Preschool history series. Mummy Emma takes Oscar on a journey of discovery to find out what life was like for a child who was ill during Victorian times.
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This story belongs to Oscar and his mummy, Emma.
It's a tiny tale about how children just like you
lived in the olden days, over 150 years ago.
-So, how's Bunny today? Is he OK?
-He's not very well.
He's not very well? Oh, poor Bunny!
Do you think we should give him some treatment to help him get better?
-Hmm, what do you think?
-A plaster, good idea.
Oh, there we go, right on his tummy there.
Now, a long time ago, people didn't have plasters, did they?
-No, they didn't.
Would you be interested in finding out what hospitals were like
-a long time ago?
-I think that'd be really interesting, wouldn't it?
-Shall we go on an adventure together?
Oscar and Mummy Emma are going on a journey of discovery.
Together they're going to find out what life was like
all those years ago.
Oscar and Mummy Emma have come to Abbey House Museum near Leeds
to find out how sick children were looked after in Victorian times.
-So, Oscar, what do you think of your costume?
-I think it's good.
And what sort of person do you think would have worn an outfit like this?
A little boy from 100 years ago.
A little boy from a long time ago, I think that's right.
-And do you think it would have been a rich boy or a poor boy?
Poor boy - why do you think that?
Because there are holes in the trousers.
You have got holes in your trousers, haven't you?
-And you've got a bit of a dirty face as well.
What do you think of your costume?
Well, it feels really heavy and it's quite hot as well.
What sort of job do you think someone would do
-who would wear an outfit like this?
-Maybe a nurse.
This would help keep my clothes nice and clean, wouldn't it?
Oscar and Mummy Emma are outside an old shop.
It's a Victorian chemist's
that would have sold medicines and ointments.
-So what can you see in the shop window?
There are lots of blue bottles, aren't there,
in different shapes and sizes?
In Victorian times,
children from poor families couldn't afford to go to a chemist's shop
like this one and buy medicines to help them if they were hurt or sick.
So Oscar and Mummy Emma are going to a different sort of shop
to meet Sarah and to find out what people did instead.
Hello. In Victorian times,
people who didn't have a lot of money could make their own medicines
at home with things they could buy cheaply from a grocer's shop.
So, today, I'm going to pretend to be a grocer,
and you're going to guess what items you might need.
Sarah is going to help Oscar and Mummy Emma to buy the things
they need to make a popular home remedy for bumps and bruises.
But first they have to guess what the ingredients are.
So, you need two ingredients to make the remedy you're going to be making
at home, and I'm going to get you to guess what those ingredients are.
So, the first clue is it's something really smelly that you put on
-your fish and chips.
-Vinegar, well done.
Can you spot any vinegar in my shop?
Great stuff. Did you guess vinegar, too?
The second thing you need to guess is from a nursery rhyme.
THEY SING # Jack and Jill went up the hill
# To fetch a pail of water
# Jack fell down and broke his crown
# And Jill came tumbling after
# Up Jack got and home did trot
# As fast as he could caper
# He went to bed to mend his head
# With vinegar and brown paper. #
-Is it there?
Vinegar and brown paper were used to treat bumps and bruises
a long time ago, and some people still use this home remedy today.
This lady is called Mary Seacole.
She nursed people in Victorian times.
Mary learned how to make home remedies in Jamaica
when she was a little girl, using plants and herbs that grew there.
Mary learned these from her mum, and loved to practise on her old dolly.
She tried to cure injured animals,
and she helped her mum treat people, too.
When Mary grew up, she travelled around the world, and used some
of her remedies to help soldiers in a war called the Crimean War.
This is the book that Mary wrote about her adventures.
Oscar and Mummy Emma are going to find
a herb to use in their home remedy, just like Mary.
Now, our challenge is to find a herb called sage.
Shall we see if there's some here? What about this one?
-Oh, no, I think this one's mint.
-It is! Well done.
Would you like to help me pick some?
Remember to check with a grown-up before you pick any leaves.
Now, Oscar and Mummy Emma are going to use the sage
they've picked in their own home remedy.
They're rolling over the leaves to release oils in the sage...
..and adding it to the vinegar.
The brown paper they bought at the old shop
has been ripped into strips and warmed up with the sage and vinegar.
Now Oscar is going to wrap the warm strips around Mummy Emma's arm.
Well done, and that puts the medicine on my arm,
and then we also need to wrap a bandage round as well.
Mary Seacole would have used remedies like this
to care for people.
-Does your bandage feel better already?
This old remedy can help soothe bruises,
but many of the remedies that people used to make didn't work,
and some even made things worse.
Oscar and Mummy Emma are going to find out one of the reasons
why children and their families got sick in Victorian times.
-So, Oscar, can you guess what these are?
They are old-fashioned toilets!
They used to call them "privies."
