This week we have a guest post about the Whose Town? Project from Clare Padgett, Library Services Officer at Edinburgh City Libraries and part of the Whose Town? team. We bumped into her at the Scottish Association of Family History Societies Conference and she kindly offered to let AddressingHistory blog readers know more about this new resource about Edinburgh’s past.
School pupils across Edinburgh are getting to grips with an award-winning new digital teaching resource which uses real life case studies to illustrate key periods of history.
Whose Town? is an award-winning and innovative resource for teaching Social Studies developed by Edinburgh City Libraries. The resource is aimed at pupils aged between 8 and 13 and is linked to the Curriculum for Excellence, second, third and fourth levels. It is available on Glow, the Scottish schools’ intranet and on free CD.
Whose Town? looks at Edinburgh’s past from the 1850s to the 1950s through the eyes of people who lived there. There are 14 lives to discover who lived in Victorian times, at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the Second World War and in the Fifties. Archival material is collected in a digital box and hidden in an attic for pupils to uncover and examine. Each life is captured at a particular point in history, creating a snapshot of their life: a Life in a Box.
Pupils can discover what life was like for Levi, a destitute and orphaned boy in late Victorian Edinburgh, or how nine year old Bessie became the youngest Suffragette. They will uncover Luca’s story as he established an ice cream business in Musselburgh, or learn from John what it was like to grow up in wartime Edinburgh. They can hear a first hand account from Hugh of working on Edinburgh’s trams in the Fifties or the early days of television from Bill.
Edinburgh City Libraries worked closely with the volunteer contributors. Many of the participants who appear as ‘lives’ within the resource generously gave their time, memories and personal archives for inclusion in Whose Town? Nancy Comber (Pugh), who was an evacuee during the Second World War said:
“I really enjoyed being part of this project – it’s a brilliant idea and I’m sure the children will get a lot out of it. The fact that they’re looking into the lives of real people – some of whom, like me, are still alive – should help to make it much more interesting. It makes it like a kind of living history, which is possibly easier to relate to than just reading a book about someone’s life.”
Whose Town? is a Heritage Lottery Funded project. It has been developed by Edinburgh City Libraries in collaboration with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries and Edinburgh City Archives, and has been supported by many partner organisations.