Today we showed the children a walk through game which is available online, courtesy of the Geffrye Museum in London. It takes them through a Victorian house in 1870 and allows them to find out a little more about living in Victorian times. Lots of the children loved it and were keen to have a go. I promised them I would blog the link, so here it is!
If you’re heading to London during the half term break, there are a couple of places that are worth visiting in relation to our Victorian topic and also relating to the Great Fire of London.
The Great Fire Monument is free to look at and, for a small fee, you can climb the steps to the top and admire the view. Be warned though – it’s a long way to the top, although you do get a certificate if you manage it! You can find information by clicking here.
The Museum of London has a special exhibition running at the moment until April 2017, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. I’m told that it’s well worth a visit. Click here for more information. There is a small charge for entry to the exhibition but the museum itself is free to visit.
After half term we will be exploring the life and work of Florence Nightingale. There is a wonderful museum dedicated to her life which is a treasure trove and contains many original artefacts and lots of her own belongings. It is located in St Thomas’ Hospital, close to Westminister Bridge. You can find out more by clicking here. If you’re travelling by train you can download a voucher here for 2 for 1 entry to the museum too!
These are not compulsory visits or activities but we just wanted to share some ideas with you!
On Thursday 6th October we stepped back in time and arrived at school dressed in Victorian-style clothing rather than our usual uniforms. We were all very excited to be heading to Wisbech Castle for the day and boarded the minibuses quickly.
On arrival we discovered that it is not a castle at all but actually a Regency villa, named Wisbech Castle by the Victorians as it is on the site of a long gone castle. Richard from CEES met us and took us in through the front door before explaining the day ahead. We were to go into the back garden and knock politely on the back door where we would be met by the butler, Mr Grafton.
Mr Grafton lined us up in the downstairs hallway and explained that he was delighted to see that we were applying for the posts of scullery maid (in the case of the girls) and boot boy. He then set us to task. We had four tasks to complete, two of them marked by the senior servants (aka our teachers) out of 20. The applicants with the highest score out of 40 would be offered the jobs!
We loved making a pie crust using real pastry and decorated them with great care. Setting the table for a ‘light four course lunch’ was a bit more challenging as there were so many items of cutlery and crockery to put int the right places and facing the right way – not only that but there were different sizes! The most challenging part of the table setting was the napkin folding. Some of us managed to end up with something that looked like the crown that Mr Grafton had demonstrated but others ended up with a heap of white linen napkin!
We also got to use a posser, dolly and washboard to wash some rags. The highlight of this was the dangerous task of using the mangle. No fingers were squashed because we had listened carefully and were very careful!
After we had eaten our packed lunches, we got the opportunity to play in the garden with some Victorian toys. The stilts proved to be very popular, as did the hoops and sticks which took some concentration and perseverance. We also had a go at skipping with a long rope. Millie held the record of the highest number of skips; she jumped for so long that we lost count!
Our final task was to try to work out what different objects in the parlour were used for. There was a very old looking pump-action vacuum cleaner as well as an object that lots of us recognised from an Oxford Reading Tree book called ‘The Whatsit’ – it was a real-life ‘whatsit’ which was actually a wool winder!
We had a fabulous day and Mr Grafton chose Anna to be the scullery maid and Harrison was to be the boot boy. Both were slightly concerned at the thought of returning on Monday morning at 5.30am to start work. The wages of £13 per year for the scullery maid and £9 per year for the boot boy didn’t sound very generous for such hard work and the hours of 5.30am to 10.30pm daily sounded tiring. Luckily Mr Grafton changed back to being Richard and he told us that we were back in 2016 so there was no need to come back on Monday!
We had a fabulous day and didn’t even fall asleep on the way home because we were still so excited! We were sad to learn that Wisbech Castle is being sold by the county council and that it’s future for education purposes is uncertain. We were the last booked school group and did LJS proud by behaving beautifully throughout.
This week sees a change of Humanities topic in Year 2. We have thoroughly enjoyed learning all about Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London but are just as excited to learn about the Victorians. Thursday and Friday will be particularly exciting as everyone in Year 2, including the teachers, will be dressing in Victorian style clothing and visiting Wisbech Castle as well as having a Victorian style school day!
We are going to be finding out all about the reign of Queen Victoria, who was, until recently, the world’s longest reigning monarch. We will also find out about two amazing women who changed nursing for ever – Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole.
