The Townsend-Warner History Prize is a national competition that started 137 years ago. The competition is based in Harrow and aims to encourage exploration and study of history by preparatory school pupils. Many winners of the competition have gone on to achieve incredible things. For example, Eric Blair (known mainly by his pen name, George Orwell) is a previous winner. After winning the award, he wrote many famous essays and novels, he is perhaps best known for ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’.
In 2021, Alice (8JI) got through to the second round of the competition and the entire school was incredibly proud of her. This year Alice showed great resilience and determination and entered again. We are delighted to announce that Alice has come in the top five of girls in the entire country and has come 45th out of over 2000 applicants. This is the highest place that a Belmont Preparatory School pupil has achieved to date. This is a magnificent achievement and everyone at Belmont is incredibly proud of Alice.
We spoke to Alice to find out a bit more about what the competition involved and her historical interests.
What did entering The Townsend-Warner History Prize involve?
I had to write four different essays on a variety of History topics in two hours, under exam conditions. I wrote about: The Battle of Hastings, The Tudor Era, Nelson Mandela and the Abolition of Slavery. I did lots of independent research ahead of the competition to ensure I had a deep and broad understanding of different historical events and time periods. I really enjoyed taking part in the competition because it prompted me to explore more history outside the classroom.
Which was your favourite essay to write?
I enjoyed researching and writing about the Battle of Hastings. I was very interested in learning about Harold Godwinson and William, Duke of Normandy.
Can you tell us why you think that it is important for children to learn History in school?
I would encourage other children to study history because we can learn things from the past and this can help us in the future. History is also a fantastic subject because it helps to develop our research skills and encourages us to be more analytical of the world. I am really excited to continue studying history during my time at Belmont!
If you could visit one time period in history where would you go?
I would love to visit the Tudor period! It would be great to meet Henry VIII because of the big changes he made to religion in England. I think it is fascinating that he broke away from the Catholic Church and became the Head of the Church of England.