Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thwaites Mill Trip

Thwaite Mills in Leeds is well worth a visit. We went with a group of Home Edders to take part in some World War II workshops followed by a tour of the museum. Boykin and The Girl dressed up complete with gasmask boxes and evacuee labels. (The museum gave us gasmask boxes to use, labels to wear and ID cards to keep at the start of the day too).

The staff were lovely and friendly and I hope they enjoyed themselves as much as we did. The first workshop was about the air raids, gas masks and what it would've been like to be evacuated. They got to handle gas masks and a replica incendiary bomb, hear the gas warning rattle and the air raid siren and hide in an Anderson shelter.
 After that, we went into the mill and learnt how putty is made and had a go at glazing. They also looked at some German recon maps and discussed what we thought would be likely targets for bombing raids in this area.
The last workshop we did was on rationing. The chidren all got a turn at weighing out the weekly rations for an adult and were reminded that their ration would've been smaller. We were really surprised at the small amount of bacon they got. 2 oz. Not even enough for a butty! And I'm not sure how I would've managed with the amount of tea we would've been allowed either. Mind you, I think the 1oz per week of sweets would've been much better for my children's teeth :0)
An adult ration for a week
After lunch we were taken on a guided tour of the museum and saw it in all it's working glory. We learnt that conscientious objectors worked there during the war and even further back people had been paid a shilling to pull any dead bodies out of the river. They were paid more for pulling them out of the canal which ran down the other side of the 7.5 mile island that the mill sits on, so you can guess what they did. Yep. They pulled them out of the river, dropped them into the canal and then dragged them out again to claim the higher rate of pay. Ugh!

Lifting 8cwt of chalk

We were so blessed with the weather - even though it was cold, the sun shone all day.
I'd really recommend going there for a trip. It's only open at weekends and during schoolholidays and for special events. Other than that, you have to book a group visit for one of the 3 different workshops they do there. Thank you so much to those who organised todays outing. We very much enjoyed it and learnt a lot in the process. Just perfect :0)

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