Monday, 2 December 2013

New attempt to post John's story from our visit to the Workhouse....

John told us a story showing how families ended up at the Workhouse...

...we thought about how closely people's lives were linked to nature in the past. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

More about the Workhouse

We've collected together some of our pictures...

People got put in the Workhouse if they were poor.  There were no benefits then. 

Everything about living at the Workhouse was hard....

The beds were hard...

You had to pump hard to get water..

You had to work broke stones, dug holes and made rope in the winter.  Women did cleaning, polishing and so on.

They still grow vegetables like they did in Victorian times. 

Ricky gives his thoughts about going to the Workhouse

 "This visit prompted thought around man and financial issues as well as nature.  (The Workhouse) was an alternative to benefits!  Kinder than slavery but still very strict.  If you don’t co-operate there was no meat for meals.  Male and female were not interacting with each other.  As long as you co-operated then it was fine.  People would have been used to it being stricter then.  You had to work.  Couldn’t get money for nothing.  Found it very interesting. 


I was aware of Workhouse before but hadn’t been in.  There were two separate courtyards for men and women.  One or two corners where the Master couldn’t see.  They made their own version of a sundial.

John’s story brought it to life for me.  Makes you think of the reason they started doing these benefits.   

In the schoolroom we found that the left-hand was considered the “devil’s hand.” 

People had to do repetitive and time-consuming jobs.  They broke stones.  They made rope.  They dug holes and they filled them in again.  You got callouses on your fingers.

It was a good day out."

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Life at the Workhouse....

On 23rd August the group visited Southwell Workhouse.  This wasn't in our original plans but we wanted to find out more about this important local building which is the best preserved workhouse in the country. In Victorian times people were put in the Workhouse if they were poor and couldn't find work.  They were given lots of work to do because it was thought that they were lazy.

Workhouse staff and volunteers bought the past to life for us through costumes and stories.  It helped us understand why people had to come here and to imagine what life was like for them.  It made us think about how important nature was to people then, because if they couldn't work on the land during Winter then the Workhouse might be the next stop.

You can find out more about the Workhouse at

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Here we go round the Mulberry bush

Last Friday we had a surprise visitor to Southwell Pod...

Ethel told us about the important roles that Southwell's mills had played in the past
Ethel told us that she was a worker at the Maythorne silk mill.  She told us the story of her life - it sounded very hard work!  She told us how about the silkworms that were used to produce the silk.  The silkworms lived on Mulberry bushes.  Ethel told us that some people say there is a Mulberry bush somewhere around Maythorne.  We also talked about Greet Lily Flour Mill and how interesting it is to find out about the history of places that we pass every day.

We made pictures using silk screens and paint.  We thought about the stories we had heard during Collecting Stories.  We each chose to show something different with our silk screens...

Acorns in progress

Bramley Apple in progress

Daisies in progress

Oak Leaf up close

Finished artworks

Robin Hood Festival

We've really enjoyed finding out more about Robin Hood and thinking about the connections with the Green Man.  On 9th August we went to the Robin Hood Festival at Sherwood Forest.  Andy Gaunt from Mercian Archaeological Services CIC met us there.  Andy works on the Archaeology and History of Medieval Sherwood Forest project.   He told us some great stories and we felt very lucky to get his expert view.  We'll tell you more about what we found out later.  
You can find out more about Sherwood Forest and Andy's project at

Here are some pictures of our day

Andy tells the group some stories

We met some interesting Forest Folk!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Yum yum - Bramley Apple scones

As everyone knows, the Bramley apple comes from of course we've found out lots about the Bramley Apple during the project.  But some of us had never actually eaten the famous cooking apple.  So for our 2nd August session we thought we would get baking.  Everyone researched a recipe during the week before and brought their own Bramley apples to the session.  We decided to make Bramley Apple Scones. 

Here is our recipe:


2 ¾ cups of flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

8 tablespoons cold butter

¾ cup chopped fresh apple – Bramleys are best!

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup apple sauce


Heat oven to 220 degrees centigrade (Gas Mark 7, 425 degrees Farenheit)

Whisk flour with sugar, salt, baking powder. Work in the butter until unevenly crumbly.

Stir in chopped apple.

In a separate bowl whisk eggs, vanilla & apple sauce

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients until moist and holds together

Line a baking sheet with parchment without greasing it.  Sprinkle with flour.

Scrape dough onto parchment and divide in half.

Pat each round into circles (about 1-1.5 cm thick)

Slice each circle into 6

Separate 5cm apart

Bake for 18-20 mins until golden brown

Remove and cool briefly

Serve warm! 


Other recipes:

Wholemeal Apple & Cinnamon Scones:

Easy Apple Scones:

Bramley and Walnut Scones:

Apple Crumble Cheesecake:

Friday, 16 August 2013

Potwell Dyke Re-visited 2 - the changes we noticed

Some of the things we saw and thought on this visit

 "There was a lot or erosion and silt on the paths and fields. There were different flowers and plants in bloom like Deadly Nightshade, reeves, rosehips, elderflower, buttercups, a blue flower (can't remember name).  We saw ladybugs, froghoppers, cabbage white and brown butterflies, red and black bug.  We saw a lot of rubbish and sludge removed from the river.  Lots of overgrown thistles and nettles." (Anthony)

"Changes since last visit: overgrown nettles and grass - more green overgrowth covering some flowers; more flowers on some plants, eg burdocks, rosehips, buttercups; no cowslips (at least not visible) due to overgrown grass) - only come out in spring; abundance of insects, invertebrates, grasshoppers, frog-hoppers, midges, butterflies, ladybirds/ladybird larvae, bees; mud/silt residue left over from flood covered many plants eg mint.  Some plants were seeding - eg rattles.  Pile of rubbish scooped from the dyke near car park.  Weather was much better this time, and it was good to see seasonal changes and the after effects of the flood." (Ricky)

With Robin's guidance, some of us tried
this wild garlic - an incredible edible!

..but Robin reminded us not all plants
are on the menu - like Deadly Nightshade

"We went for a walk to Potwell Dyke.  We saw a lot of cow pats and we saw some bluebells and some buttercups." (Phillip)

Elderflower berries - not ripe yet!

"The walk was different because there were lots of flowers and plants to see and it seemed steeper than before and I saw some of the damage the floods had done. I thought it seemed longer but the walk was interesting.  Lots of rubbish came out of the Dyke." (Rachel)

The Minster towers are never far away

"Still very nice.  Nice to see the difference in spring to summer.  The flowers that was to the flowers now...nice to be in the fresh air." (Laila)

"I walked to Potwell Dyke with staff and (saw) changes in the fields..." (Laura)
"I enjoyed taking photos of different kinds of flowers and plants. It was a good walk explring the countryside in the fresh air.  It was (a) good afternoon, bit hot and sticky but was okay." (Sarah)