On Tuesday 19th April, Year 5 began their day by dressing in their 1940s evacuee outfits and collecting their ration lunch in their gas mask box and heading off to New Mills Newtown Station. They were greeted by three adults who resembled staff from New Mills Primary School (but definitely not dressed as normal!). Each child was handed an evacuation label and their National ID card as they said goodbye to their parents.
The journey to Stockport didn’t take too long. A plaque at the train station showed how important the people of Stockport were in caring for the evacuees. The class then walked to Stockport museum to learn how to be the perfect evacuee! They were taught about the blackout rules, what to do in an air raid and the signs and signals to know that an air raid was taking place. They all tried on a gas mask and learnt how to work together to put out a fire.
Next the children had a go with genuine artefacts from the period: irons, washing items, a mangle, knitting, plaiting, rag rugging, a carpet sweeper and a carpet beater.
Tucking into their ration lunch was next on the agenda – sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper and tied with string replaced the usual cling film and plastic boxes! Following lunch, the class headed to the Air raid shelters (via a not particularly direct route) and were greeted, once again, by Mrs Hodgkinson, who showed them round the shelters, encouraging them to join in with renditions of wartime songs.
On leaving the shelters, Year 5 thought they were going straight back to the train station but they set off to the Wedding Cake (Stockport Town Hall). When they arrived, Mrs Williams told them to check that their partner looked as smart as they had done first thing that morning because, waiting inside the hall, were the new families who would care for them during their time there. Year 5 followed the instructions, feeling a little unsure as to what was happening! After taking a final photograph of the group (to send back to school!), Mrs Williams told them all to step out of role and come back to 2016!
The children behaved impeccably for the whole day. The weather was perfect. And Year 5 most certainly brought smiles to the faces of the people they passed; both on foot and people in their cars. Several members of the public made positive comment about the children which is always lovely to hear. Well done everyone!