We were introduced to all sorts of Victorian activities by the very knowledgeable volunteers from the museum.
We started the day by having a go at melodrama...
Then the children staged pastiches from two favourite pantomimes enjoyed by the Victorians - Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. They had to perform different 'stills' from one of the pantomimes showing scenes which made up the story. See if you can work out which pantomime these scenes are from:
Here are some photos from the other pantomimes:
Afterwards we danced to 'We saw three ships go sailing by'...
First the boys danced into the middle,
Then the girls who were swooning...
We then walked to Cherry Tree Cottage.
We made some rare treats - candy canes!
We also made paper chains in traditional colours to decorate the room. We had to use glue; the Victorians would have used flour paste but we didn't have time to let it dry. While the children made their chains one of the volunteers read from 'A Christmas Carol'.
By the time we'd finished we were getting peckish so we went to the Chapel for some lunch.
The children then learned how to set the table for the feast as the children in the workhouse would have done. First we learned how to bow and curtesy properly to the gentry and then we had a competition to see who could set the place at table correctly.
The children then found out about toys the children in the workhouse might have had.
Then we went to find out more about the workhouse. We discovered how children got a place at the workhouse; they had to have special papers otherwise they wouldn't get in!
People who had lice would have their heads shaved and their clothes would be removed and washed. When they left the workhouse these clothes would be returned and would be the only things they could keep,
Life was very hard for people in the workhouse. They had very little to eat and they had to work very long hours. Children had to pick oakum from rope which was mixed with tar to fill holes in wooden ships.
They also had to work in the laundry.
Before we left everyone signed the workhouse register.