HHA Case Study – Stobs Camp Project

This is a case study for the Heritage Hero Awards programme.

As part of a 3 year Stobs Camp project two classes from Hawick High School researched digitised versions of First World War Scottish Borders newspapers in a classroom workshop. They then visited Stobs Camp to undertake survey activities at the site. The children then returned to school and created presentations of their research. The experience provided the pupils with an opportunity to investigate, engage and reflect on the heritage of Stobs Camp.

“Archaeology is a really interesting field of work and if the children are really into history and like doing their sketches and like finding things it’s really crucial, it’s another career path for them if they want to go down that route. I think that’s important as well”- Kate Riddell, History teacher at Hawick High School

Children from Hawick High School learning how to record a First World War building with a plane-table

“Without archaeology we don’t know what’s happened in the past and quite often what’s happened in the past can have a reflection on what happens in the future. So I think it’s great that children can, through archaeology, discover where they came from and what their heritage was”- Ian Lowes, project volunteer and member of Hawick Archaeological Society

Level(s) of award gained


Size of Group

60 children (2 classes of S2-3 pupils)

Age range of group

13-14 years

Date(s) of project

June, August-December 2016

Pupils of Hawick High School researching stories relating to Stobs Camp in First World War newspapers


The children were given no instruction for planning their presentations. They organised themselves, worked in small groups and designed how they wanted to present what they had learnt.


The children investigated stories and articles relating to Stobs Camp in digitised versions of Scottish Borders newspapers. Each group was allocated a different theme. These were: –
1. The construction of the camp
2. The British soldiers, regiments and volunteers who trained at Stobs
3. The German civilian and military prisoners held there
4. The escapees
5. The impact the camp had on Hawick
The children subsequently investigated other aspects of Stobs Camp, the First World War and life as a POW from additional internet searches.


The children visited Stobs Camp for a morning or afternoon session. This provided them with the opportunity to engage with the landscape and learn how archaeologists record what they see. They were also able to explore parts of the site they had been reading about in the First World War newspapers. Activities included the study of maps through time, reading and calculating GPS, learning how to draw and record upstanding buildings and interpreting how the buildings on site were used one hundred years ago.


The children worked together in small groups to explore their allocated themes in the First World War newspapers. This encouraged them to communicate and work closely in a team. Each group designed and prepared a presentation and delivered this to their peers, teachers and the Project Officer. By sharing what they had learnt both classes were then able to identify how the individual themes interrelated and formed a wider picture of Stobs Camp.
The activities on site encouraged the pupils to experience what it was like to be an archaeologist for a day and inspired them to investigate their local history.

Pupils from Hawick High School recording Stobs Camp buildings


From reading the newspaper stories on Stobs Camp and exploring other enquiries on the internet the children learnt what it was like to be at Stobs Camp and the impact it had on Hawick one hundred years ago. In presenting the information they researched the children reflected on how different life was during the First World War.
The survey techniques they learnt on site enabled the pupils to experience the role of an archaeologist and gave them a set of analytical skills that they can reuse in the future.

Lessons Learned

It can be difficult to persuade school classes to commit to activities lasting longer than 2 hours. Most aim to minimise the disruption to lessons. They are also reliant on bus companies who need to provide their normal school run schedules. In the workshops at school and on site we secured each class for 1.5 hours and 1.75 hours respectively. In the future it would be beneficial to increase the duration to ensure that a reasonable amount of time is allocated to activities and that all participants take part in all activities.
An event at a site like Stobs requires a significant amount of planning with schools, landowners, farmers, bus companies and volunteers. Health and Safety must be paramount for adults, children and livestock. It is also important to make sure that an increase of vehicles on site will not affect the day-to-day running of the local farms.
When a project is running technical or skilled activities it is important that there are enough people on site with the appropriate skills to deliver the sessions.
Buses can arrive on site earlier than expected.

Children from Hawick High School learning how to record a First World War building with a plane-table


The highlight of this part of the project was how the children engaged with the history of Stobs Camp. The circumstances of the First World War and what it was like at camp one hundred years ago were situations very alien to the children. Through their work on this project they have been able to compare their lives with the experiences and harsh realities for the soldiers and POWs. I was also delighted to see the children engage with the archaeological survey methods and to see how important recording a site is.

Pupils from Hawick High School recording Stobs Camp buildings

The benefit of using the Heritage Hero Awards

I believe the awards will inspire the children to continue to explore their local history. The certificate not only reflects their achievements on the project but will also provide a foundation to develop further interests in heritage-related projects.

Case study compiled by

Andrew Jepson, Stobs Camp Project Officer, Archaeology Scotland

With thanks to

Duncan Taylor, History teacher at Hawick High School
Kate Riddell, History teacher at Hawick High School
Jennifer Lauder, Local Studies Librarian, Live Borders
Shaureen Lammie, Education and Outreach Officer, Live Borders
Sandra Ewart, Landowner of Acreknowe Farm
Morag Cockburn, Live Borders Libraries and Archives
John Tolland, Live Borders Libraries and Archives
Ian Lowes, Hawick Archaeological Society
Dianne Swift, Development Manager, Archaeology Scotland
Jennifer Thoms, Education Officer, Archaeology Scotland
Kate Fowler, Heritage Training Officer, Archaeology Scotland

More information on this project can be found at:

Website: stobscamp.org
Twitter: @StobsCamp

Exploring and studying maps of Stobs Camp through time