The study of History is thriving here. The department has its own suite of rooms at the heart of the school right next to the Library with which it has very strong links. The most obvious manifestation of the department's work is the Living History Group, which has a national reputation for historical re-enactment and has a superb collection of equipment and artefacts. There is also the History Society, which organises attendance at lectures at the University of Birmingham which sits opposite the School and use of the University Library's archive, as well as mentoring boys who wish to read History at Oxford and Cambridge.
Field trips are run to Goodrich and Kenilworth castles, the Bosworth battlefield site and RAF Cosford's National Cold War exhibition. The department also offers visits to the battlefields of the First World War in France and Belgium and to cities of historic interest, such as Istanbul and St Petersburg. The Living History group has performed all over the UK, including the Tower of London, as well as at the Danish Middle Ages Centre in Nikobing.
Topics studied by the boys in the first year encompass local history based on the School (notably the experiences of Old Edwardians in the First and Second World Wars) and the city, for example Birmingham's role in the Industrial Revolution and the Slave Trade. In a wider setting, the forces unleashed by the Renaissance and the Reformation are studied in the second year and then the wide chronological sweep of the long 19th century from the French Revolution to the outbreak of the First World War is studied in the third year.
In the fourth and fifth years boys study the Cambridge IGCSE course on International Relations from 1919 to 1989 and undertake a Depth Study on Mao's China. This is followed in the sixth and seventh years by the IB's Modern History course which focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries with topics and examples drawn from across the world. A medieval history course is also available.