Images to savour

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
BRITONS AT WAR. Key Stage 2 History Education Pack. National Museum of Photography, Film Television Pounds 16.50, plus Pounds 3 pp

Paul Noble finds a useful photo-pack to help you enliven your history lessons

It was while escaping briefly one weekend from the temptation of my mother-in-law's indecently delicious cake that I first discovered Bradford's National Museum of Photography, Film Television. I fell instantly in love with it and have remained besotted ever since. During frequent return visits it has never failed to fascinate, inform and entertain, and for my money, is one of the best museums in England. Bradford has done dreadful things to itself over the past 25 years, but the museum is sufficient reason alone to pay the place a visit.

So why not drop in and save yourself the postage on this worthwhile resource pack? If you are teaching key stage 2 history and the unit "Britain since 1930", you will find its 27 laminated A4 black and white reproductions of photographs and accompanying teaching booklet, which is as sharply focused as the photographs themselves, a real bargain.

So many packs of this sort overwhelm with background information and teaching ideas, whereas this one makes two or three suggestions for follow-up work; provides a few questions to assist interrogation of the evidence; and gives a short informative paragraph about the provenance of the photograph itself and the historical context in which it was taken. The museum has got the balance of facts, questions and ideas just about right.

All the pictures come from the now defunct Labour newspaper, the Daily Herald, which, after almost sinking without trace in the early 1960s, was re-launched as the Sun in 1964. There are rare images of German prisoners of war at work, plus a splendid 1951 shot of women parading outside the House of Commons with placards demanding "more meat", which strikes a strangely discordant note today. One of my favourites shows an enterprising group of children with a Guy outside Waterloo station. These self-styled "Bermondsey Buzbomber Kids" have their Guy billed as "Hitler's Peace Envoy" (the apostrophe is impressive). The kids look a sad lot; one of them is already wearing the spiv suit.

Fascinating and useful images all of them, I think it is time that I nipped up the M1 to savour more cake and celluloid.

Paul Noble is head of St Andrew's primary school, Blunsdon, Wiltshire

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