School trip proves history can be fun

St Aidan's Year 9 pupils enjoyed a history trip to Quarry Bank Mill, Styal in Cheshire. Pictured (left to right) are Brandon Wilkinson, Craig Whittaker, Nick Banks, teacher Mr Ray Schofield and Ellie Bradley.
St Aidan's Year 9 pupils enjoyed a history trip to Quarry Bank Mill, Styal in Cheshire. Pictured (left to right) are Brandon Wilkinson, Craig Whittaker, Nick Banks, teacher Mr Ray Schofield and Ellie Bradley.

A history lesson was taken outside the classroom as pupils at St Aidan’s CE Technology College enjoyed a trip to remember.

As part of their study of the Industrial Revolution, Year 9 students have been out and about seeing history come to life.

St Aidan's pupil Daniel Smith during the school's history trip to Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire.

St Aidan's pupil Daniel Smith during the school's history trip to Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire.

They took a trip back in time with a visit to Quarry Bank Mill at Styal, Cheshire. 

The mill is a National Trust property and has been preserved as a working cotton mill for visitors to have a taste of life in the Industrial Revolution. 

The students watched demonstration of all the developments in making fabric from hand spinning cotton yarn to massive machines making thousands of yards of fabric a day.

They got a sense of what it was like for children their age and younger to work in the mills for many hours a day.

This week they also got a chance to see steam power in miniature at work. 

Year 9 student Nick Banks, who is a model train enthusiast, brought in a fully working model steam train to help teacher Ray Schofield demonstrate the power of steam and how it changed the industrial landscape in the 1800s.

“Steam power was the rocket science of its day” said Mr Schofield.

“It made a tremendous difference to the way in which people lived their lives. 

“It is sometimes difficult for today’s young people to understand just how it revolutionised life, so I thought a practical demonstration would help. 

“The trip to Quarry Bank Mill also provided the opportunity for students to see and hear the real machines as they worked, and get a real idea about what it might have been like to work in a textile mill.”

Nick demonstrated how the miniature engine takes fuel in its firebox and heats up the water to steam that provided the power for the pistons to run the wheels.

Students were able to disengage the pistons and attach new rods which might show how other machines worked.

Mr Schofield added: “In History lessons, no amount of written sources, video footage or pictures can take the place of actually experiencing something!

“It’s also good to get a chance to do practical lessons occasionally.”