Moving to Victorian Manchester

 pupils at the gallery


Child participating in gallery workshop

Please note that this workshop will only be running until Fri 30th March 2012.

Pupils meet a 19th Century rural family who are leaving the country to embark on a new life in Manchester. Find out how they fare in this rapidly changing city and understand how different sections of society interacted and built the foundations of the Manchester we know today.

Aims (Skills, Knowledge, Outcomes)

  • To stimulate empathy and understanding around issues relating to the migration of richer and poorer families to major cities such as Manchester.
  • To discover how mid-Victorian Manchester was very much shaped by the migration of people in and out of the city.
  • To use different artworks to help develop a greater understanding of the social historical context of Victorian Manchester, and the differences between the lives of the rich and poor
  • To consider the philosophical issues of philanthropy and accessibility to art through the context of Thomas Horsfall and the Manchester Art Museum
  • To engage pupils in an evaluation of our Pre-Raphaelite collection and their relevance to present day Manchester.

What happens in a workshop

The children are introduced to two contrasting families using paintings from the gallery’s Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian collections. They explore the similarities and differences of the families’ situations.

Using a range of drama techniques pupils will explore characters’ thoughts and feelings about leaving the countryside, and discover who inhabited the streets of Manchester during the mid-Victorian era.

Role playing members of both a middle and working class family, the children imagine what it felt like to live in Victorian Manchester then meet Thomas Horsfall, a social reformer and philanthropist, and enact a lively public meeting concerning the creation of the Manchester Art Museum.

Prepare for your visit

Discuss with the children the value of experiencing real artworks through a gallery visit, rather than seeing reproductions.

It is helpful, but not essential, for pupils to have some basic knowledge of the Victorian era. The session can be used to reinforce and extend children’s knowledge of the different sections of Victorian society, strengthening knowledge with the introduction what was happening in Victorian Manchester.

What people are saying about the workshop

This session works brilliantly for our Victorian topic and connects with the key text, Street Child by Berlie Doherty that we use to introduce the issues and concerns relating to the rich and the poor living in Victorian society. I’ve gained new historical connections that I can continue to explore back at school. Teacher

I loved how we use drama to help us become people in the paintings, becoming actors to bring the people to life helps me understand what was happening. Pupil

We have been learning about Victorians in school and the workshop taught us lots more. Pupil

How to book

Children playing at workshop
Find out how to plan your visit.