School Educational Visits
Oldham’s Grade II* listed former Independent Methodist Chapel; a stunning and unique building full of history and tales of the past – hidden in the hustle and bustle of Oldham’s town centre.
In 2004 Age UK Oldham rescued the neglected building intending to open it for community use in the town centre, soon became fascinated by its history and realised its potential.
Generous funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Fund and Viridor has enabled Age UK Oldham to restore the building with its magnificent organ to its former glory, creating a local heritage centre which incorporates former cellar dwellings in the basement. Volunteer actors portraying local characters whose everyday lives have been carefully researched bring a lively aspect to the Heritage tours and school educational visits.
Our Schools Programme has been developed to provide children with an exciting way of engaging their young minds with history and encouraging them to use their imaginations and powers of creative thinking.
The site is a fantastic resource for schools to explore. We offer a range of unique opportunities that bring learning to life in a very special setting. Children from KS1 and KS2 gain a real understanding of what life was like in the Victorian period. The fun and interactive learning experiences and activity workshops will ensure children remain attentive and interested.
Our education team will engage and inspire your class with the story of George Street Chapel and the cellar dwellings. Through role play and interpretation, ‘time travelling’ enables children to travel back to the Victorian era, meeting real characters and learning about many aspects of Victorian life.
A series of activity workshops, worksheets and materials will provide your class with a hands-on experiential learning experience with clear and detailed links to the National Curriculum.
During your time at George Street Chapel, history will come alive as the children dress in costume and meet characters who lived, visited or worshipped at the former cellar dwellings and the Chapel during Victorian times.
Your class will experience hands-on activities which will illustrate the similarities and differences between the mid nineteenth century and today and learn about local history in a unique learning environment full of memories from the last two hundred years.
We are happy to work with you to devise a programme that will fit with your learning objectives. You can sample our standard visit packages or work with us to put together a personally tailored experience for your class.
Teachers can organise a free teacher visit in order to carry out a planning visit or risk assessment. This can be obtained by contacting our Education Manager.
The traditional day for the washing to be done was a Monday. Very few wives then went out to work, and to wash on Sundays and hang it on the line was thought rather disgraceful as the former dwellings are situated underneath the Chapel, this was strictly forbidden.
Martha Titter will be busily attending to her family’s washing as you arrive. As the former dwellings did not have the luxury of modern life, Martha attends to her washing outside with a dolly tub, posser and mangle.
Your class will be greeted by Martha dressed in Victorian costume. Martha will demonstrate how she deals with this huge weekly task of washing for her family of six. Pupils will be asked to help Martha as she washes in her dolly tub and hangs clothes with dolly pegs on her washing line.
Mary Hall’s cellar dwelling is cramped, has no plumbing and is damp and draughty. This Back of George street experience gives a shocking insight into the lives of the poor Victorian working class.
Mary will show you around her modest home and explain to you how her family live, eat, sleep and play.
Mary has a large family and spends her day cleaning the house, cooking meals for her husband and children, making and mending clothes for everyone as well as helping sweep and dust the chapel daily.
Mary enjoys having some company as well as some help. Your class will be asked to help her with some of the tasks from sweeping to washing the family crockery in time for dinner.
Your class will say goodbye to Mary Hall and her home – it’s time for school…. Our school experience brings the 1850 classroom to life.
It was rarely enjoyable, school was disciplined and regimented – sometimes even brutal.
Miss Hopwood will ring the bell ‘It’s time for school!’
When the bell rings, the children will line up in silence in height order – boys first, have their hands inspected and washed in cold water with carbolic soap.
They will recite morning prayers, have a lesson in writing using slates and slate pencils and practice arithmetic and times tables.
Towards the end of your day with us all children will join together for a service in the chapel led by our 1850’s visiting minister.
Children will assist in making sure the chapel is ready for service and help with sweeping and dusting as they remember the motto from the chapel school ‘ Cleanliness if next to Godliness’
Loud strong singing voices are needed to impress our visitor and you will be joined by some of the characters you have met throughout your day.
Choose four from a carousel of ten visual, auditory and kinaesthetic workshop activities.
These will encourage independent learning through first hand experiences central to the curriculum. Your class will divide into smaller groups of up to 8 and spend 25 minutes in each activity area. All activities are supported with an Education Team interactor in costume, who will work alongside the group throughout.
A bag has been found on the steps of the chapel …who does it belong to?? Together in a group, children will build up a picture of the owner using the evidence they find inside.
Could your group be our next Chapel Detective and help solve the mystery of the bag?
Worksheets support this activity
Coloured glass panels in our chapel windows make impressive reflections.
Children create their own stained glass window with the use of art materials.
The window template has the same outside structure but also a space in the middle for the children to add their own central picture.
Children can take an outline rubbing of both Martha & Joseph Titter from our etched blackboards or colour in the figures directly with chalk.
Children may also draw their own figures copying from scratch.
A range of chalks, pencils and crayons is available for this activity
A fun group activity where children play i-spy and look around the chapel identifying photographs of chapel items with questions to answer.
I-Spy develops speaking and listening skills in a group context.
A worksheet supports this activity
Two groups of children work together on this wonderful chapel jigsaw which includes a historical timeline including monarchs from 1815 and important events in the chapel and Oldham’s history.
Chalk rubbings can be made once the jigsaw is complete – this activity involves two groups working simultaneously
Using an easel like the artists of yesteryear, join the dots to draw the magnificent chapel organ. Bring the organ to life using a range of chalks, pencils and crayons.
Blank paper is available for older children who wish to draw the organ free hand
A creative and simple craft project for children.
Following clear instructions from the costumed guide children make their own unique chapel peg person.
A great fun activity and a memory to take home
This great little art activity for children demonstrates the basics of calligraphic lettering using a nib pen and ink
Handwriting samplers to complete and a sand tray to practice letter style and flow
Themed fun activity trail around the Chapel searching for clues – a great activity to keep them moving and searching.
A worksheet completed on the trail keeps them thinking individually and working as a team to solve the clues and find the hidden treasure. This includes activity on the top floor balcony and needs close supervision – see risk assessment
Story telling is a powerful way to engage children and encourages them to listen to a parable and follow on with a group discussion
Led by a costumed interactor this lovely activity will bring our story to life.
Our free Teacher Preview visits give you the opportunity to explore the Chapel, the chance to familiarise yourself with what is on offer prior to your visit and carry out your own risk assessment.
The building and its environment including activities, equipment etc. have been risk assessed by Age UK Oldham qualified staff and a copy is enclosed with this pack.
Please book for one of our Teacher Preview Sessions where you can view George Street Chapel.
Teachers are invited to tour George Street Chapel, meet with staff to discuss your school visit and curriculum connections and participate in hands-on demonstrations.
Visit the cellar dwellings and meet Martha, Mary and Miss Hopwood who will happily give you the history of the George Street cellar dwellings and how life was in Jackson Pit during 1850.
All visits must be booked in advance by calling Age UK Oldham Education Team on 0161 633 0213
Jackson’s Pit entrance has full disabled access and a lift facility will take you to the main chapel floor – this does not reach the upper gallery.
Toilets are available on the lower ground floor with full disabled facilities and baby changing.
A loop system is installed throughout the building with headsets available.
Each group must have a maximum of 30 children. Two classes of up to 30 pupils may visit George Street at the same time. However, to ensure safety and maximise the tour, classes will split between floors and enjoy all of the experiences simultaneously.
We require that all education groups are supervised at all times whilst on site. The minimum supervision we require 6 adults for every group of thirty children aged 4 – 7 or 4 adults for every group of thirty students aged 8 – 16 and . During the hands-on part of the teaching sessions, classes will be divided into groups of up to 8.
We reserve the right to refuse admission to groups with inadequate numbers of adults. Please ensure that all adults accompanying your trip understand that they are responsible for the behaviour of the students in their care.
A lunch area is provided for schools for your own lunches or one of our healthy packed lunches
Buses are recommended to drop off or pick up school groups across the way on Silver Street. Your tour guides will wait for you outside and assist - chapel tour guides will be wearing high visibility jackets and name badges.
There is no car park at George Street Chapel.
The nearest long stay car parking is the Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre car park and is situated across the road with the entrance on Silver Street.
The nearest Metro stop is 140 metres away on Union St West.
You can book by completing a school bookings request form and sending it by email or post to the following:
Education Team, George Street Chapel, Age UK Oldham 10 Church Lane, Oldham, OL1 3AN
Enquiries: 0161 622 9252 or 0161 622 9264
Email: [email protected]
alternatively email: [email protected]
All booking requests are subject to availability and cannot be considered booked until you have received confirmation.
We regret that we cannot accept provisional bookings.
A lunch area is provided for your group – you can either bring your own lunch boxes along or we can arrange a healthy packed lunch for you.
Charge incl. drinks throughout the day
£10.50 per pupil
Charge incl. packed lunch and drinks throughout the day
£13.50 per pupil
If there are additional chaperones, we ask them to contribute suggested admission rates. Payment can be made by BACS, cheque or cash six weeks in advance of your school visit
All cheques should be made payable to Age UK Oldham and sent to:
Quoting your invoice and booking number.
BACS payments will need to be arranged with our Finance officer at email address [email protected]
If you need to cancel, please call 0161 622 9252 or 0161 622 9264 or email us as soon as possible.
We reserve the right to cancel guided trail visits based on weather conditions, but will notify schools of cancellations as far in advance as possible.
If you cancel a teaching session with less than 15 working days’ notice, you will be charged the full rate. Late arrivals will be charged at the full rate.
Please arrive at 9.30am and register with the Education Team. On arrival at the Jackson Pit entrance (at the back of the chapel) your staff, chaperones and pupils will then be directed to the costume area to leave coats and change into costumes. At the end of the day there will be time to visit the gift barrow prior to leaving at 2.45pm.
Please arrive on time. Classes which arrive late may receive a condensed experience because of scheduling limitations. Classes arriving more than 30 minutes late may not be able to receive all of the intended experiences. Please notify us on 0161 622 9252 or 0161 622 9264 if you are running late.
Our Chapel Gift Barrow offers items for children, such as books, postcards, art supplies, toys and sweets ranging from 75p. This will be brought into the Cellar Dwelling at the end of the day on request.
Monitoring and evaluation is important to help us maintain our high standards and to meet both our own objectives and those of the groups with whom we work.
We evaluate our own performance after each visit and we value feedback from teachers and group leaders. Our evaluation / feedback form is included in this pack place in the box at the chapel at the end of your visit.
Teachers and group leaders are invited to discuss all aspects of their visit, including assessment and evaluation before they bring their groups.
All activities and equipment provided by George Street Chapel have been risk assessed and copies are enclosed in the pack.
Individuals are responsible for any equipment they bring into George Street Chapel.
During your experience at George Street your education team member will issue safety instructions at the start of the session. It is important that all students and adults listen and follow these instructions.