Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by Oldham Local Studies and Archives


This resource aims to provoke discussion of the idea of memorialisation and its particular relevance to WW1.


** Try out the new WW1 Medals Interactive resource on My Learning. Pupils can explore the significance of medals, stories of medal recipients and design their own medals online and view them in 3D. **


Curriculum Links

  • KS3 Art and Design - Public Art
  • KS4 Art and Design - History of Art - Visual Arts
  • KS3 History - WW1 
  • KS4 History – WW1 – Britain at War – Britain & WW1

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the planning and presentation of WW1 memorial
  • Understanding of the symbolism inherent within memorials
  • Skills to compare and contrast different visual sources on WW1 

Discussion Ideas

  • How do you think we should remember the First World War?
  • Why did so many people attend the unveiling of the war memorial? 
  • Why might the memorial have been important to them?
  • What do you think of the design of the memorial? 
  • What does it tell us about how the sculptor wanted to present soldiers?
  • What do war memorials tell future generations?
  • What reasons do you think James Purdy had for creating his painting of the ceremony?   
  • Do you think everyone was happy about the memorial? 
  • Which groups of people may not have wanted the town to have it and why?



Activity Ideas

Research a WW1 soldier: Research what happened to one of the soldiers whose names are listed on the Oldham War Memorial. Use the list of names on the MLFHS website.
Use the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (see links below) and other online resources. Write up your conclusion as a fact-file. Try to find out:
- Their birth and death dates
- Where they were from
- What they did before the war
- The date when they joined up
- The regiment they fought in 
- What their role would have been
- The battles they fought in
- Were they injured?
- Did they receive any medals?
- What happened to them after the war?
Compare and contrast sources: Compare James Purdy's painting with the photographs of the Oldham memorial in the image gallery. Find five ways in which the scene in the painting differs from the photographs? How does the painter change the image to tell us certain things (eg. showing the crowd looking towards the Bishop and other important people)?
Research WW1 war memorials: Compare the design of the memorial to other town WW1 war memorials across Britain. Make three bullet points about each one, noting down what you think they tell us about the First World War?