Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teacher's Notes

Resource created by: Colne Valley Museum


This resource centres on an intact example of a weaver’s cottage in Golcar, in the Colne Valley, and can be used both as a local history resource, and as a general resource to support the teaching of cottage industries in Britain and the start of the Industrial Revolution.


Curriculum Links

  • KS2 History:  A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 | a significant turning point in British history,
  •  KS3 History:  Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901


Discussion Ideas

  • How would you feel working for your family rather than going to school?  Do you think it is a good idea for children as young as six to work?  Why, why not?


  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a family in a cottage industry, versus working in a factory?


  • How do you think the number of clothes that people own has changed from when every item had to be handmade, to today?


  • What are the similarities and differences between what happened with mechanisation and workers conditions and wages during the Industrial Revolution, and what is happening now with the increased use of robotics and Artificial Intelligence in industry?


Activity Ideas


  • Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with the ‘Step by Step, Fleece to Cloth’ cards and ask the pupils to order the steps correctly.  They could then act out their step using actions and sounds to create a ‘cottage industry’.


  • Research what it was like to work in the industrial factories as a child.  Create a venn diagram to compare and contrast the life of both a cottage worker and factory worker. 


  • Dye your own yarn using natural vegetable dyes, such as beetroot, turmeric, coffee and red onionskins.  Once dried, the dyed yarn can be used to weave artworks (see activity below).


  • Using a simple loom, a peg loom or lolly sticks (for god’s eye), create a piece of artwork by weaving.   You could focus on only using recycled materials, or all natural materials.  Links could be made to colour theory, including complimentary colours, values and tones.  See Supporting Links for resources to support this activity.


  • Hot seat activity: Luddite and Mill owner.  Teacher takes each role in turn and students ask questions.  Answers can be collated and stuck up on a noticeboard and used for further activities.  Alternatively this could be done as a whole class debate, once the subject has been researched.


  • Create an infographic or comic strip to illustrate the manufacturing process from wool to finished cloth.