Then and now: transport

A wonderful chance to explore different forms of transport through the ages, from locomotives to horse-drawn carriages! How does each one move, is it fast or slow, and who would have used them? See how technologies, materials, and design have changed over time.  

This workshop can be booked on Tuesdays at 10.15am and 11.30am. 

Workshop details

Explore different forms of transport through time with our fun interactive tour. Discover how transport has changed over time by investigating how materials, technology, and design have evolved. Find out how different things were in the past compared with today, and how new inventions helped to make life easier.

You will have the opportunity to get up close to the transport items on display in the Museum of Liverpool and analyse them in detail. During the tour you will gain an understanding about how the growth and development of Liverpool’s docks led to an expanding rail and road network to carry goods to and from the docks.

Children will identify examples of transport dating back to around 100 years ago including the Lion locomotive, Liverpool Overhead Railway, a battery-operated crane, brougham (carriage pulled by horses), an old bike, phaeton (car dating back to 1900), a medieval ship and a super steam tractor.

We will compare all these forms of transport that are displayed in The Great Port gallery to the modern transport we use today. We will find out how they were used, what they were used for, how they moved and if they were fast or slow.

This tour includes a variety of interactive elements including:

  • dressing up, role play/acting,
  • using props, models and images,
  • discussion and debate,
  • finishing with a matching activity.

Everyone will be involved with this educational experience as we learn through play and fun.

Practical information for your visit

Visiting the Museum of Liverpool - information for groups (pdf)

Image © Gareth Jones

Learning outcomes

Attitudes and values

  • Many different people travel on many different forms of transport for many different reasons.
  • Recognise that different types of transport were around and in use at different times.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand that Liverpool was and still is an important place for trade and connections with the world.
  • Understand the importance of the River Mersey for the development of Liverpool as a port city.
  • Liverpool was an important place for new and exciting forms of transport such as Lion and Liverpool Overhead Railway.
  • Understand the reasons why Liverpool became a successful port, which subsequently declined and is currently regenerating. (The Great Port).

Skills development

  • Begin to critically question the impact technological advances have had on our lives. (The Great Port).


Curriculum links


Pupils will

  • develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time.
  • know where the events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.
  • use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms.
  • ask and answer questions
  • understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

Pupils will be taught about

  • changes within living memory.
  • events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally – the development of transport and its impact on people’s lives.
  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality – for example, the development of Liverpool’s docks and  railways.

Spoken language

Pupils will

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers and opinions
  • give descriptions and explanations for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in conversations, staying on topic, initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through questioning, imagining and exploring ideas
  • participate in discussions
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Fundamental British Values


  • Children participate in discussions and know that their views are heard.
  • Children understand that they need to take turns and co-operate.

Individual liberty

  • Children are encouraged to voice their opinions appropriately and listen to others.
  • Children develop confidence and self-esteem in expressing their views.

Rule of law

  • Children learn that transport laws and customs change over time with the intention of keeping us safe.
  • Children learn to follow Museum rules and manage their behaviour in a public gallery for their own safety and that of other visitors.

Tolerance and mutual respect

  • Children develop empathy through role play and stories.
  • Children are encouraged to respect the feelings and opinions of others – for example describing the feelings of passengers on the railways.