The College students have been learning about the Industrial Revolution in History and one of the issues which have caught their attention has been the use of child labour. As well as learning and writing about why child labour was used and the eventual reform acts, the students have responded creatively too, writing poems about characters they have found out about and most recently by visiting Quarry Bank Mill.
Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire, England, is one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution and is now a museum of the cotton industry. It provides a unique experience as one of Britain's greatest industrial heritage sites, showing how a complete industrial community lived. The mill is on the bank of the River Bollin which provided water to power the waterwheels. It was connected by road to the Bridgewater Canal for transporting raw cotton from the port of Liverpool.
The museum has working machines and the clattering sounds and sights, still processing cotton, brought the history of the people and place alive for the College students. However it was the guided tour of the Apprentice House which brought the biggest reaction from Kinder. They experienced a little of the life of the pauper children: visiting the austere school room, the over-crowded dormitories, the sick room with its brimstone and treacle and herbal remedies as well as hearing the stories of children who had lived there a century ago including those who had run away and who were then brought back and punished, those who were injured, those who were ill. Certainly Kinder’s schooling felt very privileged in comparison!