The tragic case of Mr Bingham's daughter

An investigation into a tragedy at a Victorian school for KS3

A class outside the Harpenden Board School, early 1900s
Harpenden Local History Society's Archives

“The tragic case of Mr Bingham’s daughter” looks at the death of a student in Harpenden Board School, who is only named as “Mr Bingham’s daughter” in the school records.  Students consider what other sources they might use to find out more, scouring local papers for inquest reports and finding the girl’s name in the census.  The absence of documents is evidence that no real investigation into her death was carried out, and allows students to understand just how differently children’s lives were viewed by those in authority in Victorian times.  This is one resource that it would be wise not to use in other ways than intended in this lesson sequence; if students are already aware of these sources this investigation loses its power. Also, please note that due to the subject matter, this lesson is intended for KS3 students or older.

The ‘teachers resources’ file below contains teachers’ notes, a full lesson plan and a list of all the documents used in this lesson.   The subsequent pdf files contain images of all the original documents

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