This weekYear Four all took part in a visit to Dudley Museum in the Black Country. They all went to huge effort to dress up in costume and all looked superb as little Victorians.
We arrived feeling slightly nervous as our first trip was to visit a mine and imagine how it would have been for the children then. We were all given mining hats and a few of us were lucky enough to get a dim light which represented the kind of level of lighting a group of Miners would have had then. Starting to feel a little apprehensive we clung on to each other as we edged our way into the dark opening. We clung even harder as we bent double to scrabble down the winding passageways and our eyes slowly accustomed to the dark. As we went deeper our attention was drawn to wax work characters who explained the various jobs and what life was like. It was a fairly sobering reality for all of us, even Mrs Trim felt she would have had to run away to the countryside and maybe become one of the child bird scarers! It was difficult to imagine that children younger than themselves would have been working there for 12 hours. We were only down there for half an hour and although the children all had questions we were all relieved to return to the surface and our own life. The view of the Heltor sceltor and some squabling piglet by a cottage were very welcome sight.
We visited a typical cottage and saw a stove working with the coal from the mine and then made our way to the school room for a taste of lessons then. Poor Amy-Jane was sent to the corner for going to bed too late and the lessons and discipline were all taken in good spirits. After a taster of the 3 'R's the children rushed into the playground fully ready for their lunch.
We were so lucky with the weather so we picnicked on a grassy bank over looking the canal and ironwork factories. Having rested a while we made our way to the ironworks and forge. We were distracted by thought of living as gypsies and enjoyed looking at the caravan and then onto find out about the chain makers and we watched a demonstration on how chain was made.
From here we moved onto the high street where we visited the apothecary and talked about what was available then in comparison to when we are ill now. We then went into a hardware store and looked at the items available to buy and considered what some of the weirder items might have been for. The cockroach trap was quite a puzzle initially!
The end of the day seemed to come all to quickly and we were soon headed home leaving loads more interesting things we could have seen behind.
I for one was thankful I was a Victorian just for one day and I think we all felt a sense of how much luckier we are to live now. However, it was a great insight into life then and really did make it an experience for the children to remember.Mrs M Laing, Lower Prep Teacher, General Subjects