How can we look inside Harpenden's past?

Photo:A straw plaiting school from Cassells Family Magazine, 1882

A straw plaiting school from Cassells Family Magazine, 1882

Luton Culture

A investigation focusing on straw plaiting for KS2/KS3

By Katharine Robertson

“How can we look inside Harpenden’s past?” is a sequence of two lessons for KS2 or KS3, in which students investigate Station Road in Victorian times and the domestic industry of straw plaiting which took place in some homes in the road.  Students start by looking at a photograph and map of modern Station Road, and then are gradually introduced to documents (a Victorian map, photograph and census report) that take them inside one of the houses there into a straw plaiting school.  They then look at contemporary sources on straw plaiting to consider how this occupation might have been viewed by the people who were engaged in it.

The 'teachers resources' file below contains teachers' notes, full lesson plans, the worksheet and a list of all the documents used in these lessons.   The subsequent pdf files contain images of all the original documents .


Teachers materials
Teachers materials (441k)
Background information, lesson plans and activities

Documents 1 & 2
Documents 1 & 2 (837k)
Straw Plait Mill and Straw Splitters

Documents 3 & 4 - Census 1851 and 1841
Documents 3 & 4 - Census 1851 and 1841 (4341k)
census data and transcripts

Documents 5 & 6
Documents 5 & 6 (113k)
Photographs of straw plaiters, and of carrying hats

Documents 7 to 14
Documents 7 to 14 (351k)
Illustrations and quotations

This page was added by Katharine Robertson on 22/04/2017.