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School children have been ‘Chewing the Cud’

Social history curator Ben Moule is pictured with Sutton Academy students Harry Winwood (left) and Robbie Thomas (right) with their handmade wagons.The life of Hereford’s old livestock market is being celebrated in an exciting new exhibition of local school children’s artwork.

The site may now be home to a brand new retail quarter, but the life of the old livestock market and its memories live on.  The new exhibition at St Peter’s Church in Hereford, will display the creative artwork of local school children as part of the Chewing the Cud project, which is a reminiscence, film and education initiative which celebrates the old market. 

As part of the project, teachers from eight participating schools attended a training day which introduced them to a glass plate negative from the camera of renowned local businessman, photographer and beekeeper Alfred Watkins.  The negative shows a misty day at the livestock market in around 1900 with suited and bowler-hatted farmers ‘chewing the cud’ at a rope and twine stall with wandering cattle in the background.

The teachers explored the many different aspects of the photo with staff from Herefordshire Council’s museum service to allow them to deliver a wonderfully creative art experience for their students.

The students studied the Alfred Watkins photo and considered the many different elements to it including who was in the photo, why it was taken, who was the mysterious ‘Old Mr Gore’ and did Mr Watkins know him? 

They used the Take One learning tool based on The National Gallery’s Take One Picture, which enabled them to explore numerous learning avenues, especially outside of the classroom.  For example, students from Goodrich CE Primary School and Wellington Primary School visited local working farms; whilst St Thomas Cantilupe CE Primary School visited the new livestock market on Roman Road; Sutton Primary Academy visited the council’s Museum Resource and Learning Centre to see examples of farm wagons and Eardisley CE Primary School visited The Courtyard for a showing of the film Chewing the Cud. 

Siriol Collins, Herefordshire Council’s museum learning officer, said: “The Alfred Watkins photo has inspired many different creative explorations by children of markets, farming and photography.  We’re delighted that the Chewing the Cud project has enabled children to really explore our county’s agricultural heritage.”

Sarah Watkins, Sutton Primary Academy class teacher, said: "We have gained great benefits from taking part in Chewing the Cud.  The pupils had the opportunity to visit the Museum Resource and Learning Centre and see historical artefacts and I have been able to take part in high quality teacher training.  The parents are looking forward to seeing their children's artwork on public display at St Peter’s Church."

The exhibition is available at St Peter’s Church from Saturday 21 June to Saturday 5 July 2014 from 10am to 5pm every Monday to Saturday.  

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All photographs courtesy of Herefordshire Museum Service. 

Tags: Events, Leisure and culture, Schools and education