Appeal to London teachers – Interested in using primary sources in the classroom?

Are you interested in using archives in the classroom but not sure where to start? 

Our plan to develop one of our collections as a teaching resource for Key Stages 3 and 4 could be the place to start.  We are working to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a well-structured education programme where we will link up with schools in the London area for whom we will create teaching resources across all the key stages.  If you think this sounds like something you would be interested in we would love to hear from you.

This project will focus on the National Union of Women Teachers Collection held at the IOE Archive.  The NUWT were a women’s teaching union, established in 1904 to fight for equal pay for women teachers.  The union was disbanded in 1961 when equal pay for women teachers was implemented.   It is a rich and fascinating collection of over 400 boxes of material, including correspondence, photographs, campaign material, educational reports and publications, minutes and press cuttings.  This covers a huge range of subjects from equal pay, equal educational opportunities and equal suffrage to peace and disarmament, evacuation and Air Raid Precautions, sex education in schools, juvenile delinquency and support for female Parliamentary and local election candidates.

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The images shown here give an example of the variety of material in the collection.  The post-war poster (UWT/D/268/1) urging people to save gas and electricity is one of many campaign posters, we also have campaign posters for the Equal Pay campaign, equal suffrage, and opposition to the non-intervention policy in the Spanish Civil War.  Many organisations sent their campaign leaflets to the NUWT including some surprising ones such as the British Union of Fascists as you can see from the letter (UWT/D/251/2).  Needless to say the NUWT did not support the BUF but it is interesting to have these different political viewpoints in the collection and this variety of sources could be very useful for teaching purposes.  The NUWT were involved in the campaign to give British women the right to determine their own nationality on marriage to someone who was not a UK citizen – British men already had this right (UWT/D/216/1).   This material could be very useful in discussing current debates on citizenship, immigration and equal rights.   We have photographs dating back to the early 1900s including examples of demonstrations against cuts in education and for equal suffrage (UWT/G/2/4 and G/2/31).   With funding from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme, the History of Education Society and the IOE’s own Friends of the Newsam Library and Archives, the entire collection is now catalogued and available for online searching.   If you would like to read more about the collection you can access the project blog at  – and search the online catalogue at

What will you get out of it? Well, we will provide opportunities for students and teachers to visit the archives to engage with original source material.  We will also provide teaching resources with digitised material for use in the classroom and have a dedicated digitisation room ready for use.

Using archives in education can help bring the past alive by creating an inspiring way for students to learn about and engage with the past and using a range of original source material in different media supports visual, audio and kinaesthetic learning.  The archive staff have experience of creating teaching resources and working with student teachers to help them create learning activities so we have an understanding of the types of material that could be of use in the classroom.

If you would be interested in finding out more or taking part in this project please contact us by Friday 9th November at:
arch.enquiries [at]

Or call us on 020 7612 6983 or 020 7911 5568.


Remembering London Lives

 Remembering London Lives: Going to School in London

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB
Friday 18 May 2012

To book call: 020 7332 3851 or email

[To see the full programme click on the image above right]

Come along to this joint event between London Metropolitan Archives and the Institute of Education and share your memories of school days in London.
There will be a chance to see film footage from the Inner London Education Authority, documents and photographs. There will also be time to share your thoughts and memories of your time at school or as a schoolteacher.

The NUWT and the Mayor of Holborn, 1942

The last few day’s cataloguing has consisted of files on NUWT annual conferences with each folder containing material on one annual conference.  A lot of this has been very similar – agendas, arrangements for accommodation, financial reports etc and al this is great as it means it’s quite quick to catalogue! however it’s also been nice to stumble across unexpected things such as the scrapbook I talked about a few days ago.

I’ve just come across another interesting find, a photograph from the 1942 conference held in London.  I would have assumed that during the war the NUWT stopped their annual conferences but it’s nice to see that they didn’t.  The conferences kept going although inevitably they were smaller due to travel and work difficulties. 

NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/374/3 ©Institute of Education Archive

This photograph shows Dora Appleby (the NUWT President) with Brigitte Pearson (the Vice-President) and the Mayor of Holborn.  Accompanying the photograph is a letter from the General Secretary of the NUWT, Muriel Pierotti, to the Mayor of London thanking him for the time he took to come to the conference and give a Civil Welcome.  She mentions that many members of the NUWT, for whom this is their first war-time visit to London, were shocked by the destruction caused by bombings and she ends by thanking him again for taking the time to help make the conference a success.  It’s also great to see the NUWT banner in the background as we don’t actually have any of these in the collection. What a nice way to finish a day’s work for me!

Archive connections everywhere

As with any other archive project I’ve worked on I find myself seeing connections everywhere I go – and none more so than with my current work on the National Union of Women Teachers Collection.  Obviously it’s easy to see connections everywhere as the collection relates to all aspects of women’s history, of society and equality.  However I had a particularly full day yesterday on a wander round London on a day off. 

The first connection was when we were walking down towards Tate Britain.  First off as we were walking down Whitehall I noticed a striking monument on the opposite side of the road.  A closer look revealed it to be the National Monument to the Women of World War II.  I loved the different sets of clothing and uniform that are shown on the monument which represent the variety of jobs and responsibilities which women took on during the war.  I hadn’t heard of the monument before so I had to wait till I got home to find out more.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I had to take this image from Wikipedia.

Monument to the Women of World War II, London

The monument was unveiled by the Queen in 2005.  The news article from the BBC at the time of the unveiling also gives us information on how the money for the sculpture was raised.  I love this – Baroness Betty Boothroyd raised £800,00 towards the cost of getting the sculpture built by appearing on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’!  The BBC article quotes Baroness Boothroyd “This monument is dedicated to all the women who served our country and the cause of freedom in uniform and on the home front… I hope that future generations who pass this way down Whitehall will ask themselves what sort of women were they and look at history for the answer.”  I certainly found the monument very moving as I’m sure most people do, given the number of people who had stopped to look at it, even on a wet Monday afternoon.  The NUWT collection is filled with stories of the multiple jobs undertaken by women during the war – told through the letters exchanged between NUWT members, from the press reports in the folders, from minutes from NUWT meetings and the correspondence with various women’s organisations.  The other side of it is also told though – how although the women did these jobs, they weren’t paid for them on the same rates as the men had been.  After the war although I am sure many women did return to the home not all of them did and the tensions created by this situation are reflected in the collection. 

Five minutes walk down the road we saw another statue, one which is very familiar to me from my cataloguing.  The statue to Emmeline Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens is an imposing statue situated in the corner of the park nearest the road.  When we walked in I recognised it instantly.  Again there were a number of people gathered round looking at the statue and it struck me as particularly appropriate that both these monuments were situated in the heart of political London. 

Members of the NUWT visiting the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, NUWT Collection ref UWT/G/2/39, ©Institute of Education Archive

I recently catalogued a folder ‘Suffragette Fellowship’ which contained correspondence organising protests against plans to move the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst to another location. The protests were unsuccessful and the statue was moved, but only to another location within Victoria Tower Gardens, where it now stands.

I would have enjoyed seeing these monuments anyway, and found them interesting, but the connection with the NUWT, and having catalgoued material which relates to them and their history, made it all the more powerful for me.