Seebohm Rowntree – An Educational Visit in York

In this part of the website you will find a variety of resources which can be adapted for use either in class and / or as part of an educational visit for Key Stage 3 students to the City of York.  The sites used are the Castle Museum, Walmgate and the site of the city’s Marygate workhouse.

The learning objectives are to:

•  Describe what life was like for the poor people living in York at the turn of the century.

•  Explain what methods Rowntree used in his investigation and why they were significant.

•  Evaluate how Rowntree’s findings were different from common perceptions about the poor.

•  In addition, to progress the development of conceptual skills and historical processes: empathy, historical interpretation, change and continuity, using and interacting with sources and citizenship.

The context could be a study of ‘Changing Britain’ over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  It would be helpful if students had previously focused on studying content regarding the impact of the Industrial Revolution including; the growth of industry, changing living conditions and the role of the workhouse.

The resources:

Download a sample lesson plan suggesting how the visit could be structured and how the resources could be used.

A podcast which covers the context to Seebohm Rowntree’s survey and how it was carried out.

Listen & Download (.mp3)

It  also includes extracts about specific houses.  There is also a transcript of the podcast.

Two worksheets about Marygate workhouse (Microsoft Word .docx):

Worksheet 1: what does the workhouse tell us about what it was like to be living in poverty at the time?

Worksheet 2: Evaluate in what ways Rowntree’s original findings were different to the common views held towards people experiencing poverty?

A worksheet about Kirkgate in the Castle Museum.


These resources were created by York University PGCE trainees Claire Dowson, Iain Hinchley and Laura Horton in November 2012.