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Archives, artefacts and actors

Twelve Year 7 gifted and talented history and English pupils from our school went to the London Metropolitan Archives in Farringdon for a tour and creative writing workshop with author Catherine Johnson.

The first part of the day was spent behind the scenes, with the boys learning about the preservation of archive material and the restoration of damaged stock. They were suitably impressed in the reprographics unit with its 500 million pixel cameras and state of the art scanners, and were full of questions throughout the tour.

The next part was spent looking at documents about Victorian theatre and this linked neatly with the creative writing workshop run by Catherine. The boys were given a number of artefacts, including a diary and a letter and were given 15 minutes to create a story. This was read out and feedback was provided .

The artefacts transported the boys back to the Victorian era (top hat, silk scarf, and so on) and they were able to be even more effective in their writing.

The response from the students was fantastic. They all thoroughly enjoyed the day, were stimulated by the different aspects of the visit and produced some very impressive stories.

They came away looking forward to follow-up sessions that we have arranged.

London Metropolitan Archive sessions are supported by the Schoolmate website: Dan Lyndon

Head of history and gifted and talented and aim higher co-ordinator, Henry Compton School, Fulham, London

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