Hidden Stories, Slavery and Barnsley

The Hidden Stories: The Project

You can see here the responses to the documents, images and stories made by the young people from Kexborough Primary and Darton High School. We hope that they give you inspiration when developing your own project or scheme of work.


The project Ė Student Diary Notes

Week 1 Ė At Foulstone City Learning Centre

Learnt about slaves and watched a film called Roots. During circle time we thought about what we saw and our feelings. We also did a collage for our front cover and played a game.


Week 2 Ė Cooper Gallery

Looking at documents about slaves and finding information from them. Then I wrote a letter to Benjamin Spencer about the conditions this is all to do with the triangle trade.


Week 3 Ė Cannon Hall

Today we looked around the museum. Wrote questions to ask the slave trader then we asked a man called Henry Kingshaw how he felt about his role in the slave trade. He came with appalling answers. Altered pictures on laptops and looked at the way the slaves lived.


Week 4 Ė Foulstone City Learning Centre

Used Crazy talk to make pictures talk, my group made William Wilberforce speak. Used the green screen to record ourselves and went on Photoshop to work on picture.


Week 5 Ė Darton High School

Finished our collaged Photoshop, included some writing about slavery. Played a game on peopleís appearance and showed our presentations.


A selection of the imaginary letters written by the young people:


Dear Family

Well Iím alive!!! As I saw the slave boat on the horizon my body filled with fear. I was confused and scared wondering if I would live or die. They virtually 'threw' us on to the boat. We were so cramped together there must have been at least 60 slaves on with me. I could barely move. I felt sick to the stomach. I was hurt with cuts all along my arm but also hurt inside.

When they let us off the boat I was slightly relieved but also starving. At least there was fresh air. After a few days I got homesick but most of all I felt angry at whoever had done this.



Dear Benjamin Spencer

You happily took me into your company although I was unwilling to join you. Whilst you live in a Ďpalaceí and eat finery I shrink under a damp and cold ship awaiting the news of our travels. I am uninformed of where my life will now continue. As the ship rocks uncontrollable side to side and the wind howls across the deck we wait longingly for our meal however small and pitiful it may be.

People are ill in our cramped hold and there is no use of hygiene anywhere. When we were taken the chains were clamped around our wrists and we were whipped to make us move, no one asked just hit us a smile on their uncaring faces.

The ocean is like an endless blue plain which looms unceasing before our quivering bodies. No one speaks to us although we wouldnít understand. Everyone in the hold is as scared with no outside communications.

Yours sincerely

One of your slaves


Dear Owner of the Cannon Hall ship,

Why do you keep us like this?

We are all suffering and you are the cause. All we want is to be free. We are all dying and keeping us chained up like this is not fair. How would you like it if you were like us?

Please let us free..


PS Please think about it.


Dear Family

I just want to let you know what Iím feeling. I mostly feel that my capturer has just ripped a piece of my heart out which is my family. I just feel like Iíll never see you again. Iím dreading what will happen next. I just hope I donít die and I get to see you before this happens.

I donít know where I am, I feel like Iím in the bottom of a ship, all I can hear is swords scraping, men chatting and laughing. It is so annoying.

I hate it, hereís what happened I was walking down the street and this man (sailor I think) just snatched me. He came from nowhere this cart pulled up straight away and the sailor got in, he drove off somewhere to a ship, I think it was called the Cannon Hall. He threw me down in the hold of the ship and left me with nothing. Thatís all I know for now. Please donít worry.

Miss you loads!


J xx


Dear Family

When I got captured I felt scared and angry. I didnít know where they were taking me when they put me on a big boat in a cramped space, rocking all over and crashing into the sides. I got a lot of cuts, bruises and splinters from the wood. I felt lost and sad. The women were allowed to walk around the boat but the men werenít. I donít think it was fair, how would they like it if they were captured and made work.




Dear Family

I am on a strange boat and I am missing you. I am feeling very scared and a bit ill; I donít know what is going to happen. I have been on this boat for days and I have only had a bit of hard bread and water.

I just wanted to see you and talk to you. I am so hungry and we canít have anything else until the morning. I am missing you.

Love from

K xxxxx


Dear Family

I have been captured by Benjamin Spencer and we are in the bottom of the Cannon Hall Ship. It is very crowded and there are girls, boys, men and women, we are all tied up, but the women are allowed to walk about because Benjamin is not scared of the women. We are all very unhealthy and a lot of us are dyeing and getting ill. We arrived in the Carribean and we were sold but a lot of us were in very poor shape after the dreadful journey. And people didnít want us.

Love from K xx


A selection of comments:

Before we did this project I thought slavery was about making people do the chores but now we have done the project I think slavery is about money making.

I think slavery is unfair and it ruins peopleís lives.

Well at the beginning I didnít realise that some people can be so cruel and take innocent people to be slaves.

I think slavery is non stop hard work for the slaves but the traders on the ship get paid which is mean and is bullying.

I never realised that slavery was about taking people from their country and selling them.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Barnsley Museums | 
This content is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA

Accessibility Statement | Terms of Use | Site Map

Copyright © My Learning 2018. All Rights Reserved

Website by: Grapple