Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Students follow in Bram Stoker’s footsteps with trip to Whitby

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100 students attended a trip to Whitby to explore the historical seaside town as part of their studies.

English Literature students explored the setting of Whitby for their Gothic prose module whilst Sociology students considered their topic of sub-culture in the light of the recent Whitby Goth weekend. A-Level English Language students also attended the trip to look at the language of gravestones for their language change module and GCSE English students celebrated the completion of their November exam.

Lindsey Tennant-Williams, A-Level English Literature Teacher: “I have organised a Whitby trip annually since 2009 and it has become something of a course feature. Gothic texts remain a consistent element on the A-Level Literature specifications and we are lucky enough to live so close to Whitby that we can explore the town.

“The students were asked to trace the steps that a sleepwalking Lucy Westenra takes from The Crescent, down the West Cliff, to finally reach the Abbey where she is subsequently attacked by Dracula – and to take photographs of all the places that Mina Murray references in her attempts to catch her friend. These will be used to help us work through potential exam questions on setting for the upcoming prose exam. Students are, however, obviously encouraged to grab fish and chips and spend some time in the souvenir shops between these settings. As such, many of the photos we saw had a lucky duck in the background.”

English Literature students will start the reading of Dracula this month for homework with a detailed activity on the setting of Whitby planned for January. Photos taken on the trip by our students will be used to help the classes to visualise the scenes.

Jess Sharkey, Y13 A-Level English Literature student, added: “The Whitby trip really put the context of the novel into perspective. The text was written in the Victorian era, but seeing how important Dracula still is in Whitby’s modern-day culture was really interesting too. On the trip we got to see all the places referenced in the book which was extremely useful; I can now really imagine the place when I am re-reading the text.”