This term in Geography the LIV (Year 7) have been focusing on the topic of ‘Settlement’. As part of this work we spent this week’s lesson in Calne investigating its history; from the early wool trade to the Harris Pork factory.

We discovered evidence of the old 18th century coaching inns and the original butchers' shops and we saw the tiny doorways of the 17th century Alms Houses, imagining the size of the women who once occupied these dwellings. We stood on the green, the original centre of Calne, and saw the weavers' building and the wealthy wool merchants' houses, Dr Joseph Priestley’s home, as well as the many schools, including the original site of St Mary’s School.

We imagined the activities that would have taken place on the green; a playground for the schools, summer fairs, maypole dancing, pageants, visiting players and much more. Our walking tour took us beside the canal, a branch of the Wilts & Berks open from 1802 – 1901, which originally carried goods to and from the town, notably coal from Somerset for the Harris factory. We discovered the site of Calne station 1863 – 1965 which not only carried goods, but also brought girls to school at St Mary’s. We finished our walk at Chavey Well, a natural spring and historically an important source of clean water for the town. It was a pleasing and valuable geographical exercise consolidating work completed in class, as well as importantly developing greater awareness of the history of our local town.

Mrs Sally Hornby, Teacher of Geography