Harry Yearnshire (Head of History, Lancaster Girls Grammar School)
Alongside four students from Lancaster Girls Grammar School (LGGS) students – Jasmine Patel, Emma Chandler, Emily Yates and Bella Tyler – that have been involved with the Lancaster Black History Group (LBHG) Slavery ‘Family Trees’ research project have benefited greatly from this experience in so many different ways, and we are grateful to Dr Sunita Abraham & Professor Imogen Tyler for the opportunity to be involved in such an interesting, important and inspiring project. Together we have learned huge amounts about the discipline of independent historical research and the challenges provided by this. We have also developed the depth of our understanding of how Lancaster and our local history was so intimately involved and entwined with the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the 18th and 19th Centuries, including the areas of Lancaster in and around our school, as well as the great significance that this often-disturbing past has on Lancaster and our wider world today.
Our group was involved with researching and learning about the role and links that the Lindow family has had to the slavery business. This insight into their connections, as well as those that other families and citizens of Lancaster had to the slave trade and transatlantic slavery has been incredibly eye opening. I think none of us involved in the project will look at the city and its history in quite the same way again following this experience.
From my own perspective, it has been inspiring to see young people and students take such a leading role in their own learning, conducting ground-breaking and important community-based research. As a teacher, I know I learn a lot from my students, and this has certainly been the case with LBHG. The creativity, commitment and work ethic of the students has been inspiring, and it has been a pleasure to witness how they have developed such mature and effective working relationships with others involved in the project.
From my perspective as a history teacher, it has been a fabulous opportunity for professional and personal development, to learn so many new things about the history of Lancaster and be able to directly apply and use this new understanding, and the learning resources produced, in my day-to-day practice. We have always taught an in-depth unit on the ‘Transatlantic Slave Trade’ as part of our Key Stage 3 History curriculum at LGGS and we have always included Lancaster’s role within in that past in our studies. However, following the project we have now radically changed the way we teach this unit to one totally focused on developing understanding of this globally important aspect of history from the local level up with the main focus being upon the key question: ‘Can we learn all we need to about the Transatlantic Slave Trade from the local history of Lancaster?’. The materials produced by the LBHG are now embedded in our teaching of this topic in the Year 8 curriculum. All of our Year 8 students have also recently benefitted from a walking tour, guided by their history teacher, of the recently re-developed Lancaster Slave Trade Trail. This trip will continue to form a part of our Year 8 History curriculum.
How to cite
Harry Yearnshire (2022) Lancaster Girls Grammar School and the Slavery Family Trees Community Research Project 2021-22, Lancaster Slavery Family Trees (Blog), available at https://lancasterblackhistorygroup.com/2022/12/12/lancaster-girls-grammar-school-and-the-slavery-family-trees-community-project/
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