Year 4 travelled to Morwellham Quay, a living Victorian museum near Tavistock, on Tuesday 6th March to investigate life of the Victorian era and discover more about the divide between the rich and the poor of the time. Upon their arrival, they were greeted off the coach by a woman in full Victorian dress who introduced the setting of Morwellham and what the role of the village would have been during the Victorian era. Throughout the day the children engaged in four separate activities, whilst also gaining a little free time to explore the hidden areas of the Quay, such as the limestone kiln or an old gaff-rig ship.
Attending a Victorian school was the first activity, where they were welcomed into the playground by the headmistress before playing with many of the Victorian toys available. After the bell rang, the children lined up in height order and entered the school. In the class they were taught about school in the Victorian era, from the lessons to the punishments. Medeea said that the punishments sounded “hurtful" and made her "upset and embarrassed.” The second activity was a short ride on a mine cart down into an old Victorian copper mine, where the children discovered more about the role of a miner and how women and children were also involved in the mining business - despite the darkness and dripping water they all had a wonderful time on this 'ride'. Then they ventured over to the Harbour Master’s cottage and discovered how rich people lived in the mid-1800s. Walking from the kitchen to the study and to the bedrooms, the children explored the differences between then and now and were shocked already by the technological changes in the past 150 years. Moving on from the cottage, they visited the accommodation of a poor family from the same time. It is here that they were truly shocked by the lack of appliances, beds, amenities and general space. The fourth and final activity of the day was learning about the clothing of the era before being given the opportunity to try on waistcoats, jackets, dresses, skirts and hats.
As well as being an enlightening and exciting day out for Year 4, Morwellham Quay has offered an engaging entry for the children into the world and life of Victorians as they now continue to explore the era back in school – producing Morse Code machines, discovering the benefits of electricity and filming their own Vile Victorians Horrible History scenes.