About the project

‘Our Lads: The heroes of Heigham’’ is a whole school social history project that will tell the untold story of the young men from our local community who served in The Great War.

The Honour Roll at St Barnabas Church, in the old parish of North Heigham in Norwich, is a memorial of huge community significance.  Unfortunately, it does not have the profile it deserves and the stories of those listed remain untold. 'Our lads' will redress this by delivering outcomes of genuine importance to the local community and beyond.  Using the Honour Roll as the starting point, 150 children from Wensum Junior School will work with community historian Neil Storey to use authentic historical research methods to uncover the personal stories of every person listed on this important local memorial.  This website will document their work.

In order to deepen our children's contextual understanding of this hugely significant era, each year group has chosen a focus for further study in order to explore the changes to our community over the last 100 years.  Year 3 will look at what it was like to be a child in the early part of the 20th Century.  Year 4 will investigate how the local area has changed over the last 100 years.  Year 5 will look at how The Great War changed the role of women in society.  This work will ensure their historical investigation has a clear 'sense of place' putting their investigation into 'our lad's' within a richer historical context, deepening their understanding of what life was like in our local community in the lead up to WW1, the impact of war on the families of ‘our lads’ and the legacies we are left with in the community today.

Why is this project needed?

The heritage outcomes for the project will make a real difference to a wide range of different groups as the children reveal stories from the past that will resonate with those living in the community today.  Initially the project will ensure our children gain authentic historical working skills as they access, evaluate, process and present for themselves information from the past.  Their understanding of and interest in community and heritage will be richer as a result and they will come to see these community stories woven into a broader national and international narrative of huge historical significance.

The children will produce a free booklet that will ensure that the untold stories have the broadest possible reach within the local community, and the website will carry this forward to a wider audience, linking up with local, national and international projects, associations and organisations pursing the same heritage aims.  We will also provide a series of portable display panels that can be used to tell the story at venues around the county.  We will also be working with local artist Emma Skeet to produce a tapestry inspired by the research.  Created with materials donated from the Norwich branch of the Red Cross, the tapestry will be made using the same 'lap craft' techniques that were used in the rehabilitation of injured service personnel.

By engaging our children, their families and the local community in this important work, we will also help them see that engaging with heritage is deeply rewarding, interesting and fun, setting in motion a lifelong love of and engagement with history in all its forms.

Please visit the project blog to find out all about how the project evolved from its launch in May 2017 to its completion in spring 2018.

Click here to find out about the history of St Barnabas Church