HMS Leigh Education

HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames is a community lead heritage and arts project that aims to connect people of all ages with the history of Southend Pier, aka HMS Leigh, during WW2.  Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Arts Council and Southend Borough Council, this project was part of the VE 75 celebrations.           

School in ww2

St Mary's School, Prittlewell, 1937, modern year 5

Over 140,000 people engaged with the project online in May 2020.  This overwhelming response has generated a wonderful outpouring of largely unknown source materials.  The HMS Leigh Steering Group believe that this offered a huge opportunity to teach local history at a completely different level and inspire younger generations to follow in the footsteps of those resourceful men and women who together turned a pleasure pier into a naval battle station during WW2.   

Thanks to the vision and generosity of our partners and funders, the HMS Leigh Team are inviting all Southend Schools on May 6th to May 7th, 2021 to this website to take part in an online celebration of VE76 together.  Then in September Thursday 23rd of Friday 24th the live event will transform Southend Pier into a giant collaboration of everything that is great about the past and the present with young people’s creativity being centre stage. 



The HMS Leigh Education section is divided into primary, secondary, special needs, home schooling and adult learning pages to provide material that is appropriate to all ages supporting teachers and parents to explore Southend’s heritage.  The HMS Leigh Team would appreciate any guidance on making these learning materials into a worthwhile legacy for those who lived through WW2 and the Covid-19 pandemic.  Feedback is always gratefully received so if there are any ideas on how to improve this resource, please do get in touch  
All materials on the HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames website are free for educational use. The images used have either been provided to the project by Southend Museum, Southend Pier Museum, individual local contributors or will have attributions attached to them – such as IWM for Imperial War Museum images. 

Education Leaflet

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