Historic first for Wythenshawe school who help protect Northenden war memorial

CenotaphStudents at Manchester Health Academy in Northenden have become first in North of England to list a First World War Memorial

The year eight students at MHA in Wythenshawe have helped to list their local war memorial – the Northenden Cenotaph.

The pupils came across their local war memorial as part of work they were doing to find out  about the experiences of local soldiers who fought and died in the First World War. With help from Heritage Schools, they discovered that the memorial was not listed and decided to apply to Historic England, to ensure its protection in future years.

The students visited the memorial, took photographs and made detailed notes on its setting and design, as well researching its history. With the support of teacher, Steph Morris, they completed their application and sent it off to be assessed by the Historic England Listing Team.

And after an anxious wait, the students finally found out that their application had been successful on 10th May 2016.   Northenden War Memorial now features on the National Heritage List for England as a Grade II Listed Structure.

 

One of the students said: “I walk past the memorial almost every day but I never really gave it much thought. This project helped me to realise why monuments like that are so important – I’ve thought about the people listed on it and researched when it was built and why. It made me respect it more.”

Teacher Steph Morris said the work the children did added another dimension to their First World War work.   She said: “The children realised that the war wasn’t just something that happened a long time ago and had nothing to do with them, but that it had had an impact on ordinary local people. It made it more real and relevant to them.”

Historic England has pledged to protect 2,500 war memorials by 2018 to mark the centenary of the First World War. As part of this project, children taking part in Historic England’s Heritage Schools Programme are being invited to put their local war memorials forward for listing.

Manchester Health Academy is one of  200 schools around the country involved in this scheme which has been set up to encourage school children to develop an understanding of their local heritage and its significance. They are the first school group in the North of England to have helped to place a local war memorial on the National Heritage List for England.

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England said: “Recommending up to 2,500 more war memorials for listing over the next five years is a major task but one that Historic England is proud to undertake. These memorials, will gain a place on the National Heritage List for England to tell the story of this country’s sacrifices a century ago, and this will help ensure their future safety. It’s brilliant that schools are getting involved: all generations are taking a close interest in the centenary.”

Daisy Horsley, Local Heritage Education Manager, Historic England’s Heritage Schools Programme said:  “Listing their local war memorial has been a fantastic opportunity for the students, not only to find out about the history of the First World War, but also to realize what a significant event it was for their local area. Finding out about local soldiers made the war more real and more relevant.  It gave the students a real understanding of the sacrifices people made at the time and why it is important to learn about and remember the men through memorials like the one in Northenden. That is what Heritage Schools is all about.”

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