Author Archives: aturnbull

London History Day

London History Day is celebrated on 31st May every year. The date marks the anniversary of the day Big Ben first started keeping time in 1859.

We were going to celebrate this day on 22nd May in school but as we can’t do that, here are some activities that you could do at home to mark the day. 

We are living through an important moment in London’s history right now with the Covid-19 pandemic. Your teachers might post some activities to help you explore how you could mark this, or there are two activities here you could take on.

Celebrate Londoners who have changed history

Londoners have changed the world for the better! Read about some of their amazing achievements here.

Your task: Choose an Iconic Londoner, then research their achievements, plan and make a costume from things you have at home and dress up as them OR think about what are YOU going to do to change the world – how could you share this with everyone?

Plan future adventures around London

There are lots of quirky stories about London’s past and famous landmarks. You can read some interesting stories about London here.

Your task: How many of these places have you visited? Why not plan a visit to the ones you haven’t visited for when lockdown is over? You could use Google Maps to plan a route and see how many you could visit in one day.

Help save a local landmark!

Big Ben is one of the most famous landmarks in London, but did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside? And did you know that Big Ben was made in Whitechapel?

Big Ben is currently being repaired but you can hear it chime for the last time here. Find out how bells like Big Ben are made.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry has been operating on the same premises since 1739 and is one of only two bell foundries in the whole of the UK! However, a hotel company wants to close down the bell foundry and create a luxury hotel there.

The foundry is a vital piece of London history, and many people want to stop the foundry from closing, you can found out more in this video.

Your task: Make a poster explaining why we should save Whitechapel bell foundry.

You can also sign a petition to stop it closing here.

And here are some other activities to do at home from the Museum of London:

VE Day celebrations 7th & 8th May 2020

What is VE day?
Friday 8th May is a special day because it marks the 75th anniversary of ‘VE day’, or ‘Victory in Europe day’ – the end of the second world war in Europe. We will be holding a special assembly via Zoom to mark the day.

The second world war (or WW2) lasted for 6 years (1939-45) and people in many countries around the world were affected. The German army, led by Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland in 1939 because he wanted to take some of their land. France and Britain declared war on Germany because they didn’t think what Germany was doing was right, then Italy joined with Germany. Gradually other countries in Europe and around the world became involved with either the Allies (France and Britain) or the Axis powers (Germany and Italy).

Life during the Second World War was very difficult. We mark special days like VE Day to remember the many millions of people who fought and died during World War II.

To find out more about VE Day you can watch this video, read this article or listen to this song from Horrible Histories. Year 6 learnt all about WW2 in Autumn term, so if you have brothers or sisters in Y6 ask them to tell you what they remember about it too!

There is a range of different tasks below if you would like to do some learning around this topic.

Being a Historian is like being a detective – you have to piece together the evidence from different sources to find out what happened. Have a go at one of these tasks carefully considering some historical sources.

Diary task
Listen to the experiences of some people who lived through the second world war. Imagine you are one of these people. Write a diary entry about VE day from their perspective. What happened? How did you feel? Make sure you choose powerful vocabulary and refer to the details they talk about.

Share your responses in the comments below or send them to your year group email address.

Photo detective
Look carefully at the photos below and answer these questions:
• What does this source definitely tell me?
• What can I infer from the source? What guesses can I make?
• What does the source not tell me?
• What else would I like to find out? What other questions do I need to ask?

Here are some VE day activities that link to other areas of the curriculum that you could do with your family:
Design Technology
VE day was celebrated with street parties all around the UK. Unfortunately we can’t organise a street party this year, but you can organise your own party at home.
Learn the popular 1940s dance the Lindyhop. You could film yourself performing it or create a tutorial for your family!
Learn some popular 1940s songs to sing along to and perform on VE day.
Join a sing-a-long of classic VE day songs at 11am Thursday 7th May 2020
• There are some other songs from the 1930s and 1940s here.
Think about the meaning and the tone the song should be sung with. Compare the music of the 1940s to modern music and identify similarities and differences between them.
Art and Design
Create a poster celebrating peace – can you find out the translation for the word ‘peace’ in different languages?

Mums, Dads and carers: If you want to go into more detail on the history learning to do with VE day, you can access a home learning pack for KS1 and KS2.