Families of the Flax Mill: What can the census tell us about the lives of families who worked at the Shrewsbury flax mill in 1851?

This resource will help pupils find out more about some of the people who lived in Shrewsbury and worked in the flax mill in 1851. Using the StoryMap provides pupils with the opportunity to use primary evidence to discover for themselves what life was like in Victorian England.


Teaching idea

By exploring the Families of the Flax Mill Story Map pupils will use primary evidence to discover for themselves what life was like in Victorian England. They will engage in active research to find out about the different jobs people, including many children, had within the flax mill. They will gain insights into what life in Shrewsbury was like at the time of the 1851 census.

They can read, interpret and search for information to tally up the number of people employed in certain jobs. They can then analyse their evidence to look for patterns in the types of jobs done by different groups of people. All census materials are provided as visual images of original documents, alongside both written and audio transcriptions of the information to make it accessible to a wide range of learners.

There are opportunities for pupils to consider what they’ve discovered about Victorian child labour. They can choose to express their views in the form of a diary entry, a letter, or a monologue, in the role of one of the children featured on the Story Map resource.

Learning aims and outcomes

  • To develop our local history skills by using historical evidence to find out about our area and the people who lived here in the past
  • To develop our geography skills by using maps and aerial photographs to find out about our area in the past
  • To investigate why key historical sites in our local area are important
  • To find out why we can care about historic sites in our local area and how we can continue to use them in the future

Prior knowledge

  • No prior knowledge is required

Extended learning and useful links