Lottery-funded project in Wisbech will take schoolchildren back to Victorian times

SCHOOLCHILDREN will apply to be servants, research Census returns and maybe even end up in gaol in a lottery-funded Victorian project at Wisbech Castle.

The Wisbech Heritage Education Project aims to give primary school pupils a taste of what childhood was like in Victorian times, promising a “truly unique educational experience”.

Funding has been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund to stage the special scheme, titled ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’.

Children from Leverington Primary Academy, Gorefield Primary School and Elm Road Primary School will don Victorian costumes before gathering at Wisbech Castle on Wednesday.

They will take part in a role play at the castle, where they will be ‘applying for a job’ as a trainee servant.

The youngsters will research real Victorian children using Census returns, maps, photos, newspapers and trade directories kept at Wisbech Library.

They will also experience the contrasting lives of children born into wealthy families and child prisoners in Wisbech Gaol, using the resources at the Wisbech & Fenland Museum.

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The project, co-ordinated by Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service (CEES), is a partnership between Wisbech Professional Development Centre - based at the castle, library and museum.

Visits to the three centres will run every month until May 2013. It is part of a wider project to encourage understanding of, and care for, the rich heritage of Wisbech. For more information visit: