Module Details

HR212-5-SP-CO: Public History Project Module

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: History
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: Yes

Supervisor: Professor Alison Rowlands
Teaching Staff: Mr David Morgans; Mr David Piper; Dr Chris Thornton
Contact details: Belinda Waterman, Student Administrator,

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Bourne Mill is situated next to a large mill-pond on Bourne Road in Colchester. During the Middle Ages, the mill and pond belonged to the Benedictine abbey of St. John's, Colchester; after the dissolution of the abbey in 1539 it passed to the crown, before being bought by local gentleman Sir Thomas Lucas in 1590. Sir Thomas Lucas had the present, very picturesque, mill building, which served as both a mill and a fishing lodge for the local social elites, constructed in 1591; it passed into the possession of the Grey family (earls of Kent) by the 18th century. Over the centuries Bourne Mill has functioned as a grain mill and a fulling (cloth-treating) mill and in this latter capacity, was important in the Colchester textile trade. The mill stopped working in 1935; a series of different tenants lived in the building after it was bought in 1936 by the National Trust, which has been meeting the challenges of conserving the sixteenth-century stonework, the working water-wheel, and the mill-pond ever since. Local primary schools currently use Bourne Mill and its grounds as a learning space for various subjects; various volunteers (from local history enthusiasts to the Colne and Colchester Embroiderers' Guild) work with David Piper, the National Trust Area Warden, to preserve, develop and present the Mill's history to a wider public.

The Public History Project Module: Bourne Mill, Colchester is a second-year module with three key aims (the first two are generic, the third is specific to Bourne Mill):
1. It will enable students to move outside the confines of academia to consider how history is 'done' in various other, non-university settings, such as museums, historic buildings, and/or community history groups. Students will examine how histories are researched, written, archived and/or presented to public audiences in these contexts, and will also make their own contribution to these histories by means of the project work they undertake
2. It will give students valuable employability skills, as they will have to plan and manage a project on the museum, historic building or community history group for their coursework. We also hope that students who take the module will be more likely to take up voluntary work at local historic building, museums or community history groups
3. It will give students an understanding of the history, location, and architecture of Bourne Mill in relation to the histories of Colchester and the Colchester textile and grain trades; the history of mills and milling in Colchester and East Anglia; the acquisition of Bourne Mill by the National Trust; and the key people who owned or lived or worked in the building over the past centuries.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lectures, seminars, project work and site visits to the Mill.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Coursework consists of an oral presentation (max. 1,000 words; 20% of the overall mark); and a mini project (4,000 words; 80%).

Further information