On Thursday 26th February, more than thirty year six pupils
from Cross Gates Primary School accompanied by their teacher Mr Lynch
and three teaching assistants enjoyed a visit to the East Leeds Heritage
Centre based in Gross Gates Library. The children had been learning about
the Victorian era and wanted to relate what they had learnt to what was
happening in their own area at that time. As part of the afternoon's activities
volunteers from the East Leeds History and Archaeology Society (ELHAS)
had prepared a photographic display of local images from the late Victorian
period. Also, using items loaned from the Leeds Museums Discovery Centre,
a display cabinet of Victorian toys had been set up.
Following a welcome
and introduction by society President, Bob Lawrence, ELHAS member Jacki
Lawrence, dressed in a late Victorian costume, gave a short talk about
the growth and development of Cross Gates in the Victorian period. Information
given in the talk led to lively discussion with the children about schools
and working conditions during the 19th century, and the consensus of opinion
amongst the children was that they were relieved to be children of the
21st century! However they really enjoyed the talk and were intrigued
to be able to see a genuine penny black stamp. (The first British postage
stamp introduced by Sir Rowland Hill in 1840)
After the talk other ELHAS volunteers spent time with the children looking
at and explaining the displays in the centre and poring over maps of Cross
Gates showing how the area had changed from 1894 to the present time.
They were naturally interested in the Victorian toys, but also found much
to talk about amongst the other displays, such as the Victoria Cross and
Barnbow Munitions Factory commemorative displays.
The Coal Mining and local Agriculture displays also generated a great
deal of interest, and the children left the Heritage Centre, chatting
about what they had learned, having enjoyed a relaxed and informative
ELHAS members were delighted to be able to welcome the children to the
Heritage Centre and are always willing to be involved with local schools
in this way.