The School of Engineering
Portsmouth children inspired to visit mighty ship
Tue, Jun 14, 2011
Nick Hook, 20, a second year Product and Design Innovation student at the University of Portsmouth, has produced an education pack about HMS Warrior, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this summer, aimed at the city’s primary school children.
He hopes it will excite the interest of Portsmouth youngsters in what was once the largest, fastest and most advanced battleship in the world. HMS Warrior was built to send a signal to the French that Britain ruled the waves, but because her design set new standards in shipbuilding worldwide, within ten years she was considered obsolete. She has been berthed at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard since 1987.
Nick said: “HMS Warrior gets forgotten about because she never fought a battle but she has some fascinating stories to tell. I want to target Portsmouth schools because local children don’t seem to visit her even though she’s right on their doorstep. If teachers are given some useful and relevant teaching materials that could help excite interest in HMS Warrior and bring her the glory she has missed out on.
“She was the first ship to be sent on a tour of Britain. She was sent as a recruitment exercise and over one million people visited her in the 13 ports she called at.
“Using historic maps of the city and three other historic ports visited by Warrior, the lessons reveal sweeping changes across Britain. In Portsmouth, for example, children will be able to see how the dockyard and city have changed dramatically in 150 years. Where Gunwharf now stands was once part of the dockyard with the slums clustered around it.
“In the maps of Sunderland, you can see how the Sunderland Football Club grounds now stand on what was farmland when HMS Warrior visited the port in 1863, which is a great example of the impact of Britain’s industrial revolution.
“I am hoping these sort of geographic and historic details will help inspire a renewed interest in the ship to mimic the interest she inspired on her tour of Britain when well over a million people thronged the ports she visited to have a look at Britain’s most fearsome weapon.”
Nick designed the project with £200 from the university’s research informed teaching fund, which promotes students' involvement in real life research activities and set about finding a way of retelling her story. He designed a series of downloadable interactive geography lessons based on her 1863 tour of Britain and an accompanying booklet for children.
He worked with HMS Warrior’s learning officer Ursula Pearce and this week presented his final project at the university to those who funded and tutored him.
Ursula said: “It was really good to work with Nick on this. To have the input of a younger person who has new ideas and ways of presenting them is invaluable.
“She is such an extraordinary ship and made every other warship obsolete the day she was launched. She wasn’t the first iron-clad ship or the first to use both steam and sail, but she was the first to combine these and other technological advances which presented the greatest advance in ship design for centuries.”
Nick’s lesson plans are designed to give teachers a week’s worth of Key Stage Two geography lessons. Nick’s tutor Lynsey Plockyn will send the city’s 46 junior schools copies of the plans on DVD and accompanying booklets for pupils this summer. She said: “This has been an invaluable project to be involved in. Nick learned that a research interest can be followed up to help you learn more about a subject other than your own. A university education should allow you to produce knowledge and help you communicate it.”