The world has changed in very many ways since Packwood was founded back in 1892 and pupils and staff experienced life in the past yesterday on their special Victorian Day. Everyone arrived at school dressed in period costume and a rousing chorus of the national anthem during a traditional assembly helped set the mood.
Coincidentally, 1892 was also the year of publication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ so staff incorporated elements of investigation and deduction into the various workshops that ran throughout the day in place of normal lessons. There was ‘Live Cluedo’, Code cracking, and sessions investigating Victorian toys and using ‘Elementary’ chemicals to solve mysteries.
Children also had the chance to perform Victorian music hall acts, play Victorian sports and build bridges for a model steam train to cross. A highlight of the day was lunch, taken refectory-style at long tables and consisting fortunately, not of gruel but of wholesome chicken or vegetable stew.
In the afternoon we were joined by Sherlock Holmes expert, David Stuart Davies. Mr Davies proved to be an excellent speaker who kept his young audience rapt with his fascinating talk about the great detective and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Meanwhile, the pre-prep children in Packwood Acorns spent the day as Victorian pupils with teachers and children all dressed accordingly. Classrooms were transformed into Victorian style rooms with desks in rows and the children worked on their Victorian style handwriting and chanted times tables. They learned about Queen Victoria, her family tree and the main events of her reign and, by way of contrast, looked at the lives of the child chimney sweeps in the Victorian era.
Victorian Day is just one of the many events taking place throughout this academic year as part of Packwood’s 125th anniversary celebrations. Head of History, Mr Weston, explains, “Our aim was to give the children a snapshot of life in Victorian times and what the world was like when Packwood first opened. Everyone had a great day – and, happily, all avoided six of the best from the Headmaster’s cane!”