If you are planning a visit to London over half term, the Florence Nightingale Museum is located at St Thomas’ Hospital and is well worth a visit. Click here for more information! If you’re travelling by train, you might want to visit the Days Out Guide website beforehand as you can download a voucher which will entitle you to 2 for 1 entry to the museum with your train tickets! More about that here!
Both Year 2 classes and the Year 2 staff arrived at school dressed in Victorian-style clothing this morning. 2H headed off to Wisbech Castle to experience life as trainee servants in a Victorian home whilst 2W had a taste of what it would be like to be a schoolchild in Victorian times. We don’t want to reveal too much more at this stage as the children have all promised to keep the details of their day secret form the other class until after Thursday when 2H will have a Victorian school day and 2W will go to Wisbech Castle. Watch this space for photos and more information on Thursday!
Yesterday we had great fun with timelines in Year 2. To kick-start our Victorian topic, we had a look at a timeline representing Queen Victoria’s 63 years, 7 months and 2 days on the throne. In our groups (the Wonderful Ones, the Terrific Twos, the Thrilling Threes, the Fabulous Fours and the Fantastic Fives – because we are all amazing!), we worked as teams to sort the cards into date order. It was quite challenging and we thought the change from the 19th century to the 20th centre was particularly confusing! We had to listen to each other as well as discuss our thoughts and ideas. We enjoyed reading about the events and were horrified by some of the facts! Especially concerning was the thought that a factory act passed in 1847 meant that it became illegal for children to work for more than 63 hours per week in a factory! We worked out that before 1847 children could have worked for more than double the time we spend in school each week! Not only that but they would have had chores to do at home before and after work. We were also unimpressed at the thought that lunch would probably have consisted of no more than dry bread and some water.
We learned that school became available for children aged 5 to 12 in 1870 but that free schooling for all children was not available until 1880. We all decided that we were very lucky to be able to go to school 7 hours or so per day with breaks and a hot lunch…
We’ll keep you updated with more facts as we learn more about the Victorians and Queen Victoria.
Don’t forget to come dressed in Victorian-style clothing on Tuesday and Thursday next week, Year Two!
To fit in with our research into Victorian postboxes Year Two have taken on the rather large task of sorting the Laxton Junior Christmas post this year. It’s a slick organisation; Royal Mail executives would be proud! Following the rota on the wall, our willing teams of posties have been busy sorting the hundreds of cards posted each day. A sophisticated sorting system is in place, with boxes for each year group. The cards are then resorted into classes and delivered to their destinations. Year Two have been very pleased to see the number of clearly written class names on most of the envelopes but it does slow the process down a little when no class is specified! Here we are in action…
Year Two have been busy learning all about two Victorian nursing pioneers who had the same goal, to revolutionise nursing. However, Florence Nightingale, without doubt the most famous of the pair, and Mary Seacole had very different experiences, although both overcame prejudice against gender and race in order to achieve.
Although Mary Seacole’s story was well known at the time of her death in 1881, her story was overshadowed by that of Florence Nightingale and was quickly forgotten before being resurrected in the late 20th century.
Find out more about Mary Seacole’s story here.
Follow this link for more information about Florence Nightingale.
This afternoon we made our very own Victorian toys. Many people have never heard of the word ‘thaumatrope’ – have you? As Year 2 now know, a thaumatrope is a Toy that is thought to have been invented in the 1820s, just before Queen Victoria came to the throne. It was a popular toy throughout Victorian times and is a simple optical illusion which is easy to make. We had great fun deciding what pictures to draw and working out where to position them in order that they would be effective. Once the holes had been punched and the string tied on, we excitedly started to spin our pictures around before letting them unwind and watching carefully to see people posting letters, fish in tanks and even a crab biting a toe! It is quite hard work spinning the pictures round but one enterprising pupil decided he had the perfect solution for making the task easier – ask a friend to do it for you!
Why not click on the link and follow the instructions to make your own thaumatrope?
Having finished off our Samuel Pepys and Great Fire of London information posters in ICT today, some of us had time to begin to explore a Victorian house using an animation hosted on the Geffrye Museum website. Our new topic is Queen Victoria and the Victorians and the simulation has given us a little bit of an insight into a Victorian home and what can be found inside – just in time for our visit to Wisbech Castle next week. We’re all very excited about the trip and are busy planning our outfits as we will dress up as boot boys and scullery maids for the day.
If you’d like to try the Victorian house walk through for yourself, follow the link below. Unfortunately the simulation does use Flash Player so it won’t run on an iPad but it’s worth booting up the laptop or desktop for!