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Second World War - the Piermaster's House

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: English, History
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Merseyside Maritime Museum
  • Free


Perfect for groups looking at Liverpool during the Second World War, this session takes place in our Piermaster's House which has been faithfully recreated as a wartime family home. Themes covered include air raids, evacuation, rationing and true stories from the local area.

This session is available at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm, Monday, Thursday and Friday.

Further details

The Piermaster's house - a brick house on Liverpool's waterfront

During this activity pupils have a unique opportunity to experience life in a Liverpool wartime home as they explore our faithfully recreated Piermaster’s House. The class is split into two: 15 pupils enjoy a tour, while the other 15 participate in a simple teacher-led activity about rationing.  After 30 minutes, the groups swap.

Tour: Children are welcomed into the Piermaster’s House and introduced to the concept of ‘travelling back in time’ to 1940s Liverpool, at the height of the Second World War. They discover how Liverpool played a key role in the conflict and how many of the supplies for the whole country were unloaded at the docks here. They handle a range of real objects from our extensive collection, such as an ARP Warden helmet, gas masks, ID cards and posters such as ‘Dig for Victory’ and ‘Make Do and Mend’.

As they explore the various rooms of the house – kitchen, scullery, parlour and bedrooms – new aspects of wartime life are uncovered: domestic technology, the contribution of women to the war effort, the experiences of children and evacuation, along with local stories of disaster, bravery and luck.

Teacher-led wartime rationing game: We provide straightforward instructions for this activity. This simple game helps the pupils, working as a group, to understand the problems and decisions that had to be faced when food and clothing were rationed. Discussion around which items are most important creates a keen sense of empathy for those involved.

Curriculum links

 Key stage 2 - History

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
  • a local history study
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066

 Key stage 2 – English Spoken Language

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions

Learning outcomes

 Knowledge and understanding

 Pupils will:

  • Be able to place the events of the Second World War into the correct time period.
  • Have an understanding of the practicalities of life on the Home Front – ie rationed food and clothes, evacuation.
  • Gain a greater knowledge of the history of the local area.
  • Understand the differences in domestic technologies as compared to today.


 Pupils will:

  • Increase their abilities and confidence in expressing ideas in a group setting.
  • Improve their listening skills when taking on board others’ ideas and opinions.


 Pupils will:

  • Understand the importance of Liverpool during the conflict and the impact this role had on everyone’s lives in Britain.
  • Grasp the importance of working together in the face of adversity.    


 Pupils will:

  • Gain empathy for people in the past.
  • Be inspired to recycle and reuse rather than throw items away or to try growing their own food.
  • Wish to find out about their own families’ wartime experiences.
  • Appreciate that the museum is an enjoyable place to visit.