History really came to life for students in Key Stage 3 this week when they visited the iconic M Shed in the heart of the Bristol docks to find out more about the darkest aspects of the city’s past.
As part of their history curriculum, the students have been investigating the slave trade and learning about where slaves came from, how they were treated and what they were used for. History teacher Suzanne Powell decided that for them to really gain a deep understanding of this most barbaric and complex trade, they would need to hold some actual evidence in their hands.
As you can see from the pictures, students were able to hold the chains used to shackle the slaves round the neck, arms and ankles. LSA Rob Judge said the students were also shown receipts issued for the sale of slaves.
Mr Judge said: ‘The museum brought lots of stuff out especially for us to see and touch. Museum staff also talked to us about how Bristol was involved in the slave trade and how the city was built from it. It was just like having a history lesson, but with real evidence all around us. We also learnt about the abolition of the slave trade and how the slaves’ freedom was fought for and won in the end, but not without a terrible cost’.
After the slavery lesson, the students were allowed to look around the M shed at all the other exhibits and were given an A-Z search sheet. The students were split into groups of four and had to find objects in the museum beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Some of the highlights included the old Bristol bus, some authentic very old clothing, and a dinosaur with the famous coloured houses of Totterdown and the Clifton Suspension Bridge on it.
Mr Judge said: ‘It was a really interesting and enjoyable day out for students and staff; our students’ behaviour was fantastic. Visiting the M Shed made all the work we have done this term in history more come alive’.