A Victorian lesson at St Fagans – Years 3 and 4

Years 3 and 4 went to St Fagans for a Victorian school lesson. We were taught by Mr Evans who made us do handwriting, history, reading and recite our times tables. We all had to write with our right hand, even the children who normally use their left hand! We were surprised how different our lessons are to the Victorian lessons and we really felt like Victorian children.

Take a look at our Victorian lesson in the slideshow below:

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As part of the history lesson we had to recite a poem about the kings and queens of Britain. We tried really hard to speak clearly and recite it correctly:


Here is Nivas’ recount of our trip to the Victorian school:

On Friday we went to a Victorian school at St Fagans. We learned what Victorian schools were like. On the trip we went inside the building and if you talk or behave badly you will be caned. In the playground boys play on one side and girls the other side. In Victorian schools you must write with your right hand and if you speak Welsh you will wear a necklace and your job is to catch another person who speak Welsh and if you do you tell the teacher and they have to wear it and at the end of the class whoever has the necklace will be caned.

When we entered the room we were dressed as a Victorian school child. Victorian school children learnt handwriting, maths and reading poems and history. When a grownups enters the room all the children must stand and if you don’t you will be caned. If you write with your left you will get something to stop you writing with your left hand.

For lunch you will go home and when the teacher rings the bell that means you have ten minutes to get ready to come back to school and if your late you will get caned.The boys learned drawing and girls learned sewing and cooking. In Victorian schools you have to be five to start and 13 to end school. The bigger children sat at bigger desks and tiny children sat in tiny desks. Victorian teachers were very strict. We had to learn handwriting and you must not fidget or talk. Sometimes if you were very naughty and you would have to write lines 100 times or more. I thought it was very bad and I would not like to be a Victorian.



Year 4 visit Big Pit

We had a great time visiting Big Pit recently. We completed a workshop called ‘Servants of the Empire’ to learn more about the jobs children might have done in a coal mine during the Victorian times. We then had an underground tour of the mines so we could really experience what it would be like working down there.

Aisha tells us more:

We went to the ‘Servants of the Empire’ workshop in the coal mine. We were practising pulling the dram and we also touched coal and our hands got black. We went to another room and we went through the pretend tunnel. Mrs Jones told us about what they ate and they ate some simple food like a cheese sandwich.

Then we went underground in a cage. Then I saw a real dram with real coal. It was really cold down there. When Mr Wayne told us to turn our lights off it was really dark, I couldn’t even see my own hand. We went to the horses stable and Mr Wayne showed us a picture of a horse dragging coal on his back. Then Mr Wayne showed us how the well works by touching two wires together. I ring means stop, 2 rings means come in and 3 rings means get out. After the bells Mr Wayne showed us a mandrel, an axe and a shovel. After that we went to see the davy lamp.

Finally we went to the King Coal exhibition. It was a movie about mining coal. It was telling us about how to get the coal with a chainsaw. They even showed us explosions like gas and fire.

Big Pit adventure by Josh

On the 18th of November  the whole class  went to big pit. We were testing  different drams to see if they were heavy  or light. Drams are wooden  crates which they used to pull the coal. Our whole group tried to pull the drams. One dram was hard because it had no wheels. one was easy because it had wheels. The instructor said to us in the Victorian times the wood was not as strong as the wood now. He said if one snapped all of them snap. at the end we got a goody bag. In the goody bag there was a key chain, a pencil, a rubber  and a note book.The key chain was of a helmet that you wear underground.




Big Pit by Grace

Helena told  us that there was a girl called Henrietta who was 11 years old.

Helena  put us in to groups of 3. I was with Ffion  and Alexandra. We got to touch real coal.

After that we pulled a big wooden box it had  fake coal but it was  still   heavy .

After  we went to see  a fake house it  was not real  we went in a black hole with

voices in there I was a bit scared it was dark it was a bit dusty. After that we had

lunch it was tasty. It was time to go under ground the lift was made of metal

I did like but it was scary it went really fast for minute.



Big Pit by Younis

On the 18th of November 2016 year 4 went to Big Pit. We went because we wanted to learn about the poor Victorian children who worked in the coal mine. A lady called Helena  taught us about the children who worked in the coal mine. Older children pulled a drams which was full of coal these people are called carters. Younger children opened and closed the doors these people are called trappers. Helena said we have to be detectives because she said we have to look for a real person in the Victorian times so we looked at some clues and we found out her name was Henrietta Franklin she was eleven years old and she was a carter.We tried to push a dram but it was fake coal but it was still hard I can’t imagine being in the coal mine.

