Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource provided by Leeds Library and Information Service and Leeds Museums and Galleries.

This resource is designed to introduce you to some of the inventors and inventions originating in Leeds during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries - from cinematography to the rack and pinion railway.  Students can explore the work of designers and engineers who have influenced the development of products today and in the past.

It is worth noting that all the historical inventors featured in this resource are male, due to the cultural and societal norms of the time.  Students may need to be made aware of this. We are working with our curators and archivists to uncover previously untold stories of female inventors and will be adding this content where and when we can.


A Global View

Elsewhere during the Industrial Revolution (1750-1900), America declared independence from Britain and fought against the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). Another revolution occurred in France, resulting in the French monarchy being overthrown (1789-99), and the British Empire was climbing towards its peak. By Queen Victoria's death in 1901, Britain controlled over a fifth of the world's land surface, including Australia, Canada, India and large parts of Africa and Oceania.


Curriculum Links

  • KS3 Design and Technology: The design cycle; Product design - the role of the professional designer
  • KS3 History: Britain, 1745-1901 - Britain as the first industrial nation 


Learning Objectives

Knowledge of industrial heritage and individual inventors

Understanding of the role played by significant individuals in history

Skills to apply and discuss concepts such as patents, innovation and intellectual property 

Activity Ideas

There are several downloadable worksheets within this resource to test and extend students' learning:

  • Develop a marketing and advertising campaign for a new invention from one of the inventors within this resource. 
  • Create a storyboard for a short film about the life of one of the pioneers within this resource
  • Use this brief to write a news story about one of the inventions featured in this resource.
  • Develop plans for your own invention. Think about what the challenges facing life today. Perhaps it's something that you have thought might make your own day to day life easier or something to help humans, animals or plants to survive or something that can solve global problems. Think big or small. What might your solution be? Design your solution and make it out of modelling materials.

  • If you had a shop in Leeds what would you sell? Why? What would you need to do to make your shop successful? Write an advert or poster for your shop.