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Real-life stories make history live

Digital resource uses individual experiences to paint picture of key periods, writes Chris Small

Digital resource uses individual experiences to paint picture of key periods, writes Chris Small

A digital history resource that uses real-life Edinburgh case studies is giving schoolchildren a fresh perspective on their city's past.

Whose Town? is a collaborative project co-funded with the Heritage Lottery Fund for children aged 8-13. It focuses on the 1850s-1950s, and will be used as part of Curriculum for Excellence levels 2 to 4, where pupils study key points in history including Victorian Britain and the home front during World War Two.

There are four historical strands: Victorian Edinburgh, the 1870s to the 1890s; Brave New World, Edinburgh at the turn of the 20th century (1900- 1914); Carrot Jam amp; Pudding Pie, the city during the Second World War (1939-1945); and Change in the Air, Edinburgh in the 1950s.

Drawing on photographs, documents, and recordings of interviews, Whose Town? uses the experiences of 14 individuals to help pupils gain a deeper understanding of the different eras.

The World War Two years are illustrated by four "lives in boxes". One of these is Nancy Comber (Pugh), 81, who was evacuated as a child during the war.

She says: "I enjoyed being part of this project - it's a brilliant idea and I'm sure the children will get a lot out of it. The fact that they are looking into the lives of real people - some of whom are still alive - should help to make it more interesting. It makes it like a kind of living history, which might be easier to relate to than just reading a book about someone's life."

The resource will be accessible for all Edinburgh schools via Glow and on CD. The concept may go national at a later date.

www.edinburgh.gov.ukwhosetown.

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