The Incredible James Clarke

Lesson: Topic

Class: Year 2 Year: 2021 - 2022

To tie in with our “Passport to the World” topic and in celebration of Black History Month, we had a visit from one of our parent governors (Mr Clarke). He told us the incredible story of his great grandfather, James Clarke, who was born in British Guiana (now Guyana).

When he was 14, he stowed away on a ship bound for Liverpool and was adopted by an Irish family living in the Scotland Road area. James worked on the docks and joined Wavertree Swimming Club. He started teaching children to swim after rescuing many of them from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. James saved many locals from drowning in the Mersey and the docks and taught countless others to swim. More information about James Clarke can be found here: 'Don’t dip in if you can’t see Jim!' - The story of James Clarke | National Museums Liverpool (

We all enjoyed learning about James Clarke and looking at some artefacts including photographs, the flag of Guyana and examples of money from Guyana. We also enjoyed dancing to some traditional Caribbean music. 

It also led us to think about our own family histories and stories and this is something the children have been encouraged to ask about over the half term break. As Mr Clarke told the children, " Every family has a story." 😊

St Mary's Birchley Catholic Primary School

Birchley Road, Billinge, Nr Wigan,

Lancashire WN5 7QJ

Main Contact: Mrs Janet Ollerton

SENDCO Contact: Mrs Andrea Hymers

Tel: 01744 678610