Leeds pupils step back in time to experience life in a Victorian classroom

A group of Leeds school pupils turned time travellers this week when they got an authentic lesson in Victorian life at Leeds Industrial Museum.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:45 am

The museum’s unique schoolroom, which replicates the feel of what school was like for children more than a century ago, welcomed pupils from Manor Wood School, who were the first group to head back to class there since the site closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The schoolroom has been a popular trip for generations of the city’s young people and comes equipped with rigid wooden desks, writing slates, inkwells and a vintage piano used for music lessons.

Leeds Museums and Galleries' learning and access officer Coullin Meikle even steps into the role of a stern Victorian schoolmaster, putting pupils through their academic paces and running them through an old school PE drill in the schoolyard.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Pupils from Manor Wood Primary School take part in Victorian classroom lessons at Leeds Industrial Museum. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

He said: “The classroom is a true Leeds institution that’s inspired generations of young people and there are countless adults out there all across the city who still remember their own visit.

"Children absolutely love seeing what life was like for their Victorian counterparts and getting a first-hand insight into how much school has changed since the introduction of board schools in the 1870s.

“It’s all great fun, but also a fantastic and immersive learning experience that they can take away and apply to their lessons at their own school.

“We’ve really missed having schools in and it’s great to have them and all our other visitors back experiencing the museums and finding out all about the city’s past and innovations.”

Pupils from Manor Wood Primary School take part in Victorian classroom lessons at Leeds Industrial Museum. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds Industrial Museum and other Leeds Museums and Galleries sites welcomed back visitors this week, returning to normal opening hours.

Virtual visits and exhibitions will also continue to be available online.

Coun Mary Harland, executive member for culture and economy, said: “It’s wonderful to know that our museums and galleries will be able to open their doors to the public and give everyone the opportunity to explore our incredible collection in person once again.

“There has been a tremendous amount of hard work going on behind the scenes to ensure all of our sites are ready to welcome people back, with COVID-secure measures fully in place and an exciting programme of exhibitions and events to enjoy.

“There really is nothing quite like paying a visit to a museum and our staff can’t wait to see people rediscovering Leeds’s rich history and heritage.”

Visitors can find out more about any pre-booking requirements on the Leeds Museums and Galleries' website at https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/ or each venue's social media.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.