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  • Michelle Cook

Saving Samuel Godley: a local history project

From 2016-2018, I secured funding for and managed the Saving Samuel Godley heritage outreach project. The project, amounting to £82,000 benefited over 250 children in Key Stage 2, seven early career volunteers and the local community.


Samuel Godley, a Life Guard who fought heroically at the Battle of Waterloo, is now buried in St John’s Wood, London. This project told his story, which, alhough fascinating, is shrouded in mystery. As a Life Guard and a Chelsea Pensioner, Samuel Godley traversed Regency London, participating in important events like the Westminster riots in 1814-1815 and the coronation of George IV, serving England in conflicts like the Battle of Waterloo, and witnessing the growth of the city whilst working at the Baker Street Bazaar next to the site of the original Lord’s Cricket Ground.


The story first became known to the Westminster City Council in 2015 in the course of the bicentenary celebrations of the Battle of Waterloo. In 2016 the City of Westminster Archives Centre secured a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore Godley’s gravestone and tell his story. Working collaboratively with three museums and a local school, the Archives Centre devised and implemented a creative outreach project to engage students from four primary schools across the borough with their local history. Activities with schools covered two intakes of Y5 classes over consecutive years. These included visits to six museums and heritage sites, and various creative workshops.


From February-September 2018, a collaboration with the Historical Association allowed for the collation of the learning resources produced for each training session into a more cohesive module to be distributed to participating schools and made available online, thus improving the project’s continuity and reach.


More information including the project report can be found here: http://www.stjohnswoodmemories.org.uk/content/category/samuel-godley


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© Michelle Cook 2019