12th January 2001 at 00:00
THE BRITISH TIME SCALE: Half a million years illustrated. By G M James. Clinical Press pound;11.99 + pound;1.75 pamp;p. Gazelle, Falcon House, Queen Square, Lancaster LA1 1RN.

This is one of those unusual resources which, as a teacher, you think is lovely while not being sure how you will use it. The author is obviously a real enthusiast. He has a vision of what he thinks is important in British history and has done an extraordinary job in getting it all in. The book folds out into a timeline which could be displayed on a wall but can be read as a book. It even opens up in several directions. It would grace any classroom wall, and it would be well worth investing in a departmental copy.

That said, I feel that the author has tried to get too much in. The value of a resource such as this is that it gives a broad pcture. This means taking a deep breath and missing some things in order to achieve clarity. The pre-medieval sections are noticeably clearer and more informative than the later ones. The monarchs are rather breathlessly jammed in, while social developments make interesting and easier reading.

There are lots of tiny and beautiful illustrations of historic events and buildings to which I found myself drawn, but I could not help feeling that in half a million years of history we might have found an illustration of one humble dwelling to nestle among the cathedrals and palaces.

Small grumbles aside, this is a beautifully crafted resource which pupils will love to pore over and will undoubtedly revisit. I can see it being an inspiration for many DIY timelines for a range of periods.


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today