Members of the Year 9 Athenaeum enjoyed hearing about the historical and economic geography of West Yorkshire in preparation for their upcoming visit. Mr Beattie, the School Archivist and Geography teacher, presented an introduction to the places the students will be visiting, placing them in their historical context; the Youth Hostel they will stay in at Haworth is a former Mill owner’s house, highlighting the importance of the West Yorkshire woollen industry in Victorian times, while the Five Rise Locks at Bingley demonstrated both a high degree of engineering skill and the importance of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
The students gained a sense of the changing fortunes of the county from the rise and fall of the textile industry and coal mining to the resurgence of Leeds as a financial and tourist centre. This mixture of the old and the new was also evident in the discussion about the Utopian Village of Saltaire, where the old mill buildings now house one of the largest collections of David Hockney’s work.
Mr Beattie also covered some “Political Geography” as, in the context of the forthcoming General Election, he spoke about the “Red Wall” of Labour seats in the North, many of which fell to the Conservatives in 2019.
The session equipped the students with a meaningful sense of context ahead of their visit.