Friday, August 23

Vanessa's Been Searching....

...for WW1 links to Bermondsey.  Much of it has been redeveloped since World War 2, and it's recently changed from a very poor area  into one which is very affluent in parts.   Only in parts though. Away from the fancy coffee shops and gift boutiques of Bermondsey Street and places like it, the Bermondsey of council flats and working class communities is still very much in evidence.   This is what she says about some of the council flat railings that the kids pass by every day.


In South London, round the blocks of flats, there are lots of fences that like this. These are actually recycled WW1 stretchers which were used in mobile hospitals.

WW1 is harder to 'get into' than the familiar Churchill-Hitler story. It was longer ago and attitudes have changed- people back then were jingoistic and the whole concept of empire is uncomfortable for modern kids. But I recently ran a successful series of workshops about the iron age Britons and Romans (even longer ago!) for 7 and 8 year olds. We had a series of lively debates about whether the Roman occupation was a good or a bad thing. This was really inspiring as it proved to me that even quite young children can put themselves into the mindset of someone living long ago.

I'm really looking forward to opening up the Edwardian era to modern children and hopefully making it stick in their Moshi-Monster-filled heads. I can't wait to read the stories they come up with... if they are not absolutely historically accurate they will at least be funny and thought-provoking!


  1. This is going to be great--I'm quite intrigued and have already learned interesting things.

  2. I never would have guessed those were for mattresses! :)

  3. Wow - I never knew that about the stretchers. I am almost certain now that I have seen some just behind St George's Churchyard Gardens in Southwark.