Victorian classroom
The Victorian classroom at Leeds Industrial Museum
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Museum opens up top class heritage attraction

Museum-goers are in for a history lesson with a difference this weekend as they head back to school in an authentic Victorian classroom.

The atmospheric attraction at Leeds Industrial Museum will be open to the public this Sunday as part of the national Heritage Open Days programme, when entry to the museum will also be free.

Normally only open for school visits, the classroom will give people the chance to see what life was like for children in the 1890s, with banks of rigid wooden desks, writing slates, inkwells and a vintage piano used for music lessons.

They will also get to meet a Victorian schoolmaster played by Coullin Meikle from 2pm until 4pm.

Coullin said: “The classroom is, in itself, already part of Leeds’s heritage. I meet adults who visited as a school child and can still recall their Victorian name. It really is like stepping back in time as soon as you walk through the door.

“There’s something very evocative about how disciplined and strict life was back then, and children who come for school trips are always captivated by how different school was for Victorian children compared to what they know today.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming more visitors of all ages this weekend and giving them a chance to use their imaginations.”

As well as opening up the classroom, Leeds Industrial Museum will also be hosting a curator tour of the Women, Work and War exhibition on Thursday, September 7, which examines the role women in Leeds played in the First World War.

On Friday, September 8 at 11am there will be a special tour of the currently closed locomotive collection and a chance to talk to the curator.

Then on Saturday, September 9 from 11am to 4pm visitors can see the museum’s incredible Mill Engine at work as well as seeing the locomotive gallery between 11.30am and 12pm and again from 2.30pm to 3pm.

Tours of the textile gallery will also take place throughout the week.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries said:

“There is so much history to be found at our museums and galleries sites and some of the exhibits and attractions paint a vivid picture of what life in Leeds has been like over the centuries.

“It’s fantastic that we’re giving people the chance to explore their local heritage in new and different ways and I’m sure it will be a memorable experience for visitors this week.”

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