Remembering how we used to … with Llanilltud Primary School

A few weeks ago the Historypin Team headed to Wales for a series of community workshops with schools and retirees as part of our latest project, ‘Remember how we used to’. We were joined by some super volunteers from npower and we visited pupils at Llanilltud Fawr Primary School in Llanwit Major to capture photos and stories about how our home and work lives had changed over the decades.

The Old Swan Inn, Llanwit Major, 1930s

Llanilltud pupils had been given the mission to speak to their parents and grandparents about what technology, devices and toys they had growing up. We started off with one pupil’s observation that of course the past was very different as colour had not been invented and everything was in black and white. Once that was clarified, we got stuck in talking about what the pupils had discovered.

1990s technology figured largely, with discussion about parents who had laptops and Motorola mobiles. As we delved deeper into the past we started to talk about things that were probably familiar to only some of the adults in the room. Declan’s parents had one of the earliest personal desktop computers on the market in the 1970s, the Radio Shack TRS-80 and Iona’s Dad received the handheld game Blip for his birthday in 1977. A far cry from the iPads that many pupils’ families now have.

As we turned to toys, we established that in the old days not only did they not have Playstation 3, they didn’t even have Playstation 2! The kids had lots of fun discussing their parents’ toys – one Dad had a Big Trak as a boy, and another had an electric racing car with a hand held controller.

Many students had also brought in their own photos photographs and you can see the stories shared on Llanilltud Fawr Primary School’s Channel. Lily had delved particularly deep into the past, bringing in photos of herself and her Mum, Nana, Great-Grandmother and Great-Great Grandmother!

As talk turned to Grandparents, Caitland told us an amazing story about her Grandfather who fought in Second World War and whose life was saved by a silver coin in his pocket which deflected a bullet. Her nanny still has the coin. Declan’s great-great grandfather had an electric car, whilst Lily told us how the silk bridesmaid’s dresses seen in her family photos from the 1990s would have been very unusual during World War Two because silk was very rare as it was used for parachutes.

So, from fashion to computers there was plenty of discussion about how things had changed over the years and everybody involved had a great time – whether it was volunteers’ nostalgia about 1970s gadgets or the kids finding out about the toys their parents played with.

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