You WOULD Want to Be... our competition winner
For our Christmas competition, we worked with the fab folks from Book House (part of the Salariya Book Company).
They donated six of their award-winning 'You Wouldn't Want to Be...' books (worth more than £40!), for us to give away to one lucky winner!
You really wouldn't want to be in any of the situations described in the books, because there would have been a very real chance of serious injury, awful living conditions and – in many cases – almost certain gruesome death!
For our competition, we challenged young people to tell us which historical person they WOULD like to be. And we had some awesome entries!
And the winner is...
Archie Brookes, age 9
Archie said that he would like to have been a ‘timeless’ Beefeater at the Tower of London because of all the interesting things that he would have seen. He said:
I’d have met some interesting Kings and Queens, like Henry VII and Elizabeth I. I would also have seen some really interesting prisoners and heard their side of the story, like Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes, Samuel Pepys and most recently the Kray twins.
Some of the monarchs kept interesting and exotic animals, so I would have seen those up close.
I like beef, so eating that every day would be fine [Beefeaters at the Tower were paid part of their salary with chunks of beef! This continued until the 1800s. - ed]
I could also help the Ravenmaster look after the ravens and so keep the tower standing.
Safeguarding the crown jewels from thieves, like Gangsta Granny, would be a fun and important job. Finally, I could have watched all the money being made when the Royal Mint was at the Tower and perhaps could even have met Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Royal Mint. Living in London and seeing all the changes and national events such as the Plague and Great Fire and the building of famous landmarks would also have been interesting.
Well done Archie! A brilliant and well-thought out answer to our question about who you WOULD like to have been in the past.
Our runner-up is...
Imi Lewis, age 15 years
I would like to have been a World War One British Private (the lowest rank in the British Army) just to get a feel of what life was like for them every day. We know all about the battles, about the famous generals but I would want to be a private, to know what they found boring, what their entertainment was and how each day passed for them.
Great answer Imi! We love that you thought about a different perspective on an important historical event.
If you are interested in the First World War, why not get involved with the Council for British Archaeology's Home Front Legacy 1914-18 project? They need your help to record the lost First World War sites at home in the UK. You can get involved in finding out lots more about your local heritage, and discover how your home town or area was affected by the First World War.
There are loads of awesome activity ideas linked to the project in a special area here on the YAC website. Why not get your friends and school involved too?!
Our other favourite entries came from...
Stefan Jennison, age 12:
I would like to be one of the Bleriot brothers as they were some of the very first people who flew, looking over the land and mountains and rivers and it must have been very exciting for them, like going to the moon! Imagine seeing the ground from up in the air, in the 19th century. People would not believe what they saw!
Sam Johnson, age 6 ¾:
I would be William the Conqueror. This would be because he invaded England and became King and changed our way of life. He also built lots of fabulous castles that I enjoy exploring for hours.
Aiden Firmin, age 9:
I would like to be a Southern English wartime farmer during the Second World War, because as a reserved occupation I would be exploring old techniques long forgotten. This would be to keep up the food production for the country in need with the guidelines set by the war-ag [War Agricultural Committee - ed].
I would also get to meet lots of people from evacuees to prisoners of war and might even be involved with some of Operation Starfish [Operation Starfish saw 'fake' decoy town built in the countryside to try and distract German bombers from their real targets. The project saved thousands of lives and stopped hundreds of bombing raids. - ed]
WELL DONE to everyone who entered. It was a tough job to judge!