As part of their History studies, the Year 3 children at Crossley Hall Primary School took part in an exciting project with local people. They were studying the civilian experience of World War Two – “the Home Front” – and interviewed people who remembered that time, in particular the “Dig for Victory” campaign and air-raid threat.
A Heritage Lottery grant helped to build a drama park and an Anderson shelter, so that in their preparation for the interviews they could role-play that period and empathise with those who actually lived through it. The grant also funded ipads so that the children could record the interviews and write them up later for this booklet and an exhibition (in school and local libraries). We were lucky to already have an archive of contemporary artefacts, including a teacher’s cane and a Spitfire gun camera, but the grant also enabled us to buy the fascinating collection of local man Frank Leonard. As with all this expenditure, these resources will be used by the children studying World War Two in the future.
The children also used the school allotment to “Dig for victory”, and looked at contemporary local and national film.
Residents in three local homes – Shuttleworth House, Crossley House and Rose Garland – kindly agreed to be interviewees, as did some of the members of Thornton Antiquarian Society. Both generations greatly enjoyed the interviews. It was fantastic to see the chemistry between the 8 year-olds and neighbours as old as 104! The children learned a lot from these “eye-witnesses”. History came alive for them, and they also learned other valuable skills, including communication and literacy skills. We are a local school at the heart of our community, and we are confident the links we have made during this project will endure. A sense of community was one of the positive aspects of the Second World War, and the self-sufficiency and sustainability of the “Dig for victory” campaign is highly relevant to modern life, too.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the interviewees and all those who have helped us in this project, in particular Terry Miller (Thornton Antiquarian Society) and Alex Dilger (Community Development Manager, Lower Grange). Manningham Concrete also kindly donated materials used in the building of the shelter.