And in Victorian times,
people didn't have a toilet in their own house, so they would go to
a toilet at the end of their street in a little cubicle like this one.
You had to share it with all your neighbours.
What do you think it would have been like to share
a toilet like this with everyone in the street?
-Where do you think the wee and poo goes?
-Down the street.
It did, it did go down the street.
It would go in this gutter here,
and it would float all the way down the street,
where children would be playing,
and it was quite difficult to keep away from,
so the children would be playing right next to the wee and the poo,
and often it meant the children were poorly
and they ended up with poorly tummies.
The street must have been smelly!
The street must have been smelly, you're right!
It was really hard for people to stay clean
and to keep their things clean, too.
People didn't have washing machines all those years ago,
so everything had to be washed by hand.
Mummy Emma is using a washboard to scrub the dirt out of some bedding.
-What do you think of my soap? Do you want to sniff it?
It is a bit smelly, isn't it?
And Oscar is using a stick called a dolly to push some washing
around in a washtub.
In Victorian times,
some children were paid to do other people's washing.
So what do you think of doing the washing like this? Is it easy?
Do you think you could do this all day?
-MUMMY EMMA LAUGHS
Like, it is pretty fun.
Washing took a lot of time and effort,
and if a child like Oscar was sick, his clothes and bedsheets
might have needed washing by hand over and over again.
Now Oscar and Mummy Emma are using a machine called a mangle
to squeeze the water out of a bedsheet.
Oh, this is hard work.
-What do you think?
That looks like a tough job, too.
Washing things was hard work,
but it was really important to keep things clean,
especially in hospitals.
In Victorian times,
there was an English nurse called Florence Nightingale.
She cared for soldiers in the same war as Mary Seacole.
Florence saw that illnesses were spreading among injured soldiers
because the hospital where they were treated was so dirty.
So Florence got her team of nurses to clean the wards and make sure
the soldiers could be given clean water and better food.
This saved many soldiers' lives.
When she returned to Britain, Florence persuaded important people
to train lots of new nurses and make changes in hospitals
that would be better for patients.
OK, so we'd take your temperature...
Oscar is pretending to be a patient
in Florence's new type of hospital ward.
The big windows let in lots of fresh air.
And the tiled walls were much easier to keep clean.
Shall we have a look? Ooh, I think that's OK, actually.
Florence opened a school for nurses to teach them how to take
better care of their patients.
Florence also realised that giving patients healthy food
was really important.
So, Oscar, these are the sorts of foods that people would have had
in hospital a long time ago.
We've got beef tea, milk and bread.
What do you think?
Beef tea might not sound very nice, but hospital food like this
helped sick children to get their strength back.
"Once upon a time, there were three little pigs..."
Sick children often had to stay in hospital for weeks and weeks
at a time, which can't have been much fun.
There were no televisions to watch or tablets to play with back then,
and most children couldn't read, so they must have been
really grateful when the nurses found the time to read them a story.
..lived happily ever after.
Oscar and Mummy Emma are playing a card game called Happy Families
that was popular in Victorian times.
They each have to collect all the members of the same family.
When a child was in hospital,
their mum or dad could only visit them once a week on a Sunday.
If they weren't too busy,
the nurses or people called "lady visitors" played games
with the children to pass the time, or teach them to read and write.
So, Oscar, have you had fun today learning about medicine
-in Victorian times?
It's been lots of fun finding out what happened a long, long time ago.
Can you remember some of the things we did?
What were the shared toilets called? Privies or stinkies?
Yes, privies! But they would have been really stinky.
Can you remember the name of the machine that Oscar and Mummy Emma
used to squeeze the water out of the washing?
Was it a squeezer or a mangle?
That's right, it was a mangle.
So, Oscar, what did you enjoy doing most today?
Um, doing the washing with a giant plunger!
Doing the washing with a giant plunger,
you made lots of bubbles, didn't you, in the bucket?
What did you enjoy most, Mummy?
I enjoyed going into the grocer's shop and buying the things
that we needed, that was fun.
But most of all, I've really enjoyed spending time with you.
What a journey of discovery.
That was Oscar and Mummy Emma's tiny tale about what happened
if children got ill over 150 years ago.
Now, Mummy Emma has shared this story with Oscar,
it's time for Oscar to start his very own story.
Do you know someone with a story to share?
Mummy Emma takes Oscar on a journey of discovery to find out what life was like for a child who was ill during Victorian times. Dressing up in clothes of the time they find out about two little girls, Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale, who became very well-known when they grew up for treating people who were ill. Together, Mummy Emma and Oscar learn about what people did when they couldn't afford to go to the doctor's.
They discover how to make a homemade remedy like Mary Seacole and find out why it was so hard to keep clean in Victorian times. Finally, Oscar experiences what a Florence Nightingale type of hospital would have been like for a child patient and plays some games to keep him entertained.