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Time lord turns back clock with history workshop

THE HISTORY BOY ... Paul White, who is launching a new history workshop, dressed as a First World War army private soldier in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

THE HISTORY BOY ... Paul White, who is launching a new history workshop, dressed as a First World War army private soldier in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

TIME lord Paul White is turning back the clock to teach South Tyneside schoolchildren history in style.

Paul, who runs history workshop company Class History, is taking on the persona of Private Tommy Foster to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The historical impersonator, who has been dressing up as characters from across the centuries to teach children for the last eight years, said he wants to bring the war to life.

“They can see what the soldiers wore, and what they went through,” he said.

“They can see what they had to carry and the conditions those lads had to survive and fought in, and even what food they had.

“It helps to give the history more depth.”

Paul, 45, who started telling interactive history stories to school pupils in classrooms, including Hedworth Lane Primary School, museums, and even Roman forts, because of his love of history, is basing this new character on his grandfather.

He has spent about £1,000 on the costume, having the soldier’s uniform made, and sourcing real First World War relics – from crockery to soap – to tell Private Foster’s story of the trenches.

“I use real artefacts if I can get my hands on them,” he said.

“I’ve got soaps and dishes and things from World War One.

“You’ve got to have a real interest in history to do it.

“I’ve always been interested in history, and I wanted to bring it to life so kids can enjoy it.”

Other characters which Paul has taken on include Julius Verax, the Roman Legionary.

He visited Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum in his uniform to teach youngsters about the invasion of Britain and life in the Roman Army.

He also dressed up as a soldier from the Crimean War to speak in the Discovery Museum, Newcastle.

“I haven’t done any kind of teacher training,” said Paul, whose wife Kerry White, 39, is a descendant of William Jobling, of Jarrow, one of the last man in England to be gibetted in 1832.

“It’s very unique what I do. I’ve got a way with kids.

“I think doing this is my second childhood.

“I get down to their level and that’s why it works.”

He added: “My children love what I do, but sometimes they don’t like me popping into their school when I do visits.

“It’s their street cred.”

Paul is aiming to take Private Foster into schools – he will visit Harton Primary School next week – and museums around the borough to mark the centenary of World War One.

To find out more about Class History or book a visit from Paul, call 447 3086 or 07975 541 864 or visit www.classhistory.moonfruit.com.

Twitter @Monica_Turnbull

 

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