Southampton was one of 12 partners delivering Mayflower 400 – an international programme of cultural and heritage activities in the UK, US and Netherlands inspired by the 400th anniversary of the ship’s sailing and successful settlement in the US. The Mayflower and her sister ship, Speedwell, set sail from West Quay, Southampton, on 15 August 1620, carrying 102 passengers. They settled in what had been the Native American village of Patuxet. The village had been abandoned by the Wampanaog people who lived there after the death of the majority of its inhabitants in a ‘great plague’ (1616 – 1619), brought by English and European invaders.
In Southampton we approached the anniversary through the lens of migration. The Mayflower is one of many thousands of migrant, transmigrant and refuge ships that have left from or arrived in Southampton during the past seven centuries. As a result, 148 languages are currently spoken in the city. The anniversary was an opportunity to reveal this rich and diverse history, and to encourage communities to tell their stories, many of which will have previously been hidden.
You can read about the wider international programme on their website.
The city came together to produce a fantastic array of exciting and creative work for the anniversary programme, which engaged 150 artists, more than 2,000 participants in over 100 engagement sessions, and reached over 50,000 audience members. And a great range of learning resources were created for you to use – discover them below.
Working closely with representatives of the Wampanoag people for two years ensured that their voice was embedded throughout the programme. In particular, working with Paula Peters and her team at SmokeSygnals, Southampton created a wide range of digital content and produced the first ever Mayflower’s school pack co-written by Native American and UK scholars. We were the first UK city to take part in Native American Heritage month. As part of the programme, a new plaque was installed on the Mayflower Memorial remembering the Wampanoag people who died in the Great Plague.
These educational resources, released as part of the Mayflower anniversary programme, have been produced to connect school pupils with our local history as a global gateway and a City of Sanctuary. Both rich with visual and film content, resource one focuses on the 1620 Mayflower journey and its impact, whilst resource two explores Southampton’s longer history as a place of migration and refuge. Resources have been written by teachers for teachers, curated and shaped by Oasis Academy Mayfield, supported by international and local historians including: Paula Peters of the Wampanoag tribespeople, Professor Tony Kushner, Dr Nazneen Ahmed and Don John. The 1620 resource is the first on the UK school’s Mayflower scheme created from a bicultural (English/Wampanoag) perspective.
Mayflower 400 aimed to leave a legacy that engages Southampton schools with the significance of their place in the world and the place of sanctuary it has provided to many people over the centuries. The free downloadable resources support schools to enrol, or to continue develop work, as part of the School of Sanctuary programme.
The resources are aimed at Key Stages 2-4 with weekly hour-long lessons imagined within PSHE or RE sessions. To maximise the effectiveness of this scheme of work to Key Stage 4, the discussion-based work allows students to share ideas and collaborate to enable students to vocalise their thoughts enabling them to better able to express on paper. Attention is given to help Key Stage 2 students to grapple with the concepts and vocabulary within the scheme of work.
There is more opportunity to design a creative piece depending on the strengths of the pupils. Resource Two comes with a full-scale music offer.
In Resource One the Mayflower story is examined from both the perspective of the European settlers and the Native Americans. This is the first time Wampanoag people have co-curated education materials for UK schools. The scheme of work draws out parallels between the intolerances faced by some today with the experience of the Mayflower passengers and the Wampanoag Native Americans.
Paula Peters, Wampanoag Scholar said: “The curriculum developed for Southampton students as a result of this collaboration is perhaps the most comprehensive teaching on pre-colonial, Mayflower, and colonial history that finally includes the Native perspective. The Wampanoag story has been marginalized for centuries, yet the story of the Mayflower is one that cannot be completely understood without the inclusion of the Wampanoag perspective. These are the stories that inform our humanity.”
These resources are free to download and use.
Oasis Academy Mayfield co-created Resource Two with locally-based historians, Professor Tony Kushner, Dr Nazneen Ahmed and Don John. It contains 14 snapshots of history with significant moments in Southampton’s role as a Gateway City. The resource does not cover all the aspects of migration that have occurred through the centuries, nor cover every people group, but the common themes of finding refuge and a new home in Southampton are explored in depth through the lessons.
A focus of the resources is the theme of sanctuary, building on Southampton’s rich history of refuge and migration, as well as its designation as a City of Sanctuary. Many local schools have become Schools of Sanctuary and these resources will build on that programme whilst also enabling new schools to become accredited.
