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Year 7 Travel Back in Time (07/16)

Starting early, 47 Year 7 students left school to begin their day out at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley in the Midlands.

Starting early, 47 Year 7 students left school to begin their day out at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley in the Midlands. On arrival we were quickly escorted to the coal mine entrance. On with our hard hats and carrying our torches we ventured into the dark depths of the coal mine. With our Victorian guide to show us the way, we became witnesses to the challenging conditions in a Victorian coal mine. For coal miners and children as young as nine years old, it was hard, dirty and dangerous work. We finally exited the mine into the warmth and bright sunlight of the summer’s day.

Our next visit was to a Victorian school. The teacher holding a cane escorted the pupils to their uncomfortable chairs. On their desks was a piece of chalk and a slate to write upon. A Victorian ipad someone commented. The lesson started by reciting the three times table. A boy was directed to the naughty corner and Mrs Byrne had six of the best with the cane…well almost!

From the Victorian school we watched eagerly as a steel worker was making some chain out of red hot metal in a coal fired furnace. Then onto a large barge that carried coal and iron ore along the canals. We could see first-hand the small and squashed living conditions the barge captain and his family had to live within.

Off to have a look around some back to back terraced housing to gain an impression of home life for the workers. A quick look at the outside lavatories shared by the whole row of houses brought home what living conditions in Victorian industrial England would have been like. A quick visit to a bakery, a grocers and obviously the sweet shop all realistically exhibiting the produce of the age and then it was time for lunch.

The authentic fish & chip shop, the workers institute café and the Victorian pub provided plenty of opportunity to sample the food on offer. Following a good lunch we walked to the canal barges and onto our journey through the limestone caverns. These caverns were created by workers digging out the minerals to provide iron ore and flux for the iron and steel making.

Back on dry land we ventured into a nearby factory that made animal traps of all shapes and sizes. These were made for animals as small as a mouse to as large as a bear. These traps were then transported all over the British Empire. A quick trip around the gift shop and back on the bus to head off on our return coach ride home. An interesting day enjoyed by all.

Mr Leybourne

History department