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House, home and washdays

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 1
  • Subjects: History
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Merseyside Maritime Museum
  • Free


House, home and washdays offers a unique opportunity to explore domestic life in a historic house dated between 1900 and 1950, through an interactive presentation and self led exploration of the Piermaster's House.

Further details

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

This session takes place at the Cooperage and Piermaster’s House, a five minute walk from the Merseyside Maritime Museum.  

The class is split into two: 15 pupils enjoy a presentation by a museum demonstrator exploring household domestic technology in a historic context. Pupils are introduced to domestic life in the early 20th century including washing, ironing, cleaning and caring for furniture. They explore the differences between household chores 100 years ago and today. Using real and replica domestic equipment the children are individually invited to join in the session to try their hand at jobs, which include making soap flakes, using tongs for clothes in the dolly tub, using a posser and dolly stick and handling a washboard to get clothes clean. 

For the other half of the session, teachers or school helpers are given a printed guide to the objects of interest inside the house and equipped with enough information to take their own tour of the kitchen, back kitchen, parlour and bedrooms. There is no bathroom but a tin bath in the kitchen would be used once a week by all the family. The group can discover for themselves the range for heating and cooking. 

Curriculum links

Key Stage 1 – History

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms.  

Pupils should be taught about:

  • changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life.
  • people and places in their own locality.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the domestic technology used 70-100 years ago.
  • Understand the society and culture of the early 20th century  and the changing role of women.


Pupils will:

  • Be able to practically try out different jobs.
  • Be encouraged toImprove their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence.
  • Improve their confidence by individual participation in the activities.


Pupils will be introduced to: 

  • Household domestic jobs and who was likely to do them.
  • The role of a national museum like the Merseyside Maritime Museum.


Pupils will:

  • Empathise with those whose jobs it was to clean and look after the house.
  • Be  confident in interpreting information from different sources.
  • See the Merseyside Maritime Museum as an enjoyable and stimulating place to visit.