Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by Wakefield Archives and The National Archives

This learning story tells the story of the Pakistani community in Wakefield.  It draws on records over one hundred years old to set the historical context for later migrations. Amongst the questions this resource asks: Why did they come to Wakefield? How did they settle here, and what was life like for the community in those early days?


Teachers Note: This resource includes the use of the word ‘coloured’ when referring to Black and Brown people in quotes and attached documents.  This word is discriminatory and offensive. It is used here in its historical context only, to help give an accurate portrayal of the political and social climate at the time. 


Curriculum Links

  • KS3 History: Social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society
  • KS3 History: The study of an aspect of theme in British history: A study of an aspect of social history, such as the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles. 
  • KS3 History: The development of the British Empire
  • KS3 PSHE: The similarities, differences and diversity among people of different race, culture, ability, disability, sex, gender identity, age and sexual orientation and the impact of stereotyping, prejudice, bigotry, bullying, and discrimination on individuals and communities
  • KS4 History: Britain: Migration
  • KS4 Citizenship:  Diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding
  • KS4 PSHE:  About the unacceptability of all forms of discrimination, and how to challenge it, prejudice and bigotry in the wider community including the workplace


Discussion Ideas

Teacher note: Many of these topics are sensitive and will need to be handled with care.  Some of the content and activity ideas are more suited to KS3, and others to KS4.

  • What words are used in the text and documents to describe migrants coming to England?
  • Do these words have positive or negative connotations do you think?
  • What words do we use today?
  • Why is our choice of words important when talking about people who we may perceive as different from ourselves?


  • Do you think it was fair that men from what was then British colonies, who had been asked to join the war effort, were then sent back home afterwards? 
    • Why / Why not?
  • Does it make a difference that they were working in dangerous jobs to help win the war for Britain?  Would you feel the same if they were doing other, non-dangerous jobs? 
    • Why / why not?
  • How far do you think that their unequal treatment as Lascar sailors (lower wages, more stringent working conditions) contributed to their wanting to ‘jump ship’ and seek other work in Britain?
  • To what extent do you think that having culturally recognisable things around helps someone to integrate into a new place  or community? 
  • Print out the Diamond 9 activity cards and use these as a small group discussion activity, leading to a larger, class discussion.  See detailed instructions on the download.
  • What can we do to help people who have moved to this country, for whatever reason, to feel more comfortable and welcome?
  • What are the similarities and differences between post WW1 migration to Britain, and post WW2 migration to Britain from British colonies such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?
    • What were the social, economic and political drivers in each case?
    • What difficulties did prospective migrants face in each case?


Activity Ideas

  • Download the activity pack featuring photographs of archive documents and questions designed to encourage pupils to find information and think about the people behind the paperwork.
  • Compare and contrast the photograph showing the area of Pakistan where many migrants originated from, with that of the aerial view of Albion Mill in Wakefield.  Use the downloadable activity sheet to list all the differences, thinking about all five senses.  Are there any similarities?
    • Use this as inspiration for writing a letter home as if you have just arrived in an urban environment in England, from a rural one in Pakistan, making sure to describe what you see, hear and smell, and how you feel in your new home.
  • Use the ordnance survey map of Wakefield from the 1930s as a starting point, and gather later maps of the town to compare and contrast. 
    • Which areas have grown?
    • Have some grown more than others? 
    • Create a list of economic, social and political reasons for the growth of the town. 
  • Download the primary source documents from Kirkcaldy Burgh Police.  How could this document be used to:
    •     Educate the public about the historical context behind the ‘1925 Coloured Seamen Order’
    •     Spread fake news?

In the download, note the significance of the networks that Kashmiri, Mohamad Zaman relied upon to allow him to find work and accommodation in Britain.