It was a bleak, damp and cold afternoon when our Year 6 historians set off to Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet; perfect conditions to ensure we understood the nature of living and working in industrial Sheffield in the 19th century!
Immediately after lunch, the children explored the various roles that men and women played at the hamlet throughout the century. They learnt about the trials and tribulations of the grinders, borers, crucible makers and many more who worked in the forge as well as the daily life of the manager of the business. They gained a deep understanding of how work in the 19th century compared to that of modern times and understood just how tough lives were.
Chris was the expert guide and ensured that everyone was given a range of fascinating anecdotes, not least a story of how, in 1842, the Grinding Hull was blown up in protest at the manager employing non-union labour. Chris also told the story of Joshua Tyzak, a manager at the works. Tyzak was shot five times by those who resented his authoritarian regime and this really illustrated the tensions that could be found in a small community that supplied half the world with steel tools.
It was a brief foray into the life of an industrial worker but it was a fascinating one and the children gained a great deal from the experience and were a pleasure to be with.