History Gap

Explore your local area and think about how we remember and celebrate the past in place names


Who gets the place names? There is a history gap on our streets.

Take a walk:

While out walking in your local area, look for streets named after people. Are any of them named after famous people either in your local area or nationally?  Are there any buildings or estates named for people too?  You could also look out for statues of people – who are they of?

Is there a history gap?

Look up who these people were. Were they men or women? Where did they come from and what ethnicity were they?

Make a chart with the name of the road / building / statue down one side.  Put different characteristics along the top like ‘male’ ‘female’ ‘black’ ‘white’ ‘South East Asian’ etc.  Tick off on the chart everything you can find about the names you have found.

What sort of people get places named after them in the UK? Who has statues of them built? Whose history is being told in our place names and public spaces?

Does it matter?

Does who we celebrate with road names and statues influence how we see our past? Might it change our view of our shared history if we leave some people out? Are all the people whose names you found in your area worthy of celebration and respect?

Who would you like to see have streets named after them and why? You might want to checkout our New Black History Makers activity to help you find some good candidates.

Take it further

Firstly, write a letter to your local council or MP telling them what you think is important when naming new buildings and places locally – perhaps suggest some people you feel should have streets or buildings named after them in your area.

Secondly, draw a map renaming the streets with people who are important to you.  You could put this map up in your window, or share. it online using #DreamBigAtHome.

If you enjoyed exploring the history gap in your area, you might like to try doing a Bookshelf Audit back at home.

Anti Racist Education

This is one of our collection of actively anti racist activities for children and young people.

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