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Billeting officers at the ready - Evacuate your class

Date Posted: 05/11/2014

Venue: Nothe Fort, Weymouth
Subject: WWII History
Key Stages: 1 and 2

When searching for ‘evacuee experience’ in Google, Nothe Fort in Weymouth’s World War Two workshop is first in the queue. We found out more.

Located at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour, the fort is a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas.

Constructed on three levels, it is filled with displays, mammoth guns and cinema areas that chart the history of this large Victorian structure.

The fort’s Evacuee Experience, as well as having a great rating on a certain search engine, has positive testimonials from local schools that have tried it out.

Pupils will experience an old 1940s school room supervised by a very strict headmaster complete with cane (see above!).

There’s also an air raid shelter drill, Weymouth at War, World War Two shop, rationing, and a Mrs Mop doing the washing at home.

The experience is suitable for Primary school children and has been designed to meet curriculum requirements.

A typical day for your evacuees

A full day of education and fun begins with an introduction to life as an evacuee billeted in Weymouth.

The activities then include a school lesson, rationing in a 1940s shop, a taste of washing day for the housewife and a look at some of the kitchen equipment available at the time.

An ARP warden explains the rules of the blackout, before an air raid siren sounds and the group heads for the Anderson shelter. A short discussion concludes the day.

The evacuees are encouraged to arrive dressed in appropriately historic clothing and carrying their gas mask box.

Children will usually be split into groups of between six and 12, and participate in the following activities:

  • Lessons in the Fort’s schoolroom, including lessons on pound, shilling, and pence and sending a post card home to parents telling them about their new lives in Weymouth.
  • Visiting the Fort’s 1940s shop and experiencing rationing and the difference between the range and quantity of food during World War Two and the vast range of foods found in today’s supermarkets.
  • Visiting a 1940s kitchen and experiencing the pleasures of washing without the use of a washing machine and cooking without fancy kitchen gadgets and microwaving fast foods.
  • Receiving air raid precautions instructions before taking cover in an air raid shelter and using a stirrup pump to put out a fire; the fire may not be real but the water is.
  • Visiting the Weymouth at War exhibition that show the differences between the life of an evacuee and the life of today’s visitor to Weymouth.

For further information visit www.nothefort.org.uk.

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