Cotton Mills: The Growth Of  Towns & Impact on Family Life

Discover how dangerous life was as a child working in a Victorian cotton mill and how the growth of towns changed family life.

This 2hr workshop begins with discussion about what jobs pupils would like to do, if they were made to work instead of attending school. Pupils will study photographs of Victorian cotton mills and discuss what they think the dangers might have been. The class will create a human weaving machine and send a child underneath!

Pupils will handle artefacts relating to cotton mills in order to gain an understanding of what working life was like. Pupils will also handle artefacts relating to canals and barges in order to gain an understanding of what life would have been like as a boat dweller, transporting cotton.

Pupils will look at photographs of back to back house in order to understand the impact that the growing amount of cotton mills had on towns. Pupils will learn about the cramped conditions that families had to live in and have a go at top and tailing. They will meet the resident rats in the privy!

The workshop will focus on

  • How the growth of the textile industry  caused the expansion of towns.    
  • What the impact of the growing textile industry was upon families.                 
  • The dangers of working in a cotton mill.  
  • What jobs children had to undertake.
  • What life as a boat dweller was like.


This is a half day session  session but can be booked with Victorian Schoolroom or Victorian Home Life for a full day Victorian experience


“Del covered a lot of topics today linked to cotton mills-some practical work, drama and handling artefacts. The children really loved the activities.”

Sue Taylor  St Peter and St Pauls Primary School  Bolton

“It was a fantastic experience for the children. Del is very knowledgeable and clearly very enthusiatic about the topic. The time haa flown by – a testiment to the experience the children have just had. Thank you.”

Laura Naylor  Maharishi Free School  Lathom