Can you hear the Clogs Clattering in the Street? (Weaver’s Cottage Experience)
Shiny faces glow in the firelight, eager to learn what’s for supper tonight. They’ve just returned from a long, tiring day at the mill, crawling beneath heavy machinery and joining silken threads when they snap. Millie fiddles with the mop-cap, worn to protect her flowing curls from the snatch of mill machinery. Fred wriggles in his hand-me –down trousers; they once belonged to his Pa.
“What do you think we’re having for supper tonight?” I ask.
Hands reach up nervously, “Porridge Ma.”
It’s Saturday night 1892.
“No,” I say. “We’re having a special treat tonight, lovely bread and dripping.” Everyone looks “delighted”.
Supper over, the old zinc bath is placed in front of the fire. It’s bath night and the children clamour to be first to take their turn. “Don’t slip on the carbolic,” I warn one eager infant, as he climbs into the tub. Next it’s off to bed, sleeping “top to tail” with seven brothers and sisters. Curiously, there are plenty of volunteers for bed time!
Monday morning has arrived; I look down into Macclesfield’s chilly streets. “There’s a lot of folk going to the mill already. Can you hear the clattering of their clogs in the street?” I hold up a pair of clogs and indicate the metal, horse shoe shapes, on the wooden soles. The children listen intently.
“These are your clogs. Be thankful you don’t have to walk to the mill barefoot.”
Ears strain to hear the clatter of clogs; no-one seems to notice the hum of busy traffic on Churchill Way. Slowly, shyly hands are raised.
“I hear them Ma. I hear the clogs,” says one particularly imaginative 7 year old. Suddenly, everyone can hear them!
Did these children really arrive in Macclesfield on a coach from Stockport this morning? Have they really forgotten what life is like in the 21st century? For a moment it seems they have.
Year 2 pupils from a local school are Victorian children. They’ve thrown themselves into the part: fetching the water from the pump, helping with the washing, playing with Victorian toys.
Even their teachers have traveled back into the past. “If only today’s children were seen and not heard,” one exhausted, visiting teacher was heard to say as she wearily descended the cold stone stairs at the end of the day.
That’s what history is like at the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield, a real immersion into the past.
Don’t forget to bring your imagination and perhaps you too will hear the clattering clogs!
Experience The Victorian Weaver’s Cottage, The Victorian Schoolroom and a choice of Victorian workshops.
Time: 10am - 2pm Price £7.50 per child.