School Visit to Heritage Centre Feb 2009

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 afternoon.

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.