Lesson 4 - A Child's WeekHome life
By 1887 Ashington had become a model pit village under the ownership of the Ashington Coal Company, who had built 665 houses in 11 long rows running east to west. The majority of these houses were two storeys high and had four rooms. Downstairs was a kitchen and a sitting-room, with two bedrooms upstairs. The toilets (netties) were outside in the back yard. The houses were considered to be much more comfortable than the usual housing for working people, but as the miners’ families were often very large, there can’t have been much room!
The sources you will look at for the first five questions are about life at home and in the streets of Ashington in about 1900.
Click on the images to make them larger.
1. Look at the photograph of the kitchen and fireplace.
2. Look at the photograph of the back lane.
3. Look at the photograph of the woman standing beside a barrel.
4. Look at the photograph of the two women and child sitting down.
5. Look at the photograph of the two boys with the barrow.
a. Where are the boys?
In 1873, a new school was established to educate the sons and daughters of the miners of Ashington. The money to build it was raised through church funds and public subscription, the most prominent subscriber being the Ashington Coal Company. Before this, children had been taught at two small schools, but because of the growth in the mining industry in the second half of the 19th century, these schools were no longer sufficient to serve the needs of the increasing population. Also, by the end of the 19th century, new laws were passed which meant that more children were going to school. In 1880, elementary education was made compulsory for all children, although they still had to pay for schooling until the 1891 Free Education Act allowed most children to receive a free elementary education. The minimum school leaving age was raised to 12 in 1899.
Every day the headmaster of a school would write down in the school log book what had happened, including what the children would be learning, how many children were absent and any unusual incidents. The next two questions are about log book entries for Hirst County Primary School, another Ashington school built to accommodate the needs of the expanding population.
1. Look at school log book page number 64.
Classes could be very large! At Bothal School, in the late 1890s, one teacher had a class of 104 children, with the assistance of only one pupil teacher, who would be a former pupil training as a teacher by helping a qualified member of staff.
3. Look at the copy book cover from a school in Alwinton, Northumberland, in 1905.
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|Printed from Woodhorn web site.