After all the excitement of the first night, there were some notably tired faces amongst Mrs Hilton Loom’s class and Mr Rice’s class this morning. Suddenly the late night chats and card games didn’t seem like such a good idea! Despite this, after a full breakfast, all of the children were ready and raring to go as we prepared for our trip to the Victorian town of Blists Hill. Clear blue skies greeted us as we left the Youth Hostel to walk the steady climb up to Blists Hill.
One of the first stops as we entered the town was Lloyds Bank. Here, we changed some of our money for Shillings and Pence to use in the various shops around the town. The bank clerks told us all about the different coins and gave us an idea about what they might have been worth today.
As well as walking around Blists Hill, we had the opportunity to take part in two different activities. The first of these was candle dipping. We discovered that candles in the Victorian era were made from sheep or cow fat and consequently, the smell in people’s houses wasn’t particularly pleasant! Our children were able to dip a candle into different coloured wax to create a rainbow patterned candle which I am sure they will show you when they return home.
Thankfully for any parents reading, our candles aren’t made of animal fat and whilst they might not smell like a Yankee candle, they won’t smell like burning fat either! The children thoroughly enjoyed this activity and went on to learn that candle makers would have been very wealthy as there was a huge demand for candles.
The second main activity that our children took part in was the mining experience. We learnt more about the sorts of jobs that children would have done in the mines (basically, all of the dangerous ones!). We then boarded a small train which took us into a tunnel designed to mimic the conditions of a real mine. At one point, we were sat in complete darkness and it gave us an opportunity to think about how difficult it must have been for Victorian children to work in these conditions.
Other highlights of today’s visit included visits to the old school (class sizes of almost 70!), the printers and the opportunity to witness a range of steam engines being driven around the site. Despite being at Blists Hill for 6 hours, the time seemed to fly by. The children’s behaviour was immaculate and their enthusiasm made all of us very proud. On behalf of all of the staff here with the children, we have felt nothing but pride for the way that all of the children have conducted themselves.
Following the much easier walk back from Blists Hill, all of the children had a shower before tea. That means that you should find that they have used at least some of their shower gel/soap! We’ve just enjoyed the final bit of daylight by playing some games outside and now it is time for other activities indoors.
Tomorrow, once the children have packed their bags and tidied their rooms, we will be walking to Ironbridge to see the bridge that the town is named after. We should be leaving Ironbridge at around 1.30pm and therefore we should be back at Carr Hill by 4.30pm approximately.
See you all tomorrow!