We put coal on our face because we wanted to see how dirty we could get and when we held one piece of coal it was light when we held the hole box of coal it was heavy. Men and women had to wear hats and  t-shirts. They had metal lunchboxes because they didn’t want rats to eat their lunch and if they had glass lunchboxes because they could break and go pointy and it can go into your feet. They never had plastic lunchboxes because they were not made. They also had metal bottles for the same reasons as the metal lunchboxes.

Helena told our group that coal was a tree millions of years ago and we were amazed. She also said that the coal was really dirty. On another clue it said it was wet and damp in the coal mine which I would not like. Helena said some people didn’t like the job that they did. We tried to pull some different drams  and  some were really heavy. The first dram  was really light the second dram was kind of heavy the third dram was really heavy. Then we went into a tunnel it was really dark and it said some words.

Helena said that the Queen made a law that children under eleven are not aloud to work in the coal mine. But it wasn’t good news for Henrietta Franklin because she is eleven so years went on and the Queen made a law that women were not aloud to work in the coal mine. Helena told us that Big Pit was a coal mine and I was astonished  that Big pit was a coal mine. We learnt that men had to bath in such small metal baths. On another clue it said that Henrietta broke her ribs because a horse fell on her and she could not go work for two months so she never got any money for two months so maybe she couldn’t have food or she can’t afford a house which would be a really hard life.  Helena told us that some people told some other people to be directives and on the clues Henrietta was actually speaking to the directive. I think speaking to a directive is pretty cool.

Helena told us that little kids had to go up a slope with a dram and down a slope with a dram which is pretty hard.I think that if you work in a coal mine then you can die because the coal can give you a disease or if you are a trapper you can get injured because you can go to sleep and the dram can come and hit you. Helena told us that they did not have wheels because the owners did not want to get wheels because it costed money. The rich people probably owned the coal mine and the poor people had to work but they didn’t have to work because they could work as chimney sweepers or they could work in the factory but I would not like any of those because they are dangerous. Helena said that you have to use your feet and not your knees because you would burn your knees if you used your bare knees.Then it was lunch .

After that we went to a holding room to put our belts on and we wore hats with lights. Then we went to the main shaft the main shaft is basiccly a lift but it is called a main shaft and  you don’t have buttons you have to pull it with a rope but we never did that because a man working there did it for us which was pretty helpful. After we went down to see the coal mine it was really really dark. I was kind of scared at the beginning but then I realized there was nothing to be scared of. The man who was teaching us was called Gus. Gus led us into the coal mine there were two wires he said that if you do it twice it meant that you can go and if you did it once it meant stop. Then there was a wierd thing it had two buttons one was red and one was green if you pressed the green button it meant go and if you pressed the red button it meant stop this is the new version and the one that had the wires was the old version.

Then we walked and saw some stables the stables were empty because they were dead Gus told us that horses were treated better than men because they costed money and children did not. They bought candles for the horses and if children could not afford it then they had to work in total darkness. The last horse who was there was called Impact he worked until 1982 the people went on strike then the queen said they should not do this and no one worked there ever again. Then there was a big machine Gus did not say the name but it was very very cool so you step on this thing and then some machines move but sadly we did not see that because that was to danegerous.

Then there was something like a tunnel at the top of the tunnel there was some wood Gus said that the wood always burned and fell down and it could hit people’s head so they thought that was safe but then there was a then there was a metal thing and it did not fall down so they thought it was not safe but now we know it is safe. Then Gus told me to wear a mask which helped you not smell smoke. Then we went to watch a movie and it told us about coal mines then we went to the shop got goody bags and went to school inside the goody bag there was a keychain a notebook and a pencil and a rubber then we went home.


Year 4 visit Big Pit @BigPitMuseum


On Friday Year 4 visited Big Pit. We had a wonderful time and learnt so much about working in a coal mine. Seeing the coal mine for ourselves really helped us to understand what it must have been like working there as a miner.

Everyone there was so helpful and shared lots of information with us. We particularly enjoyed our workshop with Helena and our underground tour with Gus.

The children in Year 4 have written their own recounts of their time at Big Pit so please take some time to read them if you’d like to hear more.

