Four Nottinghamshire teachers, Amanda Dawson, Lisa Chapman, John Gibson and Diane Logie, spent several weeks doing their homework in Nottinghamshire's archives and came up with an extensive resource package for teachers tackling local history. No matter which of the four key stages of the national curriculum you are teaching, there is material here for you. One word of warning: although some of the material could have universal application with very little adaptation (for example, the folder containing resources for studying toys and games), to make the most of your pound;25, you really ought to have Nottingham on your doorstep.
It was on mine once (and a very fine city it is) and I would certainly have found those maps of Nottingham a splendid resource. The A3 size reproductions of early maps of Speed (1610) and Staveley and Wood (1831) are quality articles and speak volumes about Nottingham's past. They will generate a great deal of interest and raise significant historical questions. Studying the Goose Fair could be a lot of fun too, judging from the archive material these teachers have selected. I liked the letter to the Nottingham Evening Post from a citizen complaining about the bad behaviour of young people at the fair; the lack of a police presence, and the "outsiders" whom he blamed for most of the trouble. As the letter was written 100 years ago, the possibilities for social and historical debate in the classroom are obvious.
Inside the boxed resource package are a series of cardboard folders, one for each of the main topics. The general pattern adopted is that of teacher's notes, followed by activity sheets and resource sheets (the evidence itself). There is also a rather otiose response sheet repeated in each folder on which are written three questions. What do you know for certain from this evidence? What reasonable guesses can you make about it? What would you like to know about it?
I liked this pack whose main value must surely lie in the evidence so carefully selected and beautifully reproduced. My one criticism is that the pudding has been over-egged a little. So much card, so many folders! I would have preferred much tighter, less intimidating packaging All the material is printed on loose sheets so you will need to keep a tight rein on these. As I write they are in danger of taking over my study - not the first time I have been lost in Nottingham.