Victorian Thames: A Local History Study KS2

Pupils will develop an understanding of what the Thames is like today and gain knowledge of river geography. Pupils will study the history of the local area, develop their enquiry skills and learn how different sources can help build up a picture of the past. This programme provides an opportunity to observe the local environment and discover the local history of the river and how it links to a wider historical context.

Either: Session 1 – Chiswick

Hands-on activities, using the River of History floor game. Pupils will gain a chronological understanding of Thames settlement. Pupils will investigate the lives of different local Victorian families using a variety of historic sources such as census material and maps. Each group will present their findings and pose for a “Victorian family photo” using simple props and costumes.

Or: Session 1 – Museum of London Docklands

On the riverside pupils will explore the old London Docks. Fieldwork on the foreshore involves collecting and identifying artefacts as evidence of past river use, allowing pupils to gain an understanding and awareness of its importance in global trade. In the museum pupils will use historic sources, visit Sailor Town and discover, through hands-on activities, what life was like in the Victorian Docks.

Session 2 – All Sites

The riverside trail will provide pupils with an opportunity to explore and observe the local environment and carryout a local history study. Pupils will scour the riverside and streets for evidence of those who lived near and worked on the Thames.


Chiswick and Museum of London Docklands.


Full day programme – 4 hours plus half an hour for lunch. Half day’s available on request.

Learning Objective

Please send us your learning objectives in advance of your trip so we can tailor the programme to your requirements.

Please help us preserve London’s heritage by not taking artefacts from the foreshore

Please read our artefact policy