Great on hard grind

27th September 1996 at 01:00
Tom Deveson finds plenty of action in a resource book on work in the 19th century. VICTORIAN BRITAIN AND QUARRY. Bank Mill. A Resource Book for Teachers at Key Stage 2 By Rosemary Rees and Janet Withersby Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Cheshire SK9 4LA

We went to the museum. Ranjit was sick on the bus and Miss told Michelle off." If your class remember mainly the trivia of their trips, you probably want to think about why and where you're going and what you'll see when you get there. These books will help the process.

Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire is an exemplary place to study the Victorians for key stage 2 history, though its story runs from the inventive 1780s to the declining 1950s. Its 300 looms embodied the confidence of the high tide of 19th century prosperity, while its woeful collection of apprentices from all over the country revealed the darker side of paternalistic management The booklet gives very helpful insight into the nature of work, filling in the background of Factory Acts and the 10 Hour Movement, with telling quotations both from adults like Cobbett and children like little William Pickles: "We used to get thumped by the overseer."

There's an excellent flow chart explaining the nature of duties in a mill.The life of owners and workers that surrounds the mill - it's the world of Mrs Gaskell's Mary Barton - is further illuminated by excerpts from commissions and reports describing housing and sanitation.

Above all, the classic Victorian theme of Power is shown by the harnessing of water and steam. There are many suggested activities involving science and maths as well as historical investigation. The booklet carries its scholarly baggage lightly. Used carefully it will support a visit that can truly be called educational.

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