A Victorian School Day
Over the last several years the museum has developed a programme for visits to the cottage by both primary and secondary classes. The many artefacts and the authentic conditions in the cottage offer excellent examples of life in the Edwardian to mid 20th century period in a compact and real environment as opposed to viewing artefacts in a museum display.
The timeline is well preserved and visible. The original floor tiles are laid directly on the earth and there is no plaster on the brick walls - but the 'Best Room', modernised in the 1950's, has a wooden floor and plastered walls. The original, communal water supply is still a few yards down the road and the later cold water tap is in the garden. Only in the 1970's was a single cold tap put inside the cottage. The only hot water source is from the boiler beside the black range. There are candles by the bed and the original single, overhead electric light and switch, installed in 1937, are still there. The privy with a bucket and wooden seat is still at the bottom of the garden and was in use and being emptied by the council as late as 1978.
Children can see how furniture, tools and utensils were used and learn something about the lifestyle enjoyed by great grandmother as she worked with few if any electrically operated appliances, stoked the fire even in summer and spent most of each Monday doing the laundry! In those days conservation and recycling came naturally - scraps of material were turned into rugs for the floor, frayed shirts were cut and hand-stitched to make a bedspread for the spare room and left-over food was fed to the pigs. At the same time they will perhaps appreciate the relatively calm and tranquil existence without a phone or computer and an altogether simpler existence.