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A-level English and Media students take a trip into the history of English

Last week, Hugh Baird College A-level English and Media Studies students took a trip to London to discover the history of the English language. The trip gave the students the opportunity to attend multiple workshops and seminars across the capital.

The students first stop was at the Harry Potter Studios tour to learn how the amazing JK Rowling created the multi-billion franchise all from a series of books based on fantasy creative writing. The students had the opportunity to step onto iconic Harry Potters sets such as, the Great Hall and Diagon Alley featuring all the famous props from the films. They also got up close to see the intricate detail hidden in every costume, discovering how the special and visual effects teams created filmmaking magic on screen, the students were also shown how magical creatures were brought to life on screen.

Hannah Devine, Hugh Baird College A-level English Literature student, said:

I absolutely loved the Harry Potter tour, I am a huge fan of the books and films and it really brought them to life. It was a fun way to learn new styles of writing and understand all the details behind the amazing franchise.

Next the students took a stop at the British Library to dive into the history of English language and literature. The British Library holds up to 150 million items, with 3 million new items added every year, the library features iconic manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints, drawings and music scores. The students were given the opportunity to research into how the English language has changed over the years and how we communicated in the past compared with the present day.

Kate Nugent, Hugh Baird College A-level English Literature and Language student, said:

I enjoyed visiting the British Library as I was able to see original manuscripts by writers that we have studied in college, such as Sylvia Plath and Coleridge. It was also interesting from a language point of view to see how the English language has evolved over the centuries.

The students final stop was the Bloomsbury district. The Bloomsbury Group was a circle of writers, artists and intellectuals featuring Virginia Woolf. The students researched into Virginia Woolf to see the history behind the well-known writer.

Virginia Woolf, is recognised as one of the most innovative writers of the 20th century. She was a prolific writer of essays, diaries, letters and biographies. The students had the opportunity to research into Virginia’s work which featured issues such as gender roles, sexuality and class to technologies such as cars, airplanes and cinema.

Lucy Cullen, Hugh Baird College A-level English Literature student, said:

We visited Gordon Square, where Virginia Woolf used to live. It was lovely to see the bench where she used to sit and to visit the famous London Review of Books bookshop nearby.

Sally Porter, Hugh Baird College A-level English Tutor, said:

I thoroughly loved every minute of this trip - we packed in so much, from feeding parakeets in Hyde Park to exploring photography through the ages in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The students loved seeing the literature they have studied brought to life in the British Library and the Bloomsbury district. The Harry Potter Studio tour was particularly useful for Media students, and was loved by everyone. We will definitely be running this trip again next year!

For more information on A-level courses, please visit: or alternatively call 0151 353 4444.

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