Historians experience an insightful and thought-provoking trip to the Civil War Centre

Fourteen Upper Sixth History pupils ventured to Newark during the Autumn term in order to explore its richly packed National Civil War Centre.

As part of their A-level course, pupils learn all about the three English Civil Wars from 1642 to 1651 and the visit enabled them to have an interactive day which furthered their learning and understanding of the period.

The day was split into three elements: the exhibition, the handling of authentic artefacts and the recreation of Charles I’s trial.

The exhibition room was packed with an abundance of information and unique short movies on the period, all the way up to Charles II coming into power in 1660. It also highlighted Newark’s importance within the Civil War as a Royalist town under siege.

The centre includes replicas of weapons, costumes and even a birthing stool to create a clear picture of the way of life all those centuries ago. Pupil Henry Roberts found the torture replicas revealing as they “depicted the harsh and brutal tendencies of Civil War society”.

The tour guide then showed the pupils genuine weaponry, armour, coins and pamphlets which they were allowed to hold and have a try at guessing when it was created, for what side (royalist or parliamentary) it was used and what its purpose was by using their previous contextual knowledge as evidence.

Finally, the boys and girls were individually cast in roles, such as ‘Judge Bradshaw’ and ‘Angry Woman’, for the re-enactment of Charles I’s trial in January 1649, helping them to understand why the King’s people ended up executing him and letting them decide for themselves whether they would have done the same.

Pupil William Spendlove said of the trip: “It was a really insightful experience and visualising Charles’s trial has helped further my studies”.

Persephone Hotchkies added: “The centre provided a full thought-provoking day to rally up some further excitement about the debate over whose fault the Civil War was and whether or not Charles was the architect of his own downfall.

“The enthusiastic guide and range of activities helped me take away a lot from the visit and I would certainly recommend the Centre.”

Thank you to Persephone Hotchkies for providing a review of the trip.

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