Year 5 students at S. Anselm’s School recently took a trip to Stockport, where they were transported back in time to World War II. Dressed in the clothing of evacuees, the students were taken to the Stockport Air Raid Shelters, which are almost one mile of underground tunnels dug beneath the city during the war to protect its inhabitants from air raids.
The experience was completely immersive, with the children learning about how up to 4,000 people would huddle together on wooden benches or in bunks during air raids, often singing songs to keep up their spirits. They also learned about the important work happening at the nurses’ station and had the opportunity to examine the bunks that are still in place today.
At lunchtime, the students were served rations and played games from the 1940s, including skittles and rummy, as well as with toys such as wooden yo-yos. In the afternoon, the children practiced putting on air masks, cranked the air siren, and tried out a Morrison Shelter. They also learned how to perform household chores from the era, using tools such as the mangle, steam iron, and carpet beater.
At the “clothes exchange,” the students swapped clothing items, with outfits such as the “siren suit,” candlewick bedspread coat, and knitted balaclava and pixie hats being popular choices.
Overall, it was a lovely day out for the students of S. Anselm’s School, filled with valuable learning experiences that can be further explored in the classroom. Visiting historical sites like the Stockport Air Raid Shelters can be a powerful way to help students understand the past and develop a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made by previous generations.