Here are out photos of our trip to Big Pit:

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Big Pit adventures by Dan

On Friday 18th November 2016 year 4  went to Big Pit to see a coalmine it was dark and damp. before we went into the coal mine. We went into a room with a dram the dram was used for pulling the coal from one place to another the dram had no wheels.There were four different activities to do the first one was going into a dark tunnel there were tiny speakers that talked.The person who was talking was Henrietta Franklin we learned about her. The second activity was looking at clothes that the people in the mine   would of worn my friend was so brave and he tried it on! The next activity was pulling a dram full of fake coal. The last activity was touching coal and putting it on our hands and faces.

We had lunch and we went down into the coal mine in the lift shaft. The lift shaft went down ninety meters there were lots of horses. Then owners treated the horses better than children because if the horses became blind  they would cost money but the children don’t cost money in the mine I was a trapper and my job was to open the door for other people we stopped at a tunnel and we all turned are lights off  so we knew how it felt for the people in Victorian times. It was pitch black there was no light  at all. Some people even cried!





Big Pit visit by Faris

On Friday 18 of November 2016

My class went to Big pit. It was a long way. First we went to a room and met a lady called Helena. She asked some questions about Victorians. She said talk to someone next to you about how it would be like in the Victorians. After that we were split in to groups 3 or 4 then there were 4 groups. 2 of the groups went to the other room one group went to the other room the activities  were pulling a cart, going under a small door and see what it would have been like for children, holding coal and seeing what it was like in a Victorian cottage. Then the groups swapped over it was really fun. I would never have that job.Victorian children worked in factories 16 hours.

Then we went to have lunch when we finished we walked to the place were you go underground. We had to wait 10 minutes and we had to have a special belt and hat. The lift was not like a normal one it was a red one it went 90 meters underground. It was cold underground. When we went we were walking the man told us about the bells the wires could make sparks my friend Jay pressed the button and it made a ding ding sound.

Then we went to the horse stables. King was a special horse. Then we went to the wooden doors the children had to push them in the Victorians. We turned are lights off it was pitch black. Then we were going back the man told us about the machines . Then he told us about the Davy lamp it wasn’t that bright then we went back to the surface. There was a cinema that was 10 minutes we saw a machine the man was funny. In the cinema there were loud bangs. Then we went back to school.

I would not like to be a Victorian child it is a dirty job.it would be dark and dusty. Men had to push carts. Children only got 5p a day. The name of the man is gus.









On Friday 18th November year 4 went to Big Pit and first we met a lady called Helena she told us how hard it would be if we were in Victorian age coal miners.We were in 4 groups and there were three and fours 2 were 3 and 4 after that we were going in the coal mine! But we had to wait a long time about 10 minutes and we watched TV.

Then we got coal mine safety equipment a helmet, light and just a belt then we went down a lift called a lift shaft. It was kind of noisy when we got down we were half way down the coal mine that exploded.The man who came talked and at the end he passed some coal around. It was kind of big about a size of a cube.Then walked down the coal mine and then he told us what a bell was for it was for when the coal is coming down and 1 ring was to stop and 2 was keep going then he asked us to cover the light then it looked like fireworks in the dark.

We walked then to the trappers and showed how to open it and would happen if their candle went out.It was bitch black I could not see a thing so I knew Younis was beside me so I held his coat.Then he told us to switch our lights on.Then we walked some more then.Then he told us there was horses underground they had all different names were  Shadow and King and their was others but I can’t remember them all. Next we walked some more in the tunnel and we were in a gas room Blake C  was standing on a stall made of metal.And there was a little bell and a instruction board with 1,2 and 3 beat bell.Then finally we were going out of Big Pit it was a bit slow at the bottom then a little faster every second and the same lift we were going at the start.We didn’t keep the things we wore but got a goody bag! But I have not opened it yet.



On the 18th of November we went to Big Pit. It was a little bit scary underground but I got used to it. It was exciting to go there but scary as well. We did not see all of it but I think we saw the best. But it was super scary to go underground and to put our lights off. We saw all of the horses beds it must of been scary for the horses in the dark all alone. We saw where all the children was opening the doors and closing them.

In the workshop there was a dress on the table no one tried it on but I did! They had a little version of the coal mine you cud hear little voices and the people out side can pull little rope and when you are in it you can hear  banging as well.We had a pretend mine cart to pull it was hard and that was just a pretend one they would need help them with coal in it! When we went on the bus it was one hour pretty long.To be honest it was colder out side than underground.We smudge coal on our faces to make us look like miners.We read cards and stuff and we even saw a movie about miners and saw a thing what it would for the miners it felt like real life in side it and there was a big drill and a man was guiding us along the way and there was a red lift that pulled us up and down.