Within this workshop the students learn how poor children tried to survive living on the streets. How schooling for working children came about and the different types of schools there were. They encounter the harsh reality of life, working down the mines, in a match factory and learn the types of illness you could contract working in these conditions, like silicosis, fossy jaw, burns and scalds and why no one wanted to end up in the workhouse.
We are introduced to people such as Elizabeth Fry, Lord Shaftesbury and Dr Barnado and how they tried to change attitudes towards the poor and reform the penal system. By improving their living and working conditions the children could be taught to read and wright and learn a useful skill, so the future could offer them a better life.
There were many great inventors during the Victorian period and Isambard Kingdom Brunel is the focus at the end of our workshop. We learn about the Great Western Railway and the tunnels he worked on and how he narrowly missed death on one occasion. How his ships were used to lay the telegraph line from England to America, finally learning about the different types of bridges he constructed.
Jenna Dunn (Meadow Primary School)
We loved the workshop and so did the children. We would love to have you back next year if we keep the Victorians. Maybe mix the ordering up as there was a lot of sitting/reading at the end.