Victorian children, aged 10 and 11, practised their reading and writing by producing cross-stitch samplers, using letters and numbers.
Year 6 pupils from Brockswood primary school in Hemel Hempstead and St Hilda’s School in Harpenden worked with the Dacorum Heritage Trust on a Victorian project, looking at ‘What life was like for Victorian children’ by designing and making their own samplers.
Museum staff ran introductory workshops about life in Victorian times, using our handling collection to demonstrate the hardships of living in the early 19th century. Pupils had the opportunity to study objects and photographs of adults and children and thought about the differences and similarities between their lives and ours.
Looking closely at the samplers, pupils learnt about the history of samplers, why and how they were made and thought about how they have survived for over 200 years.
Digital images of the samplers were sent to the school to act as inspiration for the children’s own designs, which they plotted on graph paper before starting to sew. Both groups had 6 weeks to complete their samplers before we revisited the school with certificates of participation and to see their work.
The pictures below show a selection of samplers from pupils at both schools.