For Schools and Teachers

For Schools and Teachers


This section is designed to support teachers of history to bring research from the 'Beyond Banglatown' project directly into the classroom.

The below paragraphs provide guidance about how to use the materials on this website with history learners at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.

KEY STAGE 2 (primary)

The materials on this website are useful for a local history study. In the case of a primary school in East London, you could decide to make Brick Lane your local site. Particularly accessible are the map, the case studies, the street voices and the overview video. Key questions would be:

  • why did people come here?
  • how did they make Brick Lane their home and place of safety?
  • why is Brick Lane special to the Bangladeshi community?
  • how did the restaurant trade develop?
  • what is happening to Brick Lane now and why?

In the case of schools elsewhere, you could use some aspects of the site as a template. You and your students could map out the businesses along a street, make links between these businesses and migration, interview shop owners, film vox pops and investigate how the street has changed over time and what is happening to it now.

The materials would be useful for any work on post-war migration and ‘the Windrush generation’. The short interview clips humanise the story and can help students to think about how their urban environment is changing.

This website could therefore be a very useful resource for teachers who want to focus on a specific place to reflect wider themes.


Find below a brief outline of our introductory 'Meanwhile, elsewhere' activity and the three enquiry questions (with individual lessons) we've developed. All of these materials can be downloaded from the 'Lesson Plans' page in this section.

‘Meanwhile, elsewhere’ worksheet

This exercise about the murder of Altab Ali offers a snapshot of a key moment in the story of Bangladeshi Brick Lane. It is also a quick entry point to the website and the three enquiry questions, through a powerful narrative that should engage students in wanting to know more. Altab Ali’s murder was a turning point in the history of Bengali Brick Lane: the three enquiries explore the story leading up to, and away from, that moment.

The enquiries

We have suggested three distinct enquiries and expect that you will choose one of the three, depending on your preferred emphasis, or use the ideas and links here to design your own. Links embedded in the lesson plans lead directly to the relevant sections of the site. We suggest a range of possible outcomes: written, visualised, debated, designed, enacted …

Enquiry 1 (‘Who has called Brick Lane home?’) focuses on change and continuity, similarity and difference. It looks at Bangladeshi immigration in the context of earlier migrations to the area; why people came; how the Bangladeshi community settled and fought for the right to stay; and how gentrification is now affecting the community.

Enquiry 2 (‘Why has Brick Lane meant so much to British Bangladeshis?’) focuses on significance. It looks at the importance of Brick Lane to the community and how this identity is based on anti-racist struggles, campaigns for housing and the rise of the restaurant business. It also covers the rise and decline of the ‘Banglatown’ idea and considers what the future may hold.

Enquiry 3 (‘Why is Brick Lane changing?’) focuses on change and continuity as well as causation. It explores how the area has changed over history and then focuses on the changes happening now and the various interconnecting causes of these changes. It looks at how particular businesses on Brick Lane have changed over time, considers different views about gentrification and looks to possible futures.

For those schools following the National Curriculum for history, these enquiries would be appropriate either for a local study or for the period 1901 to the present, with particular relevance to two of the suggested examples: ‘Indian independence and end of Empire’ and ‘social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society’.


All four GCSE history courses on migration (OCR A, OCR B, AQA and Pearson Edexcel) include post-war migration to Britain and its impact. The Hodder AQA and OCR A textbooks refer specifically to the murder of Altab Ali and anti-racist action, while the OCR B textbook has a ‘closer look’ at Brick Lane. In the case of OCR A, Spitalfields is the required historic environment for those choosing migration, so this website – especially the ‘Globe’ section and the overview video – is highly recommended to be used alongside the OCR Spitalfields Teachers’ Guide.