Silence is golden

Today we went to the Black Country Living Museum! It was such a beautiful day! First we walked around and talked to a worker outside this shoot.

It was really interesting to talk to him. At first he was asking us to guess how many people we think would be sent down around this bucket into the mine. We were all saying 4 people, maybe 6. He then explained how 12 people would arrange themselves to be sent down at once. He said that boys as young as 10 were sent down into the mines. It must’ve been really scary for them, and the only protection they had was a hat and a bandana. Also, the worker explained how horses were sent down into the mines. He showed us a picture of the horse tied up and harnessed to be sent down. It was really disturbing to see, but it’s not surprising that animals were treated like this. Humans were treated terribly as well. I found it interesting that women were no longer allowed to work in the mines because they were getting dirty and having to take their shirts off. I expected the reason to be that women needed to focus on having children and keeping their homes nice for their husbands. However, it was because women were showing indecency with men present.

Next, we went to the school and watched the show. This was my favorite show of the day. The teacher said that students weren’t allowed to use their left hand to write because it was believed that the devil sat on your left shoulder. The kids had to sit on their left hand so they couldn’t use it. It was interesting to learn about how important calligraphy was in their education. The students had an ink book where they would showcase their penmanship, and this is what possible employers would look at to decide if they wanted to hire this student. It was important for the work to be extremely neat, and the teacher explained the importance of getting the write amount of ink on the pen. The students had to make sure they got enough ink to finish the word because it needed to be one continuous line. If I was in school during this time, I do not think I would be successful in this skill because I am not neat and patient enough. Also, it was interesting that many families could only afford to send one kid to school and this kid would have to teach the rest of the children in the family. This sounds like a big responsibility. Also, on the board at the front of the classroom is said “silence is golden.” This is because there would be 200 students in the classroom at one time. I have no idea how 200 kids fit in this room. Everyone had to be silent because with just a few conversations, the room would be extremely loud and disrupt the other student’s learning. During this show, the teacher had everyone in the room say our 2’s and 3’s times tables in unison. I realized that I do not know my 3’s times table by heart. She explained that kids learned their times tables up to the 12 times table because 12 pennies was equal to 1 shilling. I found this interesting because we still learn up to the 12 times table in elementary school in the US today.

Next, we watched the nail makers show. He explained how nail makers were paid in tokens that could only be redeemed in certain places, mostly pubs. Each token was worth a pint of beer. However, people could not feed their family off of beer, so they tried to get other people to buy their tokens. People did not pay full price for the beer tokens, so these workers did 20 shillings worth of work in a day and would only end up making around 5 shillings.

After this, we stopped for lunch. I had fish and chips for the first time! It was good. I probably wouldn’t order fish and chips again, but I definitely had to try it once. I also got sparkling raspberry lemonade which was delicious. At lunch we were talking about how much less sweet the lemonade and other drinks are here. In the US, there really is so much extra sugar and salt added to everything we eat and drink.

After lunch, we went by the boat show and got to see the Peacock boat. The workers explained how 2 adults and 2 children would live in these boats. The boat was so small, and I cannot imagine living with my family in there. However, they explained that the people who lived in them actually had a better lifestyle because they did not have to pay for a cottage. He explained that many times a family would have 4 or 5 kids living in the boat. This wasn’t allowed, but people on other boats would warn each other when an inspector was near. When this happened, the kids would jump off and find a place to hide in the hedges. Then, once the inspector was gone, they would return.

Then, we went to the candy shop, and I bought a dandelion lollipop. There are a lot of dandelion flavored things here like candy and soda which is weird because I have never seen that in the US. It was so good though! Overall, it was a really nice day, and I enjoyed getting to be outside!

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