Second World War - the Piermaster's House

Perfect for groups looking at Liverpool or any British city badly bombed 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 the local, national, and international signifigance of the docks in the war effort, rationing, air raids and evacuation.

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.

This session is available at 10.15am and 11.30am Monday to Wednesday during term time.

Workshop details

During this multi sensory workshop pupils have a unique opportunity to experience life in a Liverpool wartime home as they explore our faithfully recreated Piermaster’s House. Part self led tour with discussion questions provided, and part museum staff-led activities within a 'bombed out shop setting'.

Introduction: Pupils are welcomed into the Piermaster’s House by a museum demonstrator presenting as a costumed character from the Second World War. They are 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 and replica objects from our extensive collection, such as an ARP Warden's helmet, a replica incendiary bomb, replica rations, ration books and pre decimal money.

Activities: In groups, pupils are provided with discussion questions to inspire their curiosity as they explore various rooms in the house, which contain era appropriate sounds, smells and objects such as different gas masks and a stirup pump. They take in the kitchen, scullery, parlour and bedrooms. They will also participate in activites in the rooms which illustrate wartime themes such as 'Dig for Victory'.

Pupils are introduced to 'The Bombed Out Grocers Shop' and the class get to roleplay as wartime family groups and take part in activities that illustrate different rationing allowances for food, clothes and other goods accross society and the difficult decisions needed to prioritise nessessary items. We also explore the moral dilemas of obtaining black market goods from a 'Spiv'. 

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.