Mansion House, City of York, to develop education resources for school children

Posted on 7 November 2012

Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of York, located on St Helen's Square. My brief was to work with Richard Pollitt to develop an education program for school visits about the Chartists of York.

Richard organises the public access to the house, and the educational offers for school groups.

The struggle for the right to vote and the development of parliamentary democracy will be linked with citizens' political rights in the present. Looking at what methods activists used to make their voices heard and how that is linked to specific localities in York, I want to enable an understanding of why people fight for these causes and what is important for them. This helps establish a parallel with what is important to citizens today and what they find worth campaigning for.

The contacts and guidance provided helped me get an idea of how the school system works, what teachers are interested in and what engages students. In accordance with current recommendations for the school curriculum, I am trying to get volunteers involved in our project. We want to relate what we are doing to what students are learning in school so as to ensure our program is relevant to visiting school groups' experiences. I also want to encourage them to look at research materials at the local history archive in town (newspapers and council minutes) to enable an active rather than purely receptive role and give them a say in what they learn and what is important to them.

My historical research was driven by a concern for how it will be useful for school activities in the Mansion House and for a tour highlighting its political relevance. With this practical outcome always in mind, my research was more focused and I could come up with something which students really feel is relevant to them and their experiences.

Leonie Wieser

MA Public History
Public History Placement