WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR GRACE DARLING?
In today's lesson the children will learn a little bit about what life was like in the Darling household through some acting. Remind the children that Grace was born in the Victorian era, back then people thought it was polite to cover up as much as possible so you could start by asking your child to wear a hat, long skirt/trousers and a long sleeve top.
Read out the following extract and your child can act it out as you say it, pause regularly to ask them how they are feeling;
Boys and girls would have seperate jobs, explain the brothers or sisters would have had to share their bedroom as there were only three bedrooms for the 11 people in the lighthouse. They would begin their day by waking up and walking down the three flights of stairs to the living area and kitchen at the bottom. They would need to pump some water into the kitchen from the tanks underground and light the stove before having breakfast.
After tidying up, they need to row over to the next island where they need to do some gardening, dig up some vegetables, collect the chickens eggs and feed them before rowing back to the lighthouse. After this, the boys will go out fishing with their father (more rowing!), while the girls help their mother tidy the house and are taught to sew, spin and cook.
After lunch, all of the children are taken upstairs to the lamp room to be taught maths, geography and history, working on slate boards by candlelight. After this is done, they all help their father to take care of the lamp in the lighthouse – polishing the reflectors, cleaning the windows, checking the wick, topping up the oil etc.
After their day of hard work, the children return to their bedroom which they share with their siblings for a well deserved rest!
Explain that we know a lot about Grace’s everyday life because she regularly wrote letters to the Duke of Northumberland, see example of a transcript below.
Activity: Write a letter from Grace or one of her brothers/sister to a friend describing what they have been up to that day. Don't forget to include all the jobs you heard about and how it felt to have such a busy working day!
My Lord Duke by your Permission my Guardian
This is to inform my Lord that I have forwarded to Mr Stamp a Draft for £84 10s 7d subscribed to me by the Ladies of Edinburgh, so that the whole of my money to dispose off is now at Alnwick.
I believe that my Father mentioned in his last to your Grace that I was quite satisfied with the proposel sent me, we had the pleasure of drinking the Duke & Duchess healths both on Christmas and New Years Day in a cup of tea out of mothers teapot but like everything in the world the first news we heard was your Grace was very ill.
May it please God, this may find you in health, my humble duty to the Duchess & Misses Percess as I think I shall never forget there kind reception of me at Alnwick Castle.
I am duty bound my Lords Humble Servant.
Grace H Darling
Longstone Light Jan 24th 1840