House, home and washdays

House, home and washdays offers a unique opportunity to explore domestic life in a historic house dated between 1850 to 1950, through an interactive presentation and exploration of the Piermaster's House.

Workshops are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during term time at 10.15 and 11.30am.

Please note: This house has no lift or access to upper floors apart from stairs. A book with pictures of the rooms and activity that takes place in there, will be provided on the ground floor.

Workshop details

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

After a warm welcome, the education demonstrator leads on an exploration of household domestic technology within a wider social and cultural setting. Pupils are introduced to domestic life from Victorian times up to the mid 20th century. Starting with the origins of Kitty Wilkinson in the 19th century up to the Second World War, this workshop allows pupils to visit a real historic house and to participate in hands-on cleaning activities.

The class are split into smaller groups and take part in domestic jobs in different parts of the house. Activities in the workshop include 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 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 washboard, beating the rag rugs clean, dusting and polishing.

The education demonstrator discusses the differences between doing our own house work today and compares that to a hundred years ago. While also touching on the paid jobs as domestic servants some people had in large houses. 

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.
  • They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events.
  • They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

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.

Key Stage 1- PSHE


  • Children can make simple choices about some aspects of their health and well being (for example by choosing between different foods and between physical activities, knowing that they need sun protection) and know what keeps them healthy (for example exercise and rest).
  • They can explain ways of keeping clean (for example by washing their hands and keeping their hair tidy) and they can name the main parts of the body.
  • Children can talk about the harmful aspects of some household products and medicines, and describe ways of keeping safe in familiar situations.

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.