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Secondary Aged Children Online resources

Welcome to Durham University Library and Collections’ secondary online learning resources to support yours or your student's learning. 

These online resources use primary source analysis and historical enquiry skills to interpret original source material found in our archives and special collections.


Skills development and case studies

What is History: An Introduction

Designed to act as an introduction to the study of history at secondary school, this resource includes sections on timelines, bias and different types of source material.
Image of documents

Palaeography: An Introduction

An introduction to palaeography, the skills to read primary source archival documents, a useful skill to start practicing. Suitable for skill level age 16 and above.
Letter written in ink addressed to Else Headlum Morley, a campaigner for women’s suffrage.

Sir Francis Drake and the Circumnavigation of the Globe

Using 17th Century printed accounts, this online investigation asks students whether Drake's journey was one of plunder or discovery.
Archival documents

Early Attempts at Settlement in America: the Roanoke Experiment

Why did the early attempts at settlement in America fail? Were the settlers just unlucky or did they have a hand in their own fate?
Archival documents

Crime and Punishment in Durham

Using examples from Durham, this resource looks at the nature of crime, the purposes of punishment and the work of prison reformers.
Woodblock print of Durham Gaol

Population and Urbanisation: The Impact of the Industrial Revolution

This investigation focuses on the development of a small town in County Durham to demonstrate the impact of industrialisation in the 19th Century.
19th century advert for boots and shoes

Rites of Passage: Cremation and the Resurrection

Why did it take so long for cremation to become acceptable in the United kingdom? This resource explores the archival evidence for this.
Archival documents

What was it like to Fight in the First World War?

Since the 1960s the emphasis has been on the awful conditions, the casualty rates and on the cowardice of the generals. But what was it really like?

What was trench warfare?

Trench warfare has become synonymous with the First World War but what was it really like and why did it become so predominant?
Archival documents

What Impact did New Technology have on the First World War?

The First World War witnessed many technological developments such as the use of aircraft, developments in artillery techniques and changes in methods of communication.
photograph of soldiers in a trench

Downloadable Resources

Please download and use these resource packs to support your teaching,


The Normans in Durham

The Normans left an incredible architectural legacy in Durham. This guide details some of the amazing Norman features that can be found in Durham Castle. 

The Battle of Dunbar, the Skeletons in the Library and the English Civil War

In 2013, archaeologists found a mass grave underneath the site of Palace Green Library. This downloadable resource details the Scottish soldiers found buried, the battle they fought in and what happened next. 

The Story of Hanuman

Discover the story of the Hindu god Hanuman and find out what qualities he represents. 

Secondary School Videos and Podcasts

Explore highlights from the collections with our video and podcast series. These resources can complement your curriculum and give a unique insight into the collections at Durham University. Working with the Curatorial, Archives and Special Collections teams, the Learning and Engagement Team will be adding to these podcast and video series to keep the content up to date. 

Use these resources to encourage discussion and challenge perspectives. For more information, please do contact the team at 

Visit our video and podcasts page