31st March 2000 at 01:00
(Photograph) - A day in the life of Carpenters primary school, London borough of Newham

Children working in a 19th century mill would have included rat catching as part of their job. The workhouse inmates, many as young as today's primary pupils, had to bang on pipes and drains to flush the vermin out. This was one of the facts that a class of 30 from Carpenters primary discovered when they dressed in the costume of the time for a visit to the Miller's House on nearby Three Mile Island. The largest tidal mill in the country has been rescued from dereliction and now has a new life as a living history project for 3,000 school visitors a year. Simon Lee, education manager for the Lower Lea project, said there had been a mill on the site since the Domesday Book but the latest restoration had recreated the 1870s version when the mill ground wheat for making into London gin. As well as the living history project, there are boat trips and environmental and art projects based on the river Lea. Kay Douglas, a class teachr at Carpenters, said the children had studied Oliver Twist but had still been amazed by working conditions of the time. Once they had overcome their hestitation about dressing up they had really enjoyed the trip, and it had been so handy - only 20 minutes' walk from the school.

Snaps by Joel Chant

Flushing out rats by banging on pipes: Isaac Olarewaju and Namrata Patel

Tide of talk: a millworker explains the workings of the mill

Mill owner and Hampshire MP Mr Nicholson (alias actor Michael Coghlan) explains his business to Sait Kacar and Leon February

Dressing the part: Airat Adelakun, centre left, and Lewis Neckles

Hard times: discussing life in the workhouse and at the mill

At the millstone: Emmanuel Asomogh-Dan and Sinead Grimes-Abrah

Catherine McDonagh of Clio's Theatre Company plays a mill worker

If you would like your school to feature in Snapshots please write to TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or e-mail

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