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Welburn Hall School Case Study - Introduction

This topic, based on our school building, has been taught to special needs pupils who have a wide range of learning and physical difficultWelburn Hall North Yorks, IoE number 328453 © Mr John Turneries. The main idea is to examine Welburn Hall, a listed building, using the Images of England website and the hall and grounds; comparing and contrasting these against the homes of the children, through a variety of 'hands on' activities.

This has been achieved through the use of:

    1. simple photograph analysis
    2. simple measuring and surveying exercises
    3. simple data analysis
    4. story telling and drama

      Welburn Hall from Images of England

Engraving by BuckThese are the relevant topic links to the National Curriculum;

KS1: the way of life of people in the more distant past who lived in the local area or elsewhere in Britain

KS2: Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930

KS3 Local History Study ‘. . .how the locality was affected by a significant national or local event; The fire of 1931.


Welburn Hall in 1724


It should be born in mind that there were different objectives within a single group of pupils. Typically these were that children should learn that:

  • people live in different sorts of homes
  • they can talk about homes using specific vocabulary
  • homes have both common and differing external features
  • they can record their observations according to their abilities through written notes, sketches or by selecting an image from a choice of images
  • they can find out about the past from census returns and newspaper articles by either extracting the information themselves or through guided discussion

Sources for this work are:

  • an undated set of plate photographs (c.1900) in the possession of the school
  • census returns taken from the records held by North Yorkshire County Library
  • a newspaper report about the 1931 fire held by North Yorkshire County Library
  • an appeal in the local newspaper which led to an interview with the son of the local farmer of the 1940s
  • an 'off the street' request by the daughter of the last butler to come and visit which resulted in a class of pupils touring part of the site with her


Welbun Hall July 1964 by kind permission of Aerofilms, click on image to see a larger version


This case study concentrates on Welburn Hall, which is now a day and residential special school set on the A170, between the market towns of Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire. Agriculture has been and remains an important activity in the area.

The hall is the largest building on the site. Its foundations rest on the remains of the grange – when Welburn belonged to nearby Rievaulx Abbey. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries the hall was sold and later the central portion of the present house was built. In 1890 the derelict hall was sold, the west wing was demolished and the present house and stables built. In 1931 the house was badly damaged by a fire and was subsequently rebuilt in a less ostentatious style. In 1951 the school was set up and today the hall is the residential part and the stables are now the classrooms and therapy areas.

Simple photograph analysis followed by discussion and recording;

  • as a homework exercise pupils have counted the chairs in their lounge
  • other pupils took home three simple outlines of typical house fronts and chose the one which best fits their home
  • at school they discussed differences amongst group and then counted doors, windows and seating within the hall
  • this then led to a discussion about differences in room size and lifestyle
  • everyone then composed a caption for their drawing and another for the c.1900 picture of the lounge

Simple data analysis

  • the children have examined an enlarged version of the 1901 census list, listening and looking for unusual words
  • they have then pasted outline figures onto a simple A3 picture of the house made up of boxes labelled as; kitchen, bedrooms, dinning room, lounge, pantry and then the stables and greenhouse
  • others have worked together on a larger picture

Story telling and drama

  • using the 1901 census give everyone the name of one of the people living in the hall and have them enact their character's everyday life before breakfast lunch and dinner
  • the 'Great Fire of 1931' was read to the group and the photographs were enlarged and examined
  • everyone was given a sticky label with their character's name
  • a simple sequence of events was then put on the board
  • after the drama the piece was re-read and children were invited to comment about what they had done in the drama and to compare it with what would happen today


  • some pupils by the end of the topic had a folder of drawings and notes including annotations to the photocopies of the images
  • some pupils were also asked to talk about their own homes and to compare and contrast them with the hall counting windows in both buildings, or major items of furniture such as sofas pianos, suits of armour etc.
  • some pupils were given pictures of the house and an alternative photograph was offered. They had to select the correct one and offer a reason as to why they had selected it
  • some pupils were asked to draw their house front and that of the hall and to explain in conversation how they were different
  • some pupils were also asked to say which house they would rather stay in on a weekend. Here we were looking for an awareness of a lack of technology in 1890 i.e. TV, computers, videos etc.
Use the Images of England site to find further photographs of Welburn Hall..... click here

View 1931 Welburn Fire sources ..... click here

Please note that the inclusion of a listed building on this website does not mean it is open to the public.