Young Historians Create Book about The Customs House

Published: 6th July 2018

Young Historians Create Book about The Customs House…

Heritage Lottery Fund Lottery Funded LogoThe Customs House received £3,900 to work with Looked After Children to explore the venue’s history and create their own book. The Customs House was awarded National Lottery funding, through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Elizabeth Kane Learning Officer said.

“Thank you to players of the National Lottery. When you buy your ticket you make a big difference to good causes benefiting your local area and community.”

Children enjoyed taking part in a term of creative history sessions here at The Customs House art centre. They worked with Learning Officer Elizabeth Kane and Nicola Maxwell. Nicola has a wealth of experience working with young people and has led other heritage lottery funded projects in the North East.

Young historian photographer the River Tyne for his book ‘Our Custom Story’

Young historian photographer the River Tyne for his book ‘Our Custom Story’

The children worked together making a booklet in the style of a chap book, which is an old type of book made from one sheet of folded paper. The youngsters knew their work would be available to the public and sent to every school in the borough.

Elizabeth said,

“When we got to the point of putting the children’s book together they really couldn’t wait! The design and printing process took a little longer than we hoped but when the boxes arrived we were delighted. A couple of the boys happened to be visiting The Customs House when the books were delivered. We were able to surprise them with the first few copies for them to share with their carers and friends.

The children have also achieved so much on the project. They worked really hard and received an Explore Arts Award. It’s a big thing for them to receive a nationally recognised certificate from Trinity College. Some research shows Looked After Children often don’t do as well as expected at school.  We hope this project has made them happier and more confident.”

Visitors to The Customs House can pick up a copy of the children’s finished booklet ‘Our Custom Book’ in Box Office alternatively they will be available at The Word from Tuesday 3rd July.

Fiona Martin Deputy Director said,

“We are delighted children have created an up to date visual history of The Customs House. We are sure everyone will join us in congratulating the children for their hard work. ”

Staff at The Customs House would like to thank Catrin Galt Librarian at The Word and Dr Anette Hagan Curator of Rare Books from the National Library of Scotland for their help finding out more about chap books. This research was put to good use in a free teaching resource shared to inspire other young people to care about their local heritage. You can download the resource here.

Want to know more about our Custom Book Project?

If you have any questions or feedback you would like to share about the project please contact Elizabeth Kane via email at

The Port of Tyne is proud to support The Customs House as a sponsor of projects which help young people gain confidence and skills towards employment.