Upton pupils explore Beautiful Broadstairs

Beautiful Broadstairs topic for Upton pupils

The history, culture and heritage of their home town of Broadstairs has been put under the spotlight by children at Upton Junior School.

Children from Year 4 have been delving into what makes the seaside spot so popular with residents and visitors.

As part of their Beautiful Broadstairs topic the pupils began by investigating the physical geography – finding out how coastlines are formed, the diversity of coastal features, and then explored the Viking Bay area to see if any of those features could be identified.

Another part of their research led them to the Crampton Tower. They discovered the links between the Victorian engineer Thomas Crampton and the town.

A noted railway designer who developed the Crampton locomotive, he also formed Broadstairs Water Company and built the 80ft water tower, designed a tower for Holy Trinity Church, and created a hydraulic boring machine which was the inspiration decades later for the machine used to excavate the Channel Tunnel.

After looking around the museum and water tower, children returned to school and created a fact file about Crampton’s career and his design inventions.

Smugglers tales in Broadstairs are rife and the pupils found about the exploits of notorious smuggler Joss Snelling and the Callis Court Gang, and their methods of bringing illegal contraband into the country through a network of underground tunnels from the coast.

The Dickens House Museum that celebrates the life and works of novelist Charles Dickens who lived and wrote in the town was the next stop for the young adventurers. They found in-depth details about his links to the town he called ‘our English watering place’, how he once lived at Fort House (now known as Bleak House) and discovered the history of the popular Dickens Festival that is held every summer.

This visit really engaged the pupils as the Upton Year 6 production this summer is Oliver, based on the famous Dickens story of Oliver Twist.

They also enjoyed time exploring the Victoria Gardens bandstand and the town’s harbour.

Head of Year 4 Billie Danson said: “Our girls and boys were fascinated to peep into the past and discover so much about their town, its characters, its history, and the geology that shaped its coastline. It enabled them to creative some thought-provoking well-informed and interesting work.

“Finally, we took the train to Margate and visited Turner Contemporary. Turner is our local artist focus for the term so we visited the museum and then sketched just like Turner at the beach overlooking Margate Bay. When we came back to school, the children used watercolours to bring their paintings to life.”

When they completed their exploration of their home town and their project work, the Year 4 children agreed – beautiful Broadstairs is just brilliant.