Resources for teachers

Hackney Museum and Hackney Archives (Hackney Heritage) work closely with local teachers to develop learning resources exploring local history and migration. In some cases, the activities are primarily targeted at KS2 pupils, but the resources can be adapted for other learners in a range of formal and informal settings.

On this page:


Local area guides

What was the area around your school like in the past? How has it changed? Explore the treasures on your doorstep with these resources which contain facts, photographs, maps and other archive materials relating to specific areas within Hackney:

Strike a pose

Explore the many faces of Hackney captured by Gibson’s photography studio, from the 1950s onwards, in Clapton. Full colour portraits are supported by suggested activities:

African and Caribbean history and heritage in Hackney

These resources are based on various temporary exhibitions that have been on display at Hackney Museum.

Timeline - African and Caribbean history and heritage in Hackney

This timeline provides an overview of Black British history, and includes people and events specifically linked to Hackney:

Film: Being African in Hackney 1960s-2020s (with poet Theresa Lola)

This film was designed and delivered by poet Theresa Lola, in collaboration with Hackney Museum staff. It was inspired by Hackney Museum’s 2020 temporary exhibition ‘Being African in Hackney 1960s – 2020s’.

It is available on Youtube.

The film is also accompanied by a document pack for the pupils to use as they watch the film.

Film: A Journey through Hackney’s African and Caribbean History (with spoken word by Bad Lay-Dee)

This resource is a short film, presented by spoken word artist Bad Lay-Dee. It gives a broad overview of African and Caribbean history in the local area, from 400 years ago up to and including the amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

The film is free to view on YouTube and Vimeo.

Suggested activities and discussion points are included throughout.

We also recommend that you download the accompanying teacher’s notes.

African and Caribbean heritage in Hackney for KS1

This resource brings together the themes of our past exhibitions, alongside suggested activities, to provide a broad overview, and celebration of, African and Caribbean heritage in Hackney for KS1 pupils.

African and Caribbean hair and fashion

Inspired by the narratives and themes in Hackney Museum’s temporary exhibition ‘Hackney’s Got Style’, this resource combines research, images and personal stories from the exhibition, alongside suggestions for class-based activities.

African and Caribbean music in Hackney

Inspired by the themes in Hackney Museum’s temporary exhibition Roots, Rhythms and Records, this resource combines research from the exhibition with suggestions for possible related activities, based on Hackney-specific stories relating to African and Caribbean Music in Hackney.

African fabrics

Explore the relationships between textiles, Africa and Hackney, in the past and present. The pack includes: classroom lesson plans, resources, long-term projects and additional information for teachers. Visit the exhibition and share your Hackney style.

Black British writing and art in Hackney

Discover the importance of Black British arts and activism in Hackney, with information about renowned local writers, poets, artists and creative spaces. This pack is designed to inspire and complement schemes of work, across many subjects, for KS2 classes.

Hackney Carnival

Celebrate Carnival in Hackney with these flashcards and information about its history:

Enslavement and abolition

This pack helps your class explore the role of Britain in the transatlantic slave trade through the stories of African and British people who campaigned for its abolition:

Island to island (photographs showing life in the Caribbean)

With the kind permission of photographer Tim Smith, this resource contains modern day images of everyday life in the Caribbean, reproduced for educational purposes. Please ensure the photographer’s watermark remains.

Legacies of British slave ownership in Hackney

A collection of films, PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans and teachers’ notes designed to help you explore Hackney’s historical links to transatlantic slavery with KS3 and KS4 learners. It tells the stories of people who were involved in the business of slavery in Hackney as well as those, both in the Caribbean and the UK, who fought to end African enslavement.

Our African Roots

This pack includes conversations with a number of people of African descent who live in Hackney and suggested activities inspired by them. 


Sankofa is an Adinkra symbol meaning ‘the wisdom of learning from the past to build the future’. Explore the truth behind Black History Month through people, protest and poetry:

Windrush and beyond

This resource supports teaching about post-war migration from the Caribbean to Britain, exploring life in the Caribbean, the journey from the Caribbean to Britain and settling in Hackney, using cross-curricular activities including examining historical images, considering first-hand accounts, analysing poetry inspired by the journey and creative writing.

Part 1 – Life in the Caribbean

Part 2 – The Journey

Part 3 – Life in Britain

Other resources produced by Hackney Heritage

Hackney in the 1980s

This resource, designed for teachers and community group leaders, covers various topics including: life in Hackney in the 1980s, local photography, community organising, campaigns and protests.

Inspired by Hackney in the 1980s, a temporary exhibition at Hackney Museum (launched in October 2020) in collaboration with the Rio Cinema Archive.

Refugee Week 2020

Inspired by Hackney Museum’s collections, this lesson plan encourages pupils to learn the real stories of people who have left their home and moved to Hackney for safety. It encourages pupils to consider the part they can play in welcoming people to Hackney.

Windrush Day 2020

Inspired by Hackney Museum’s collections, this resource encourages pupils to use their enquiry skills to explore items from the collection with reference to Windrush.

Pupils will consider what the collections can tell us about the experiences of the Windrush Generation, and will consider the importance of celebrating Windrush Day.

Hackney Archives learning bundles

Material from Hackney Archives can make an excellent addition to your lesson plans, giving a local angle on national or international topics.

To give you an idea of some of the interesting and important items in Hackney Archives’ collection, we’ve created some bundles of materials from the collection for teachers in Hackney to use, on the following themes:

  • Racism and Anti-Racism in Hackney
  • World War II in Hackney
  • Education in Hackney
  • The Hackney People’s Press & Community Journalism

Each bundle contains a selection of relevant material (such as newspaper articles, photographs, diaries, petitions and leaflets) relating to the topic for you to use in the classroom as you wish.

Due to copyright restrictions, we’re not able to upload these resources to our website. If you would like to access them, please complete this form: 

Learning bundles access request

A member of our team will review your request and send the resources to you.

Find out more about visiting Hackney Archives to view the collection for yourself, or to browse the collection online.

Using Hackney Archives for a local history project

We have created this how-to guide to using Hackney Archives’ collections database online. The database provides information about collections held at Hackney Archives, its image collection and the local history library.

Other recommended resources

The History of the Orthodox Jewish Community of Stamford Hill

This learning resource has been produced by Teen Action, an Orthodox Jewish organisation in Stamford Hill that provides training and leisure activities for young women. Between 2016 and 2018, these young women interviewed local residents about life in Stamford Hill and how different people have helped create the community as we know it today. Those interviews form the basis of this learning resource:

Child Migrant Stories

These learning resources, created in collaboration with Hackney Museum, relate to short films made by Child Migrant Stories, based on their interviews with people who moved to East London as children, from all over the world and for lots of different reasons. Lesson plans and activities cater for ESOL students, as well as KS2-4:

A Hackney Autobiography

A Hackney Autobiography

Made as part of a reminiscence project by On the Record, these resources are based on the unique cultural institution Centerprise, a community bookshop and cultural hub based in Hackney from 1971 to 2012. The resources for Key Stage 2 and 3 aim to encourage children to see themselves as writers and explorers with a unique perspective on the places they live. There are also ESOL teachers’ resources inspired by work created at Centerprise: