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Learning at Black Country Living Museum

The Workers' Institute

The Workers’ Institute is one of the most recent buildings to be reconstructed on the Museum site. As with other exhibits at the Museum, interpretation is provided by guides and demonstrators on the day of your visit.

However, the story of the Institute spreads far beyond Cradley Heath, where it stood originally. The impact of the successful women chainmakers’ strike of 1910, which led to the Institute being built, had an impact that was felt throughout Britain. Additional resources can be downloaded from this page, and are intended to support an in depth study of the subject.

KS 2,3,4 Curriculum Links

How a visit to the Institute can support, drive and enhance school work in History, English/Literacy, Art and Citizenship.  Make the visit work for both the children and for the demands of the curriculum.

Download here - (PDF 128KB)

Images and Documents

A picture is worth a thousand words they say; here we have both.  Copies of primary sources of written materials and images from the period can be downloaded here, ready for study, research and interpretation.

Download here - (PDF 3,300KB)

Mary Macarthur “Angel of the Workers”

A short biography of a major, early leader in the fight to improve conditions for working women.  Mary Macarthur was recognised as an inspiration in her own lifetime and continues to be an inspiration today for those who study her achievements.

Download here - (PDF 260KB)

Cost of Living in 1910

What would a weekly wage of 5 shillings be worth in 2005?  What would a strike fund donation of £100 be worth?  What was the cost of a loaf of bread?  Here’s where you can find the answers ... and much more.

Download here - (PDF 120KB)

The Workers’ Institute in the 1930s

At the Museum the Workers’ Institute is set into its 1930’s context.  What was happening in the wider world around it; to the economy, in politics, with housing, food, shopping, health, hygiene and leisure activities, to the Royal Family, and why was ‘appeasement’ a word on everyone’s lips?

Download here - (PDF 124KB)

Further reading/Research

Books and websites to use as starting points for further research by teachers and older students or by the Gifted and Talented younger pupil. 

Download here - (PDF 112KB)

Every effort has been made to establish the ownership of the copyright of images used in these downloads and to gain permission for their use. The Museum apologises for any inadvertent infringement. Should you have further information concerning this matter, please contact the Museum.

Did you know?

interesting fact image

The fat that dripped off beef cooking on a meat jack would be caught in a pan. Once it was cold it was spread on bread, a real stomach filler!

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