Happening History

Telephone: 07795 312420


Happening History provide displays on medieval life and life on the British Home Front during WW2.  Formerly trading as Discovering Medieval we are now expanding in to other periods and so the name 'Happening History' was chosen.  Here is what some of our clients have said about us over the last 8 years:

"Happening History have made numerous visits to King’s Preparatory School in Rochester. They provide a stimulating insight into life in the Middle Ages, focussing on aspects of domestic and military life. Their activities are very inter-active and allow the children to get an authentic flavour of daily activities in this era. Wel and Karen share a passion for their subject and an extensive knowledge of the period. These qualities underpin their sessions, ensuring that all pupils benefit hugely from the experience, which is a wonderful complement to their classroom studies” - Head of History, Kings School

'Highly recommended for their professionalism, knowledge, enthusiasm and amazing array of equipment.' -
Ian Dawson, former Director of the SHP, writer, lecturer, consultant and much more!

Happening History currently provide displays on medieval life and the 1940s Home Front for children from ages 4 to 18.  We hope to extend the range of periods and displays in the future with WW1 being our next aim. We like to research our subjects thoroughly which is why we concentrate on a few periods and do them well.  We also like to make all of our displays as fun and interactive for our audiences as possible.

Our various workshops are for students aged from 5 to 18 and we have experience of teaching children of all ages and abilities:

KS1 Castles workshop
We bring a wealth of knowledge, experience & historical props combined with an engaging storyline which really helps bring the subject to life. The children learn kinaesthetically, by stepping into the past and undertaking hands on activities such as donning medieval costumes, learning about knights by trying on armour and holding a blunt sword, learn about food by making flour on the quern & butter in the churns. They can make a medicine from herbs, learn how a doctor would have diagnosed what was wrong with his patients by examining wee or how our live leeches were used in medicine. Every student will be involved in every activity.

KS3 Medieval Life
Happening History provide highly interactive, fun, educational workshops on medieval life.  This workshop has a story line and a competitive element to it which makes for a fun experience for the students and a great platform for learning about the past.  The display is very hands on.  Students can learn about clothing, marriage, religion, food, the guilds, the black death (time permitting), arms & armour and surgery. All students are involved in various ways throughout the workshop whether it’s making their masterpiece to join the guild, trying on armour or medieval clothes, holding a sword or meeting live blood sucking leeches!  Usually run for years 6 & 7.

We can provide teacher led activities for other pupils to engage in as we run our medieval workshops such as medieval board games, a medieval archaeology game, examine & design Becket pilgrim badges etc. Educational posters portraying historical characters such as a guild master, knight, surgeon etc are available to download from our website. All at no extra cost.

Crime & life on the home front during WW2. (Year 9 upwards)
We bring a wealth of knowledge, experience & historical paraphernalia combined with an engaging storyline which really helps bring the subject to life. The students can all step into the past by donning costumes, such as an ARP warden, Housewife or Home Guard. Students are put on trial for some WW2 crimes. Many things were considered a crime in wartime which would not normally be, such as throwing away a bus ticket (wasting paper) or smoking in the blackout. Students have to pick out the real wartime crimes from the red herrings.  This is a great way to introduce lots of wartime subjects such as rationing, make do and mend, ARP, Home guard, salvage, etc. Students can also turn detective and catch the spiv. There are many original WW2 artefacts and display items to examine such as a Lewis gun (used by Home guard), mills bombs, gas masks (cleaned & certified safe), replica rations, incendiary bomb etc. A Morrison shelter can also be brought along at an additional cost.

GCSE Crime & punishment through time
What better way to learn about how people were tried and punished in medieval times than by undergoing the trials and punishments yourself!  We look at the various trials by ordeal, and some of the punishments such as branding.  We also look at crimes which are no longer crimes such as heresy and scolding your husband and the rather bizarre animal trials.

Originally this workshop just included medieval crime but we also have an eighteenth century crime display which can be adapted for schools covering topics such as transportation, the bloody code, resurrectionists, highwaymen etc and a WW2 crime workshop which focuses on the new crimes which were created during the war.  For small groups it may be able to run a crime day based on all 3 periods.

GCSE Medieval medicine
This workshop focuses on the 4 humours and their importance.  The humours are taught in a fun, ‘humorous’ and  memorable way using some modern props.   Students actually become the humours themselves.
We also look at the difference between doctor & physician with a debate between the great Dr William Hobbes and Matilda the wise woman.  We then focus on various surgical and medical items such as amputation, arrow extraction, trepanning, tooth pulling, urine analysis and of course the live leeches!

A Level Armour weapons & surgery of the War of the Roses

A display focussing on armour, weapons and surgery of the late 15th century of the type which would have been used during the War of the Roses. Aimed at students studying the War of the Roses or Henry VII in more detail.


Costs are based on your schools location & number of students attending the workshops. Please contact us for a competitively priced experience your students will never forget.

Happening History are husband & wife team, Wel & Karen Hamilton-Viall. We have been providing school workshops since 2005 as our full time occupation. History is our passion! We have £5 million public liability insurance and enhanced CRBs can be provided on request.

Additional Information

Telephone: 07795 312420
The area/s in which this provider is available are:East, East Midlands, Greater London, Home Counties

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