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Plague and war have their uses

We wanted to turn our history project on the Tudors and Stuarts into a local heritage project.

As one of the main events of the Stuart era was the Civil War, we invited a re-enactor to the school. He came in costume and allowed children to try on clothes of various army ranks and to handle weapons.

Another topic was the plague, and using old maps we found evidence of plague pits near the school.

I wanted to incorporate local heritage work on the plague and Civil War into a drama session, which proved difficult because of the gap between them of about 40 years, but by basing the work on two families we managed it.

The drama told of a poor royalist whose life was saved by a rich royalist in a skirmish in Birmingham in 1643. Years later, the poor man returned the favour by allowing his daughter to nurse the rich royalist's daughter when she was ill. What they didn't know was that she was suffering from the plague. Both daughters died.

Towards the end of the project, the children visited nearby Selly Manor, where they were given a guided tour and handled artefacts, which helped them consolidate their knowledge of Tudor life.

Visitors to the class during our history lessons commented on the responsiveness of the children and how much they enjoyed it.

Faiyza Anwar

Year 5 teacher, St George's CE Primary School, Birmingham

* The project has been put on a website:

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