Studying Waterloo - Dan New, Year 12

Revered historian Dan Snow came to Challoner's this week, partly to promote Waterloo 200, a charity attempting to increase awareness of the Battle of Waterloo 200 years after it happened. They are doing this by giving schools taking part a soldier from the local area to research and an artifact to create a story for. This research is also to be compiled into an ebook which is to be given to every school. This is to attempt to engage students with this history, which is of incredible importance in understanding 19th century, and therefore modern, European history.

The Battle of Waterloo was one of the biggest and most important battles in British history, shaping Europe and Britain as the paramount world power for the following century. Dan Snow told us that the aim of Waterloo 200 is to reconnect young people with the events of Waterloo as it is such an amazing and important story. He said how it is exciting to study, full of gruesome details, horror and stories of heroism. A selection of students were given an opportunity to look at some anecdotes from the families of Waterloo veterans, and to search to see if there were any soldiers with their surname.

Find your own Waterloo descendants

This year 200 schools are involved with the project, and each school will send a representative to a commemoration event at St Paul's in June. However they hope to expand the project, and aim to get 2000 schools involved by 2020.

A jam-packed library - Anish Rajani, Year 10

As well as supporting this charity, Dan Snow came to school to talk about the study of history in general. He addressed a jam-packed library at lunch time, and persuaded us that history is something for the future, not the past, because all the events of history have got us to where our society is today. With some incredible stories - meeting survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camps, taking a trip down the Grand Canyon, experiencing the magnificence and grandeur of Saladin’s castle in Syria and firing a preserved WW2 gun - Snow was convincing in his argument that history is fantastic to pursue at a higher level.

We all felt extremely privileged to have the opportunity to listen to such an esteemed historian. Thanks are owed to Dan Snow for visiting us, and Mr Buchanan and the History Team for arranging the day.