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Purford Green celebrates Harlow’s 70th birthday

Education: Primary / Mon 27th Mar 2017 at 03:44pm

Purford Green having birthday lunch at Passmores

Ready for birthday lunch

Mrs Kruyer talks to children about Harlow in the 1950s

John Graham shares his work with pupils

Birthday lunch

Birthday lunch at Passmores

Birthday lunch at Passmores 2

Birthday lunch at Passmores 1

DURING the last week, pupils at Purford Green Primary School have been building up to their big celebration of Harlow’s 70th Birthday.

The celebrations began with visitors from Harlow who have lived in the town since the early 1950s. The children have found out about Harlow’s past from people who witnessed it first hand and they have been enthralled by the stories told and pictures shared to show how Harlow has changed over the years.

Pauline Kruyer was only 7 years old when her family moved here from the East End of London. She recalled to the children what life was like in London straight after World War Two:

‘In the East End we all used to go out and play in the rubble from the bombed houses. I remember my mum always telling me to make sure I didn’t kick anything that was metal. I didn’t realise at the time she meant an unexploded bomb’.

The children were fascinated to hear how her descriptions of Harlow town centre without a swimming pool, picking blackberries on a field which is now Sainsbury’s car park and cars driving where the town centre is now.

‘I remember being amazed at the amount of sky you could see, with so many buildings in London we didn’t have that. My parents chose to move to Harlow because it was promoted as the place to live for a healthier family life.’

John Graham was involved in the first planning of the town hall and was responsible for the design of many of the original buildings. Aged 89 he is still as passionate about the town as he was when he arrived to work on this project in the 1950s.

With the information from their guests, local research and use of photos each class began their own mini project. From the reception lass learning traditional playground games and rhymes from the time, to Year 2 making homes from the past and predicting the houses of the future and Year 5 studying the many successes of Harlow residents past and present, every class set about exploring Harlow’s past in more detail.

Year 4 discussed how the town has changed and what they love about it today, writing persuasive texts to convey what makes Harlow unique and why visitors should come.

All the children’s hard work culminated to a celebration assembly where the whole school shared their work to teach each other about Harlow’s past.

Headteacher, Emma Bloomfield said:
‘We have been extremely fortunate that the children have been able to work with Mrs Kruyer and Mr Graham. To be able to use them both as primary sources of information really engaged the children, it made the past become real and gave them a real sense of what Harlow was like in the past. They could see the personal side of Harlow’s history and this helped the children to understand the events of the past. After their visits everyone had a greater motivation to explore Harlow’s history and then write and perform about it. The work the work the children have produced is been amazing, but more importantly, its fantastic to see our children understanding Harlow and its past.’

Celebrations finished with a Harlow 70th Birthday lunch for all 210 pupils at Purford Green’s partner school, Passmores Academy, followed by an afternoon tea with members of the local community so they could share Harlow’s past with Harlow’s citizens of the future.

The school said:
‘Our work within PCLC has allowed us to have resources and space to be able to hold a huge birthday party for Harlow which everyone enjoyed being part of. We always make sharing our work with the local community a high priority so being able to bring everyone in to school to see our work and share scones, cucumber sandwiches has finished off a wonderful project.’

Happy Birthday Harlow.

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