One of our S2 classes, 2F, recently enjoyed a visit to Wick Heritage Centre to help them learn about the many ways local life would have been different in the 1950s. The novel the class are reading in English – ‘Frozen in Time’ by Ali Sparkes – features two children who were scientifically ‘frozen’ in 1956 and wake up in present day, amazed by how much has changed. The staff at the Heritage Centre very kindly dug out a range of photographs, artefacts and stories to help the class imagine 1950s life in greater detail.
During the visit, staff at the centre showed the class what a family home would have looked like at the time and jobs that many local people would have done, such as working in the white fish industry or on a farm. They were even given a demonstration of how a lighthouse operates, because of course safety at sea would have been just as important then as it is today.
Amongst other things, 2F discovered that the average wage at the time was just over seven pounds a week, that many foods were still rationed until almost ten years after World War Two ended and that in school pupils were arranged in order of ability – with the cleverest at the back of the class and everyone who found work more challenging right at the front!
Molly Miller, one of the pupils in the class, said: “I didn’t really know anything about the 1950s, so I was surprised to find out that they had ration books after the war. I would have thought it was just during the war.”
Chloe Nicolson added: “I wouldn’t really have enjoyed school in the 1950s because I think it would have been cold with no central heating. I wouldn’t have liked having the belt at school because it would have been really sore and it sounds like the teachers didn’t care whether you had done anything wrong or not. Also, girls were forced to do subjects that I wouldn’t have enjoyed – like sewing which is just not my sort of thing.”
The class were also interested to hear that the 1950s was a decade which brought some big changes for Wick, including the building of a ‘new’ Pultneytown Academy building and the creation of many jobs when Dounreay first opened.
Mr Watson and Miss Paterson were extremely proud of how well 2F represented the school during the trip and would like to thank all staff at the Heritage Centre for taking the time to share their knowledge with the class.