Bourne Elsea Park Church Of England Primary Academy

Striving For Excellence, Caring For All In a Loving And Caring Christian Environment.

        Workhouse Woe

        Author: Ad Min

        On Friday 11th October Year 5 visited Southwell Workhouse. From start to finish they had a fantastic time as they were immersed into a role play experience dressing up as Victorian paupers.

        They experienced what life would have been like at the workhouse in 1851 under the watchful eye of the Master, Matron and school teacher Miss Hoff. All the children had a fantastic time learning about the life in the workhouse and discovered how it provided three things: food, warm clothes and a bed. Their opinion of the workhouse changed throughout the visit and although the Master and school teacher were strict, they all agreed the workhouse was a better place than the streets. They discovered how inmates in the workhouse were segregated into different parts and how children would only see their family for one hour on Sundays if they were well behaved. The boys learnt about jobs such as oakum picking and rock breaking where as the girls explored the jobs in the scullery and kitchen. Both groups had experienced a Victorian lesson in the classroom with Miss Hoff using slate boards and pencils.

        In the afternoon the children worked with members from the National Trust in a workshop, researching the lives of the children from the 1851 workhouse census. This included finding out about their family, what they ate and whether they were punished or not. Following on from our work at school, this was an excellent opportunity for the children to work with historical artefacts to find out about the past.

        Miss Worrall explained ‘once again we had a fantastic time at Southwell Workhouse. It was a valuable, engaging and educational experience. It opened the children’s eyes to what life was like in a Victorian Workhouse and allowed the children the opportunity to form their own opinion on them. The trip has left the children excited to find out more about life during the Victorian era. We returned to school on Monday and wrote fantastic descriptive recounts of our experience at Southwell Workhouse’


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