After a good sleep (no, really!), the children and staff made their way downstairs to an extremely tasty and filling breakfast. A perfect start to what promised to be a very busy but also very exciting day at the Victorian town of Blists Hill.
With full stomachs, we started our ascent to Blists Hill. Unfortunately, the clue is in the name which meant plenty of us regretted that last bit of bacon as we trudged uphill to the town. Despite the incline, everyone’s spirits were high and excitement built as we began to spot the first signs that pointed towards Blists Hill.
The children were split into small groups to allow us to tour the town and also take part in some pre-booked activities. We soon discovered that the various Victorian stores which lined the streets contained shop assistants who told us lots of interesting information about the sort of products sold within their store. In the chemist, we discovered that nutmeg was often used in Victorian times to help people, particularly children, get to sleep. It was incredibly tempting for the teachers to buy large amounts of nutmeg in preparation for any late night chatterboxes amongst our group but we did manage to resist in the end!
One of the highlights of the visit for many of the children was the opportunity to make their own bricks. We learnt that children of 9 or 10 would have been expected to work at the brickworks for 6 days a week and during their working hours, they would need to produce 3 tonnes of bricks per day! Even worse, if they didn’t manage this they would have to make extra the following day! Thankfully, we only had to make 1 brick which we will be able to bring home with us.
Another interesting part of our day was being able to visit the various workshops to watch craftspeople making a wide range of products. Throughout the day, the children visited the woodturner, the candlemaker, the foundry and a wide range of other workshops which are spread across the town. The children asked some fantastic questions and consequently learnt a great deal about the different trades.
In addition to all of the learning that took place, the children also had some traditional Victorian chips and had the opportunity to experience some fairground rides and games from the era. All in all we had a fun-packed visit and we left with high spirits.
The staff also left with high spirits as one member of staff at Blists Hill stopped us on the way out to tell us that our children were some of the best behaved and most inquisitive children that she had met at Blists Hill. A huge compliment, but a very well earned one that the staff who have been with the children these last two days would certainly agree with.
The great thing about climbing up a hill is that eventually, you get to go back down it again! Therefore, the journey back to the Youth Hostel seemed to be a much quicker trip than the one in the morning. After dinner, we will be taking part in some activities outside before returning to our rooms for a good night’s sleep.
See you all tomorrow.