School Workshops


In Summer 2017, the Project engaged Year 6 children in carrying out reminiscence sessions with local elders to explore their memories and views about the area. In a ‘Word Cloud’ exercise, the children discovered that their favourite place was McDonalds but elders preferred the Church or the Shops – all agreed that the river and the woods were nice.

We returned to Mansbridge Primary School in Spring 2018 to deliver five lively and engaging sessions, inviting Year 5 children to explore the history of former Ford factory site as part of their ‘Local Land Uses’ topic.

Guest speakers ranged from people who had played out in Swaythling in the 1950s to the new land owner who is developing the site into a business park. Their stories helped the children build a picture of how the site has changed in response to historical developments such as the rail line, the invention of the Spitfire and the coming of the Second World War which prompted Sir Hugh Cunliffe-Owen to build an aircraft factory next to the Southampton airfield. This paved the way for Briggs and then Ford Motor Company to acquire the site and use it to weld motor bodies and then to assemble the iconic Ford Transit van.

Through exploring the site’s transformations, the children learned that land uses change as society changes. In each session they got to use their imaginations by putting themselves in the shoes of the people they were meeting – from writing a poem about playing out in the 1950s to recreating the Transit van assembly line. Finally, the children presented their own ideas about how they would develop the pocket of land opposite the Ford site based on their considered thoughts about what people might need. What an awesome bunch of custodians for the future!