Suffragette Investigation Remote Learning Activity

Remote Activity, £60 per class, KS3 & KS4

A reporter has come to visit the 1900s Town to investigate a disturbance that has involved a Suffragette being arrested during an altercation. With this remote Suffragette Investigation learning activity, it’s the student’s job to figure out what happened and to decide the punishment the Suffragette should get. It starts with a coded message and is based on some real events which took place in Newcastle on the Haymarket around 1909.

 The reporter has found a coded message from a Suffragette, can the students lead the reporter around the Town Street to discover what has happened? In so doing the students will find documents (based on the actual period ephemera) which will illuminate the story of Suffrage between 1900 and the First World War. Students will discover that the law has been broken but should decide the appropriate punishment. Were the Suffragettes a terrorist organisation? Did their actions lead to women getting the vote?  Then the reporter will explain what actually happened as a result of the crime(s).

This Zoom-led activity brings the museum straight into the classroom. The clues will be sent to the teacher beforehand so the students can access these as they are revealed by the reporter. The reporter will be led by the students into different parts of the museum, such as the Co-op, garage and bank, to uncover the story. In so doing they will get a sense of the history of the period. They will need to crack the code and then decide what should happen next.

  • Target Age: Key Stage 3/4
  • Cost: £60
  • Duration: No longer than one hour
  • Group Size: Full class (has been delivered to more than one class at the same time)
  • Season: All year round

Objectives of the activity:

  • To understand the driving forces that made the Suffragettes break the law
  • To find out what happened in the North East and to discover the attitudes of the period
  • To understand the differing views expressed at the time
  • To collect enough information about what happened to be able to write an effective newspaper report

Outline of activity:

The reporter (in period costume) will start the session outside the bank on The 1900s Town street at the museum. They will explain that they have been called because someone in The Town witnessed a fracas taking place. The reporter will briefly show the students the street scene and show them some of the buildings. The presentation includes is a map of The Town available for the students as they try and work out what happened.

Then the inspector will travel to the scene of the meeting, revealing the coded message. The students will direct the reporter as to what to do once there. The clues will be collected, investigated and decisions made as to where to go next to find the information to discover what crime has taken place. All the printed resources will be investigated before moving on. Students should take notes about the resources and then decide between themselves where to go next, they will need to make predictions about what happened.

The reporter will then travel around the museum, following the instructions of the students. The reporter will not be able to go to The 1900s Pit Village or Rowley Railway Station because there will not be enough time to do this. Please note some parts of the Town have little or no Wi-Fi connection so it may not always be possible to visit buildings the students want to visit.

Please note, the students may make the wrong assumptions about the resources as they attempt to decipher what has happened but as more pieces of evidence are added they should quickly recognise their initial errors.

During the activity, the students will find evidence in the form of newspaper reports, written messages, letters, banners and other physical objects. These will be examined and explored during the delivery.

The students will learn:

  • The actions the Suffragettes took to further their cause
  • How the police reacted to the situation at the time
  • How the Suffragettes took action in the North East
  • What the real documents record and what can be learned from them
  • The pros and cons of breaking the law to further your cause

Please note that the teacher in the classroom will have an active role to play to support the students as the crime is revealed by the reporter.

Ideas for pre and post session:

  • Pre: Prior to the Remote Suffragette Investigation Learning Activity, students should be told a little about what they will be doing. It might be useful to have the students in the room when the connection is tested prior to the actual session.
  • Post: Possible follow-up activities could be:
    • Write a recount of the events in pictures or words, using all the resources available.
    • Create a drama around the events leading up to the crime.
    • Create their own newspaper report about the crime.
    • Determine fact from fiction

Guidelines for Teachers:

Preparing for the Zoom activity: It is strongly recommended that supervising staff should test the connection between the museum and classroom before the session. Contact Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, email  to make arrangements for this (details below).   The reporter only needs to be able to hear the children in order to make the activity work. Some classes have used the chat facility to instruct the reporter as to where to go and what to do.


  • Use of an effective microphone has been beneficial but not essential to the success of the Zoom activity, otherwise children can come up to the laptop to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what to do, or the chat facility can be used.
  • The resources can be printed out for the students beforehand and passed around as they are revealed. All resources will be made available. It is possible that some of the resources are not explored in depth during the session but these can be revisited post session. It is beneficial but not essential that the resources are offered to the students as the reporter reveals them, and not before.
  • The reporter knows the story and may give indications as to what the students could explore. It is useful (but not essential) that the teacher recognises these verbal and visual clues to support the students in their learning.
  • There may be localised school rules that the reporter may not be aware of regarding online activities for the students, it is important that these are discussed beforehand so everybody is clear about how the session will be delivered.

If you have any queries about the Remote Suffragette Investigation Learning Activity, please do not hesitate to contact us. Telephone Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, on 0191 370 4011 or email

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