As part of an enrichment and cross curriculum teaching programmes the English and History Department recently took our Year 8 pupils on a trip about Britain’s Industrial heritage. Attached is an eloquent and insightful report from Lordes St Juste about the day. Further activities are planned as part of our activities week in order to develop our pupils’ knowledge and understanding of what it was like to live and work in this era.

On Friday 12th June year eight visited the Armley Mills industrial museum. The trip was very educational and interesting and it helped us gain an understanding of what it was like for the people working in those horrible conditions. I think the trip was effective for the whole year because it made us think how easy life is for us.

First of all we visited the rooms where the main machines were. A lot of the people who worked in the factories had medical conditions due poor working conditions. There was a limited amount of windows in the cramped rooms; due to this many people had problems with their eyesight. We learnt that people were breathing in fibres from the wool and dust from the machines, people often developed lung diseases, asthma and other illnesses such as lung cancer. The whole of year eight were stunned when they found out children as young as five were forced to work in these horrible conditions and that most were developing these illnesses before the age of 9. Some children were often caught in horrible accidents which could have been prevented by simple training and better working conditions. Year eight learnt about the story of George Dyson. In 1822 George got his leg trapped in a machine and sadly died. George was not instructed carefully on the machine, a few more minutes of training could have saved his life. There was an incident in 1932 when a child died as a result of not being allowed to the toilet, a minute toilet break could have saved a life. Children were often exploited in the factories. I think this part of the trip affected year eight the most because we realised how easy life is for us. Children were forced to work long hours in terrible conditions while we are at school bettering our lives. This part of the trip made us appreciate our lives more.

We also visited the weaver’s cottage and the factory manager’s cottage. There were a lot of differences between the two. The weaver’s cottage consisted of two rooms a kitchen and a parlour. This made us appreciate our houses a lot more. We also learnt that they could only get a bath once a week; ten people had to share that bath water.