John Blake

History so real you can touch it

At a time when heads are struggling to balance the books, school trips are being axed. But every pupil, no matter their background, deserves the chance to visit a site where they can feel the history beneath their feet, writes John Blake

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I have a story that answers two questions: why I love history, and why I love educational visits for students.

In the story, I am five years old. I am wearing the muddy green jumper that was my first primary school’s uniform, and the colour matches (at least in my mind) the polo shirts of staff there that day. The place is Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex.

I have been there just once in my life, but my memory of that day is so vivid that I am certain I could return now, more than 30 years later, and find the precise spot where I dropped the pencil. To explain, Fishbourne is the largest ...

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