History Teaching Unit: Chronology

Teaching unit on CHRONOLOGY
This is for use in KS 3 history.

Why use this unit?

It is easy to take episodes of the past out of context, and so lose sight of much of their historical significance. This activity places the events of Barings' history in a broader chronological framework, relating them to the great developments which were transforming the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.

What does this unit do?

Timelines are great tools for understanding history - and they are best when pupils have to create the timeline themselves.

There is already a timeline of Barings history in this website. However, this unit asks pupils to produce an image-timeline based on their own use of this website. As with the website's timeline, they place on it key historical events. In doing so, pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of 19th and 20th century history.


Pupils may play the game, Would You Invest?, though this is not essential for this activity.

They then fire up a presentation package. This could be PowerPoint or Prezi, but why not use E2BN's own Picture Maker? (link) This is a very simple to use piece of software with clear instructions.

They then create an image timeline of the investment projects.

To do this, they first grab images, one do with each of the investment projects. These can be acquired from the "sources" section of the website, where there are images relating to the investments. If pupils do not want to use any of these, they could try the Family/Business Partner section of the sources and get the portraits of the Barings partners involved.

Place the images of the investment projects in chronological order in the presentation package.

Pupils then research and add in images of selected world events and developments of the later 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, which they think had an impact in Barings’ history, OR in which Barings played a role.

These could include: The American Revolution; the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars; the South American Revolution; the Westward expansion of the USA and Canada; the Crimean War; the Indian Mutiny; the spread of Industrialization around the world; the spread of modern telecommunications; the rise of the motor car; the First World War, and the Second World War.

They should also add in key inventions which have helped to give rise to the modern world. These might include the following:

steam-powered machinery, steam locomotives, telephones, cars, underground trains, aeroplanes.

From other sources, research the dates for the Georgians, Regency, Victorians, Edwardians, mid-20th century, and place an image of the event which marked the start of each of these periods (note: count the "mid-20th century" as the period of the two world wars.)

For each of the images, pupils narrate a short piece, describing what the image refers to and explaining why it is in the presentation. For example, with the American Revolution, they could say, "The American Revolution brought the United States into existence. Barings would later do a lot of business in this huge country".

Class discussion

After the pupils have created their presentations, and either submitted them for marking or presented them to the class, the following question could be discussed: 

What major historical events and developments have given birth to the modern financial world?

[Teachers note: this should put the history of Barings into a wider context, relating company events to much wider trends.]