Source work and interpretations

The Coffin Works’ archive provides a rich resource to help prepare your KS3 & KS4 students for their assessments in the context of a historical or thematic study. We have provided a mixture of primary sources and interpretations; text, photographs and film, with exam-style questions.

We hope this is a useful starting point for further exploration of the collection.

Please also see how our resources and suggested activities link to the KS3 curriculum by themes.

Challenging Authority

Exam-style questions

  1. Describe two examples of challenges to authority by workers at Newman Brothers.
  2. Explain how the Alliance benefited factory workers, and at what price.
  3. How significant was strike action for Newman Brothers’ business?
  4. ‘Throughout its 100 year history, loyalty has rarely existed at Newman Brothers’. How far do you agree with this statement?

Study Sources A & B

Includes question sheet

Study Sources C

International Trade and WWII

Exam-style questions

  1. Which of these sources is more useful for an historian studying the impact of WWII on international trade? Use the sources and your knowledge of the British Empire and WWII to explain your answers.

Death of the Trade

Exam-style questions

  1. Describe three factors which contributed to the closure of the Newman Brothers’ factory.
  2. How different are the interpretations of Miss Green and Dr Litten regarding why the business declined?
  3. How significant was the Cremation Act of 1902 for the funeral trade?
  4. ‘Reputation over modernisation signalled the end of an era for Newman Brothers’. How far do you agree with this statement?

Study Sources B

Study Sources C

Women in the Workforce

Exam-style questions

  1. Which of these sources is more useful for an historian exploring the proportion of women working at Newman Brothers in the early 20th Century?
  2. Describe two types of job that young girls were recruited to do in the factory during the war years.
  3. Explain why vacancy adverts often indicated the age of the girls they wanted to hire? Why would a younger female workforce be good for business?
  4. How significant was The Military Service Act ruling in January 1916 and how did this affect recruitment strategies at the factory?
  5. ‘Gender equality in the workplace did not exist in the early 20th Century’. How far do you agree with this statement using the sources and your knowledge to explain your answer.

Study Sources A - C

Includes question sheet

How Reliable are Personal Memories?

Exam-style questions

‘Personal memories and interpretations of events from the past provide fascinating insights into social history, but they are not reliable sources of information’. How far do sources A – C convince you that this statement is correct?

Source A

Mark Finn. Drop Stamper at Newman Brothers in the 1980s. Filmed c. 2007.

Source B

Dr Allen. Son of Arthur Allen, a Newman Brothers’ Travelling Salesman during the 1920s and 30s. Filmed c. 2007.

Source C

Sheila Maher. Seamstress who worked in the Shroud Room. Recorded 2017.

We hope you enjoy exploring the rest of the collection. All the best with your exams!