Pupils experience Victorian school life

Victorian day at Leechpool Primary School. L to R Daniel Harrison 7, Abigail Puttick 8 and Joshua Melaugh 7. Photo by Derek Martin
Victorian day at Leechpool Primary School. L to R Daniel Harrison 7, Abigail Puttick 8 and Joshua Melaugh 7. Photo by Derek Martin

OCTOBER 9th in a Jubilee Year - but not Queen Elizabeth’s. The year is 1897 the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and Year 3 pupils arrived in costume to find a very different School experience.

Black in clothes and mood, the Year 3 staff directed the pupils either to the hall for a Victorian workshop or to a transformed classroom. Gone were the bright colours, the vibrant displays and the modern resources, all was austere and plain.

The children were separated into boys and girls and sat in long rows at desks facing forwards and instructions to be silent.

The morning lessons were commented in character by the staff – the singing of the national anthem, chanting of the tables, arithmetic on a slate with chalk and handwriting practice in a book. Victorian pastimes and games were played at break lunch and in the afternoon the classes swapped the experiences the workshop.

In the hall the pupils were instructed by a disciplinarian known at all times as ‘Sir’ through role play they learned hoe children of their age would have made a living if they were not in School.

One half of the hall represented a town house of a well to do family and pupils were taught domestic chores such as laundry, bed making, cleaning and polishing. In the other half of the hall they were shown how to make a living on the streets as chestnut sellers, chimney sweepers and market traders.

At the end of the day everyone was still in character when they were dismissed into the care of their parents. Most of the pupils looked and tired - they were delighted to find October 10th was back in 2012.