|It was a pleasure to welcome children from Arkengarthdale School to Reeth yesterday. At the Swaledale Museum they explored fragments of objects which the curator, Helen, had found. The children concentrated on some excellent close-observational drawings for a while and then went on a treasure hunt around the Museum to find complete objects to match the fragments. They came back with medicine bottles, china cups, jam jars, stoneware bottles and a bread pancheon; all familiar objects from 100 or so years ago but not in common use today. After discussing the function and design of their finds, the children enjoyed a lively session of dressing up in clothes from Victorian times, assisted by Jane Sammells of Curriculum Kitchen. Teacher Mrs Thomas bravely modelled some voluminous bloomers, the boys looked smart in top hats and bowlers and a variety of aprons were tried ranging from lacy ones for best down to sacking ones for hard and dirty jobs.
The children were then led on a Social History walk by Judith and Alan Mills, finding out how to tell the age of a building from the shape and design of windows and doors, how to tell which of two buildings was built first, and whether it had been extended. Some of the oldest houses in Reeth originally had thatched roofs. We learned that there were seven pubs at one time in Reeth and shops selling everything the residents might need: shoemakers, drapers, grocers, butchers. The banks at one time had their own currency and the children were each given a "five pound note", though they were warned that they might have trouble spending it!