Students saw what life was like in the Industrial Revolution when they visited the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley as part of their humanities studies. They toured reconstructed homes, shops and a school and the guides gave students an insight into the hardship of life in a Midlands industrial town.
Teacher Mr Rutt said: ‘Old buildings from the Black Country have been taken down and rebuilt on what was a derelict site to construct the museum. Everything is 100 per cent authentic. We saw the pharmacy, sweetshop and also went to the schoolhouse for a lesson with the schoolmaster.
‘We saw steam engines, rode on a tram and went to the cramped back-to-back housing where there could be as many as 10 people at a time living in just one room. Conditions were rife for the spread of diseases, particularly as they didn’t have running water in the house or proper sewage systems so epidemics like cholera were a big killer.
‘The students had a really broad experience of what life was like back then and the tour guides were very knowledgeable. The Black Country refers to Dudley and the surrounding villages because, as it was an iron and steel producing area, in the daytime the sun was blocked out because of all the smoke and at night the sky would have been bright red because of the furnaces burning throughout the night. Transportation was poor and it took a day to travel to Birmingham, so that was viewed as a foreign place.
'This visit ties in with our Year 8 topic on the Industrial Revolution. It made learning interactive and real, while the students perhaps couldn’t get their heads around the hardship that was typical, by being in the small space of the house, or school it developed their empathy and they asked lots of interesting questions and gained a real understanding of what it was like to live in those times.’