The whole school undertook a huge history lesson stepping back in time as we visited the fascinating Quarry Bank Mill on Monday 29th October. Everyone looked fantastic dressed up as Victorian children.
There was a sea of cloth and mop caps climbing on board the three coaches that took us towards Manchester.
We had a wonderful time. There were a number of activities we had arranged to take part in. We all toured the factory and had a taste of
how noisy and dangerous the machines were. Cotton was being threaded, spun and woven in large clanging machines. Huge cogs and wheels drove these and were powered by the huge water wheel. There was a museum as well which told us all about the Greg Family that owned the factory.
Key Stage 1 were treated to a story, whilst Key Stage 2 children experienced what it was like to be a child worker at the factory and live in the Apprentice House. Here we learned our A B Cs and had to show our teacher how well we could write – on slates! Then we were shown to our dormitories and had to make our beds. The mattresses were made from straw and might even have been changed once a year – very posh. Some lucky children were told to clear out the bed pans!! Yuck! Did you know, they were locked in their rooms at night – so no nipping to the toilet, hence the bed pans.
We also were taken to the Doctor’s office to be checked over. He needed to make sure we were all healthy enough for work in the factory. He was very impressed with our teeth!
Of course if anyone was feeling a little off colour, then there was plenty of Brimstone and Treacle to go down. And if that didn’t do the trick, then he had a pot of leeches. Yes, leeches. We all saw them – swimming around in one of these pots!
The factory was very noisy and when people worked there, it could be very dangerous too. There were many accidents and even one death! Workers had to be up at six and work through till six – including the children. Did you know the term ‘carrying the can’ can from this type of factory? They would get some of the smallest children to carry huge cans of cotton up and down the cold, stone steps between the different floors – in their bare feet – all day.
We all learned such a lot about Victorian times, how hard people had to work and especially what children were expected to do.
It was a fascinating day!