some local memorials which they feel should be on the website. What reasons do they give for the choice; age, meaning for them, number of people for whom the commemoration is made, attractiveness and/or usefulness of building
  4. Give the children the opportunity to engage in a search themselves. Again a word bank can provide support for unfamiliar words.

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