Key Stage 5 A-Level

Prison & Police museum

Activities for KS5 / A-Level (Ages 16 – 18)  

A visit to Ripon Museums is an ideal learning experience that will enrich the experience of students studying A-Level History.  

All three museums – the Workhouse, Prison & Police Museum and Courthouse) offer relevant contextual knowledge for students studying eighteenth and nineteenth Century Britain with either AQA, OCR or Edexcel exam board. We can offer guided tours of each museum, interactive workshops and activities, or less structured opportunities for students to carry out independent study. Students studying units focused on the following themes: Government, politics, poverty, protest, reform, industrialisation and social change will find the museums particularly engaging. The Workhouse Museum is an excellent case study for understanding the Whig social reforms of the 1830s, such as the Poor Law Amendment Act. Although the act was passed in 1834, a Poor Law Union was not established in Ripon until 1852, illustrating the often laissez-faire belief system that people held at the time for government involvement in what were considered local affairs.  

The Ripon Museums would also be a great starting point for A level students carrying out their investigative study or topic based essay. Students from the local area might have a personal interest in the workhouse, prison or courthouse. Whilst all three sites were small, locally run institutions, they can all offer a window into national conservations and issues from the nineteenth century. We can organise research opportunities for A level students, as well as guided tours and workshops. 

The Ripon Museums can also offer atmosphere and contextual knowledge for A level students studying English Literature, particularly nineteenth century texts, and other subjects such as law, politics and sociology. We are able to tailor your visit to the appropriate area of interest and can provide a variety of learning opportunities within the three museums. 

 

“The Guardians role-play really helped to contextualise the work of the Board of Guardians, which students often struggle to comprehend.” 

York College 

Workhouse Museum in Ripon
A group of young people in prison costumes escaping a Victorian prison

“All the staff and students agreed that it was a really great experience…We found the whole day to be much more exciting and interactive than we imagined.” 

St Helen’s College 

An outline of our KS5 activities is available below: 

Visit all three sites – the Workhouse, Prison & Police and Courthouse Museums – as part of your trip. 

At the Courthouse Museum: 

  • Students take part in Arrest of the Sinkler Brothers trial in the courtroom 

At the Prison & Police Museum: 

  • Sinkler Brothers role-play and object handling 
  • Learn about early policing, poaching and transportation 
  • Doin’ Time – tour of the cells 

At the Workhouse Museum 

  • Lunch – indoor space provided 
  • Victorian CSI – an enquiry-led investigation of a murder at the workhouse, using Victorian detection techniques 

We can fine-tune your day to suit the book you are studying, please contact Carrie Philip to discuss, email [email protected]

At the Courthouse Museum: 

  • Girl Artful Dodgers Trial 1853 – learn about the trial of teenage pickpockets 

At the Prison & Police Museum:  

  • Sinkler Brothers poacher folk heroes role-play and object handling 
  • Tour of the cells 

At the Workhouse Museum:  

  • Lunch – indoor space provided 
  • A stern introduction by Matron 
  • Guardians’ role-Play 
  • Hands-on laundry/chores session with Workhouse tour 

At the Courthouse Museum:  

  • Students take part in a Tools of the Trade trial 

At the Prison & Police Museum:  

  • Sinkler Brothers role-play 
  • Learn about early policing, poaching and transportation 
  • Tour of the cells 

At the Workhouse Museum: 

  • Lunch – indoor space provided 
  • A stern introduction by Matron 
  • Guardians’ role-play 
  • Hands-on laundry/chores session with Workhouse tour 

At the Workhouse Museum: 

  • A stern introduction by Matron 
  • Guardians’ role-play 
  • Workhouse tour 

Lunch at the Workhouse – indoor space provided 

then either 

  • Enquiry-led study based on Charles Husband, Workhouse Medical Officer (Workhouse) OR  
  • Students take part in historic trial (Courthouse) 
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