8 November 2018

Year 5 pupils visited the Victorian Living Museum, Dudley, in support of their history lessons in which they are investigating how life for Victorian children changed over time.

One highlight was the descent into the coal mine, where boys were exposed to the cramped and dangerous conditions experienced by Victorian boys of their own age. This came replete with an authentic explosion to show one method by which coal was dislodged from the seams. Happily all the boys emerged unscathed, albeit after a much shorter shift than their Victorian counterparts.

The schoolroom session gave the boys the opportunity to write with slate and chalk, and to recite their alphabet and tables. Unfortunately the behaviour of James, in 5S, was sufficiently unsatisfactory to merit a Victorian style caning, but his mother was duly informed.

The boys also got to visit a selection of Victorian era shops and houses to see and hear demonstrations of Victorian washing techniques, toiletry habits and cooking methods, amongst others. Purple tongues did result from the trip to the sweet shop, although we were glad to report that there were no cases of arsenic in the confectionary, as in the 1800s.

A final highlight was watching a real Black Country blacksmith fashion a chain on his forge. Sparks really did fly.

The trip was a success, and in no small part owing to the good attention and questions posed by the boys. Our thanks also go to Susan and to Jo for accompanying us so cheerfully and energetically.

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