Resource created by Heritage Quay
- KS1 Local History Study: Significant historical events, people and places
Victor Grayson was a socialist politician and great orator who was the MP for Colne Valley from 1907-1910, standing for the Independent Labour Party. His fiery nature, rousing speeches and mysterious disappearance provide an ideal introduction to politics for children.
- KS2 History: An aspect or theme in British history which extends pupils’ knowledge beyond 1066
The growth of socialism reflected in the life and work of Robert Blatchford would provide a useful addition to the non statuory examples in the curriculum, i.e. the changing power of monarchs (Victoria) or a significant turning point in British history (the industrial revolution).
- KS3 History: Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain 1745 – 1901
The overarching influence of the labour movement on Britain’s political landscape is revealed through local Labour Party archives, as well of those of local politicans from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Victor Grayson’s story is an engaging one and ideal for introducing KS1 children to politics and their local history. They could:
- Re-enact Victor’s life story and imagine alternative endings
- Consider working with a local theatre group to help the children dramatise his life
- Create a handling box with props which could be used in a retelling of Victor’s life and use them as creative writing prompts
- Imagine what happened to Victor’s daughter and how she felt about her father’s disappearance
The three characters featured in the film offer pupils very contrasting political profiles. Pupils could:
- Compare the Clarion publications, e.g. Socialism for Shop Assistants pamphlet with political campaign literature of the 21st century
- Compare Victor’s campaign promises and beliefs with those of local politicians in their own area.
- Hold a mock election – which four rights would they embrace?
- Invite the local M.P. or councilor into school and interview them.
- Create a timeline of Colne Valley MPs since 1910. How many were Labour?
- Find out what other members of J.H. Whitley’s family achieved
- Visit Heritage Quay and view the politics collection.
Victor Grayson was ahead of his time in promoting sexual equality. Students could:
- Create a timeline of key events in the journey towards women having the vote.
- Compare some of Victor’s speeches with politicians of today. Why was it important that Victor was a good speaker? Is the power of oratory still effective today? Do they find his speeches rousing?
- Hold a campaign and lection to decide which of the 3 men had the greatest impact – Blatchford, Grayson or Whitley.
Other resources related to this subject area or locality on My Learning include: