Over the past few weeks Year 1 children have been studying Wakefield and its history, looking at the city in Victorian times and comparing it to now.
We learnt about the Wakefield-born Louisa Fennell, who was a Victorian watercolour artist and created lots of beautiful paintings of Wakefield. Recently, a book was published by the Forgotten Women of Wakefield Campaign, which included all of Louisa’s paintings of Wakefield alongside a walking trail of the city which readers could follow themselves.
We invited historian Sarah Cobham into school, who was responsible for the book and runs the Forgotten Women of Wakefield Campaign. She gave us a tour around Wakefield looking at important historical sites, discussing all of the blue plaques located around the city.
She spoke to the children about how there areEm a lot more plaques for men than women, and that women are often forgotten in history books; so her mission as a historian is to try and teach more people about historical women, such as Louisa.
The children were especially excited when they saw the blue plaques located on our own school buildings which commemorate individuals who owned or lived in our school buildings on St. Johns Square, such as John Lee, Edith Grace Mackie, and Florence Beaumont. These individuals are important to our school history, hence Wakefield Girls’ Houses are named after Lee and Mackie, and one of the buildings is named after Beaumont.
During the trail the children sketched their own drawings of what Wakefield currently looks like, and then back in the classroom we compared the modern city planning and architecture, to what buildings stood in their place in Victorian times. Later on in the week the children then painted their own watercolour paintings of their favourite place in Wakefield, and we were flattered that some of the paintings were of our school!
Read here for more details on Louisa Fennell and the Walking Trail of Wakefield.
Mrs Martin, Mrs Mayes and Mrs Wale,
Year 1 teachers