I hated history at school with a passion. It ruined my day if I saw it on the timetable, and as soon as I arrived at the class a glazed look came over me. Of course now I quite like the subject and cannot think of anything better than sitting down with a C J Sansom book to immerse myself in the historical events of one of his novels.
There’s an interesting video on the BBC website looking at how and what was taught in history lessons. I have a vague recollection of spending many a lesson on the Romans and the Vikings and the odd lesson on British kings and queens…… yawn! It seems that the Romans still feature in our curriculum as I saw a bunch of school children dressed up in Roman outfits in Chester yesterday.
It made me realise that we haven’t got our history lessons quite right when I watched the Ian Hislop TV programme I blogged about here. Hislop was prepared to give £5 to anyone who could name the lady on the back of the money. He even went to Norwich to carry out the test, and very few received the gift. It was of course Elizabeth Fry who was the forerunner of prison reform in this country. Part of a very wealthy family of bankers and a strict Quaker. She transformed prisons and brought order and self worth to the inhabitants. Elizabeth Fry and people like her have had a huge influence on how we perceive social responsibility in this country. It’s sad that most children and adults don’t even know who she was.