Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Resource created by Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, part of a suite of KS3/4 Industrial/Local History resources.

Curriculum Links

  • KS3 History - Britain 1745-1901 - Britain as the first industrial nation
  • KS4 History - Industrialisation, industrial and social change

The aim of this resource is to explore major social changes of the 18th and 19th Centuries through a study of local industry, and to enable students to see local history in the context of national changes.


Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the development of the woollen industry in Leeds
  • Understanding of industrial developments in the 18th-19th Centuries
  • Skills to undertake historical research and select different kinds of evidence to form an argument

Discussion Ideas

  • What kind of things do people protest about today?
  • How did people spread news, for instance of protests, in the past?
  • Why was it so difficult for the weavers when the machinery was introduced?
  • How do you think they felt about the machinery and the mill owners?
  • What sort of options did working class people have for employment during the early 19th Century?

Activity Ideas

  • Download the Learning pack for school site visits to Armley Mills or the full text of this resource (see Resources)
  • Pupils can pit their wits against 19th Century entrepreneur and factory owner, Benjamin Gott in the Be a Victorian Millionaire! interactive.
  • Creative responses to history: watch the You Tube video of the Chumbawumba song, 'Poverty Knocks' (see Supporting Links), then download the song sheet of 'Poverty Knocks' and use the sheets to explore the wording of the song with your class. Ask them to create their own 'Industrial Revolution' song or illustration.
  • Creative writing: Study the 1793 drawing of Benjamin Gott's first mill, Bean Ing, and imagine how impressive the building must have been at that time. How might mill workers and mill owners have described the building? Imagine you are a worker showing a new employee around. What would you pick out to impress them
  • Selecting and presenting historical evidence:
    - Divide students into small groups of either mill owners, who want to convince their workers that their new machinery is a good thing, or workers, who think the new machinery will lower wages or even put them out of a job.
    - Each group needs to gather a variety of evidence to argue their case, from historical sources (oral history, images, archives) to modern, secondary sources (historians' views of the period, modern factory technology, modern workers' rights). They can conduct additional research using related My Learning resources and other websites (see Supporting Links).
    - The groups then select their five most convincing points to present to the class. Once they have given their presentation, each point is written on the whiteboard. They then have the chance to respond and refute each other's arguments and find a 'winning' group whose arguments are the most convincing.
  • Mapping history: Using the Baines Map of 1834 and the 1875 Bird’s Eye view of the Town of Leeds, as well as modern maps of Leeds, make comparisons between the skyline of the city during the Industrial Revolution and the city as it is today.

You can find out more about the effects of the Industrial Revolution, the textile industry and the history of this period in a range of other My Learning resources - see Supporting Links.