Year 3 have been studying Victorian Britain over the course of this term and have been counting down the weeks until their eagerly anticipated trip to Preston Manor. For this trip the children have to dress up in Victorian servant costumes and act the part of one of four different roles within the house. They are greeted by the head house keeper and her footman (both also in character) who then lead the session around the house.
Before the children arrived at Preston Manor they all applied for a job, writing their very own letter of application to Mrs. Storey, the Head House Maid. As soon as the children enter Preston Manor they are treated as a servant. This means absolutely no talking unless spoken to and following all instructions quickly and efficiently. Mrs Storey and James the footman are purposely very strict with all the children as they would have been in Victorian times. It is amazing how well behaved children can be when put under such conditions!
After the children have been introduced to the house they are taken through to the dining room. Some children are chosen to put on white gloves and shown how to lay the table with a degree of accuracy that we can only dream of these days! They are shown a typical Victorian menu and then are taken off to the drawing room where the original owners of the house, Mr and Mrs Stanford, would have entertained guests after dinner. Once these two rooms have been looked at then the real work gets underway!
Two groups go off into different directions, one downstairs to the kitchen and the other upstairs to the bedrooms. Here they are put to work. In the bedrooms the children are made to make the beds, scrub the carpets and clean the brass and the fireplace. Down in the kitchen the children are shown how to make jam tarts, lemonade and stuffed apples. This is all done in absolute silence!
From there the children from the bedroom go to the boot room to work some more. Here they bash the carpet to get the dust out, wash the socks with soap and a dolly, pretend to iron the lace and use the mangle to dry the socks. From the kitchen the children go into the scullery and write a menu on a slate board, clean the outside of the oven and make up a tray for breakfast of Mr Stanford, again all done in total silence.
All the children are then lead back upstairs where they are further inspected by Mrs Storey. After interviewing all the children in the scullery four children are then chosen to start work on Monday morning, much to their horror! Finally both Mrs Storey and the footman come out of character and explain who they are and that it was all pretend!
After lunch, the children go to Hove museum where they have a session looking at real Victorian artefacts and have the difficult job of trying to work out what some of them are used for.
The children had a great day and learned and awful lot about what life was like for a Victorian servant.
“It was a great trip but Mrs Storey scared me a lot!”
“I’m glad I don’t have to be a Victorian servant. I don’t think I’d survive!”
“My favourite part was whacking the carpet with the carpet basher.”
“The jam tarts we made were so delicious. I think I might try and make them at home as long as my Mum doesn’t treat me like a Victorian when I make them”
More photos can be found on the Parents Zone.