Visit to Southwell Workhouse – Wednesday 25th September 2014

Forms 5 and 6 took a step back in time today when they visited the Workhouse at Southwell to experience life as the poor Victorian children did in the 1840s.  The Workhouse is owned by the National Trust and has been preserved just as it was used.  Stark, scrubbed stone floors and cold rooms with high windows were not what the children were expecting to find as classrooms.

Separated into girls and boys (as the children were in those days educated) and dressed in cloth caps and old shirts, the Highfields children were transported back to the harsh days of the mid 19th century when hard discipline was the norm.  Actors pretended to be teachers and stayed in character like the workhouse masters in “Oliver Twist”.  The children were given “lessons” in the very classrooms once used by the workhouse poor.  It was a shock to see the bare and unwelcoming rooms in which children their age once spent their days and they got a real sense of the hardship those poor children and their families endured.

It was great to get back to Highfields after such an experience!