Oxford was at the centre of the Civil War between the King and Parliament over 400 years ago. A network of spies, such as Lady Jane Whorwood, worked as secret messengers for King Charles I. They would have to use materials they could find easily at home to create their messages and then would hide them in their clothing.

You will need:

  • Juice from a lemon
  • A cotton bud
  • Paper
  • Source of heat e.g. a hairdryer or iron
  1. Squeeze the juice of a quarter of a lemon into a bowl, add a teaspoon of water, and mix.
  2. Dip the cotton bud into the mixture and write a message onto white paper.
  3. Let it dry.
  4. Reveal the message by exposing the paper to heat. In Civil War times, they would have used a candle. You could use a hairdryer or an iron, but make sure there is an adult present as paper can easily catch fire!
Secret message step 1
Secret message step 2
Secret message step 3
Secret message step 4