Mill Workers and Owners

Teachers' Notes

This resource is an enquiry into the rights of the workers employed at the Derwent Valley Mills during the Victorian times.


Using this resource pupils can examine living and working conditions, focussing on rules and regulations within the mills, as well as workforce benefits given to the mill workers at Derwent Valley Mills in order to develop their understanding of the ‘carrot and stick’ approach to managing a workforce.


The package can also support a comparative study of eighteenth/nineteenth century working conditions with contemporary issues related to employment law and business in the UK.

The resource can be used independently by pupils or as a teacher-led resource. The 'reading portraits' activity is best used as a teacher-led, whole class exercise.

Curriculum Links

Citizenship KS3 & 4 - 1.2 Rights and responsibilities, 2.1 Critical Thinking. Area of study: the rights and responsibilities of consumers, employers and employees.

History KS3 & 4 - 1.3 Change and continuity, 1.5 Significance, 2.1 Historical Enquiry, 2.2 Using Evidence. Area of study: the way in whcih the lives, beliefs, ideas and attitudes of people in Britain have changed over time.


Learning objectives

  • Identify changes and trends in the world of work and their consequences
  • Examine the provision made in industrial communities for the workforce
  • Learn about the development and significance of a local industry
  • Pupils use their imagination to consider other people's experiences and be able to understand why rules are needed in the workplace
  • Think about, express and explain views that are not their own related to workers’ rights.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site | 
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