These resources are supported by a selection of films which explore specific migration stories in Southampton, produced by Doherty Associates and City Eye. The films can be accessed separately by following this link.
Accompanying Resource Two is a suite of new music pieces composed by world-renowned cellist and kora player, Tunde Jegede. These pieces complement a new commission based on stories of refugee and migrant communities in Southampton, Voyages of the Heart, which premiered at Turner Sims in April 2021. There are pieces for choirs, orchestras, and smaller groups available. During 2021- 2022 Southampton Music Hub will be working with schools delivering work from this suite.
These resources are free to download and use.
What is Cultural Connections?
Cultural Connections, part of the wider Mayflower 400 project, is an exciting partnership between Southampton City Council Cultural Services, Southampton City Council Adult Learning and the CLEAR Project which aims to offer rich cultural opportunities as well as English as a Second or Other language (ESOL) teaching to members of Southampton’s diverse migrant communities. These activities will be done in a fun, relevant and accessible way that aims to make a lasting impact on participants and those around them.
Participants in the project will have the opportunity to improve their understanding of, and confidence in, reading, writing and spoken English while at the same time gaining local knowledge that will allow them to access more of Southampton’s culture and heritage.
Who is it for?
This project is for adults in Southampton from immigrant and migrant communities who can’t normally access Southampton’s heritage, find it difficult to connect to the city or whose level of written or spoken English excludes them from easily accessing Southampton’s cultural offer.
What will happen in the sessions?
All of the activities will make use of the city’s extensive history, museum collections, heritage venues and learning teams, and participants will be able to take part in a wide-ranging programme of activities including English language workshops, interactive sessions and museum visits.
The focus of activities will be to explore common cultural connections and shared experiences that can be found between 21st century migrant communities and people throughout Southampton’s past and present (for example the Windrush Generation and Southampton’s role as a sanctuary town welcoming refugees and migrants from across the world).
Is it all face-to-face sessions?
In addition to physical workshops, there’ll also be lots of fantastic FREE downloadable activity sheets, trails and packs that will help explore the town’s amazing history and improve English language skills. These will also be available to pickup in Southampton’s Cultural Services venues for free too.
These resources have been designed in collaboration with The CLEAR Project, a local initiative supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Southampton. For more information about their work please visit their website.
To complement our Education Resources we worked with local filmmakers Doherty Associates and City Eye to create a set of films exploring Southampton’s history as a city of migration and refuge. In partnership with locally-based historians, Professor Tony Kushner, Dr Nazneen Ahmed and Don John we have eight films exploring 14 stories which cover significant moments in Southampton’s role as a Gateway City. This does not cover all the aspects of migration that have occurred through the centuries, nor cover every people group, but the common themes of finding refuge and a new home in Southampton are explored in depth through the education resources.
Discover the Story of General Rosas, the Argentinian Dictator who sought sanctuary in Southampton.
Discover more about the Medieval Merchants House and the road on which it sits, French Street.
Discover some of the notable Jewish migrants buried in Southampton cemetery.
Discover more about the wall where American soldiers inscribed their names ahead of the D-Day landing
Discover the story of the Belgian Refugees who came to Southampton in the First World War.
Discover the story of South Asian seafarers in Southampton at the end of the 19th Century.
Even in 1620, Southampton was a thriving seaport which had sent many ships across the Atlantic in the past. The Mayflower and Speedwell chose to meet in Southampton as it had everything they needed to prepare themselves for the journey. Then, a town with a population of 4,200, it looked very different to the vibrant city we know now.
Below, Maria Newbery, Curator of Maritime and Local collections for Southampton City Council, explains more about Southampton in 1620 and the significant locations that still exist today.
Many of the buildings that stood in 1620 are still welcoming visitors in Southampton today. Some repurposed as pubs, museums, heritage attractions and wedding venues. Some remaining as town boundaries and places of worship.
Dotted around the Old Town you will find a series of 12 mosaic ships created by Will Rosie. Commissioned by the 2019 Mayor there is also a large mosaic which echoes the design of a previous commemorative Mayflower stamp.
Discover how throughout time, historically famous Native Americans have passed through Southampton’s port. Discover the story behind the Mayors banquet in the Audit House for the ‘Kings of the five nations of the Iroquois’ and how Pocahontas, came to set foot in Southampton. More information soon.
Image: An Indian ‘werowance’, or chief, painted for a great solemn gathering. Drawn by: John White © The Trustees of the British Museum –