Teaching resources for Harpenden history

This section of the website provides resources for teachers to use in the classroom with their students.  We have looked for sources that will capture students’ interest by providing a more meaningful connection to the past.  In some cases this will be through the reference to places that are part of their lives today.  Other documents provide a sense of the immediacy of events, that can be lacking from national documents; the handwritten notes on how prepared different houses on Cravells Road were for bombing in World War II really bring home how everyone was involved in trying to prepare the town for possible bombardment.  Still other sources provide a connection to individuals; students will be moved to find out about what happened to Mr Bingham’s daughter in 1898, and it is hoped that this will illuminate for them how different Victorian attitudes to children were from today.

The resources are designed to allow students to carry out source-based enquiries into the history of the town, interrogating the evidence and reaching their own conclusions.  You will find complete lessons in some sections, where packs contain full lesson plans, worksheets and all the sources that you need to set up the enquiry-based sessions in your own classroom.  Currently there are three of these:

  • World War II – The Home Front (KS2/3)
  • Victorian – Straw plaiting (KS2/3)
  • Victorian – The Tragic Case of Mr Bingham’s daughter (KS3)

These can be used as they are, or adapted to a different learning objective.  All of these contain a wealth of sources, so even if you do not have time to go into depth in this period of local history, it is worth looking through them to find a source or two that you might use to give a local perspective on national events.

There is also a section on "Harpenden’s Development over Time".  This is more ‘raw material’, including images of documents: the Anglo-Saxon charter which includes the first written reference to “Herpedene”, Victorian trade directories and the town development plan of 1951.  It also includes links to external sites where you can find other evidence relating to the development of Harpenden; historical ordnance survey maps, census reports, the Domesday entry for the parish of Wheathampstead.  There is a lot of material here, which should provide further opportunities for students to investigate the history of the town. 

Page link: The development of Harpenden over time
The development of Harpenden over time
From the Anglo-Saxon charter to the 1951 development plan
Page link: World War II
World War II
Teachers' resources, and downloadable documents
Category link: Victorian Harpenden
Victorian Harpenden
The lives of straw plaiters and a school-based mystery