This article presents the findings of research into the teaching of local industrial history in a socially deprived primary school in post-industrial north-east England. The first of the article’s three substantive sections sets out the methodology and rationale. The second, drawing on qualitative data from participant observation, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with teachers and pupils, presents our main findings; that such teaching can fit with the demands of the English national curriculum; that it can be particularly engaging for children and, drawing on the place-based education literature, that it can also enable children to better understand who they are, in relation to their environment. The discussion section finds that the topic can appeal regardless of ethnicity or gender. We further conclude that schools can benefit significantly in the successful delivery of this teaching from partnerships with the local expertise of relevant community associations.