Over the past couple of weeks, it has been wonderful to welcome all 135 Lower Fourth King’s pupils (and their History teachers) into the King’s Archives during their usual History lessons.
Up in Edgar Tower, pupils have had the chance to view an exhibition showcasing a selection of material held in the school archive. Amongst material on display were some of the earliest whole school photographs, and Hostel House photographs from its establishment in 1903. Pupils were also shown an array of items pertaining to the school’s wartime evacuation to the Welsh town of Criccieth in 1939-1940, as well as one boarder’s letters home to his parents that provide wonderful insights into King’s School life during the Second World War. The archive holds detailed information on all former King’s pupils and staff who were killed during the First World War – photographs and lists of these WWI casualties were also on display for pupils to view.
The exhibition allowed pupils to learn about how King’s has changed over time, as well as understand ways in which the school has remained unchanged. Lower Fourth pupils completed a quiz in pairs, based on the items on display; and at the end of the lesson, each class came back together as a group to share their answers and compare notes.
These King’s Archives visits allowed pupils to examine original, unique historical documents, providing an insight into how professional historians work. During the visits, pupils learnt about what archival records can tell us about the past. Pupils were also exposed to the limitations of archival records and things that they do not tell us: the gaps in the records and what information must be inferred from elsewhere, including pupils’ knowledge.