Send them to the Tower
We arrived at the Tower and met Andrew Langdon, an education coordinator, who gave us a talk about the general history of the Tower. He then led us on a guided tour around the Tower, during which we discussed the relevance and reliability of primary sources.
We started the day bright and early- 7am at Lincoln train station. Due to our excitement for the day ahead, the train journey seemed short and we soon arrived in London. After six tube stops, and no lost pupils, we arrived at the Tower and met Andrew Langdon, an education coordinator, who gave us a talk about the general history of the Tower. He then led us on a guided tour around the Tower, during which we discussed the relevance and reliability of primary sources. As history students this was helpful to us as we are often asked to scrutinised sources and discuss our own ideas. One source in particular described the death of Henry VI in Wakefield Tower, which we then compared to one which questioned whether the death did really occur in Wakefield, claiming that this statement was ludicrous. Performing this activity in Wakefield Tower allowed us to begin to understand how important primary sources can be to historians.
Once we had finished this talk, we completed a plenary which had us compiling our ideas on the Wars of the Roses and the Tower of London. Then we were given two hours in which we were able to visit other areas of the Tower for ourselves such as the Crown Jewels, the torture chamber and importantly the cafe.
Having finished the cafe food, we braved the deluge and began to make our own paths through the Tower. The torture chamber was the first port of call, where there were replicas of certain torture devices, such as the rack. Next we're the Crown Jewels, which required everyone to be placed onto a conveyor belt so everyone visiting would get a good view! The menagerie was incredibly interesting too, as it highlighted just how popular exotic animals were during this time.
By this point the weather had cleared up, but it was time to leave the Tower. Before we caught the train home, it was decided that we would visit the National Portrait Gallery, as there were some of the original paintings of the Tudor monarchy which were featured in our textbooks. Being able to see these paintings was incredibly surreal as they were very famous and very large, and most of us had only seen them much smaller printed in the textbooks. Alongside this exhibition, there was a trail of Grayson Perry's work as part of his 'Who are You?' collection.
During the day we had been set a challenge which asked us to take certain pictures with certain objects. These included something orange, a raven and a beefeater. The winner for this is yet to be chosen.
Overall the day was interesting and allowed the history students to view the Tower as a primary source, in a way which will be helpful to the summer exam.