A North East ABC

Header image showing a group of 6 primary school pupils holding up their alphabet books

Inspired by a similar project in the North West of England (Heritage Schools does ‘A Manchester Alphabet’) nine classes of Year 5 children from five primary schools in Newcastle and Gateshead researched, wrote and illustrated their own class alphabet books all about their local heritage.

The project began with teachers attending a CPD day at the Philip Robinson Library where they saw items from Special Collections including Joseph Crawhall II’s Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC (1884) and material from the Seven Stories archive. They also received advice and support on creating their own Alphabet Book from Newcastle University Library Education Outreach Team, Historic England, Seven Stories, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and other heritage professionals. This launched a fabulous project in which the children researched their local heritage and created a page of their class alphabet book.

From Ant and Dec and the Angel of the North to Fenwick’s department store and the Victoria Tunnel, they uncovered some fantastic facts and did some beautiful illustrations, deepening their understanding of what makes the North East of England a unique and special place to live and helping their schools to become heritage schools along the way.

Celebration assemblies were held in each school, with each child receiving their very own copy of their class alphabet book.

If you’d like to get your class to create an alphabet book about their local heritage, you may find it useful to download this instruction sheet.

How to make your own alphabet book

For more information about the services offered by the University Library Education Outreach Team please visit our website: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/services/education-outreach/