Treffry Viaduct and the Luxulyan Valley


This suitcase transports you into the midst of one of the most important eras of British history… the Industrial Revolution. It’s a time of spectacular new inventions and technologies and a rapidly changing landscape.

Using the narrative of local entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Thomas Treffry and the setting of the beautiful Luxulyan Valley, children are able to imagine the enormous changes and developments that emerged from the dreams of this one man and thus the transformation of this Cornish Valley and building of Treffry Viaduct.

This resource aims to enrich childrens’ experience of this unique landmark and the surrounding area through a series of creative and sensory activities combining Art, History and Literacy, for use on site and beyond. These are aimed at firing the imagination and helping children become embedded in this site and its fascinating history.

Age: This resource is aimed at children aged 9 to 11.

Key themes: the Industrial Revolution, the Victorian era, Local history, Local Industry- Mining/quarrying and local geology, and significant historical characters.

Before your visit…
We know how much teachers have to think about before venturing out of the classroom, so here are a few things we discovered that we hope you will find useful when planning your visit to Treffry Viaduct and the Luxulyan Valley.

Interested in this resource or workshops?
As with all our suitcases, there are a number of options on how they can be used. This suitcase is stored at the offices of Cornwall Heritage Trust, and is free for schools and groups to borrow. Within the suitcase you will find a detailed plan covering a range of activities that have been developed and delivered to previous schools through a series of workshops with Storylines. You can either choose to guide children through these yourselves, or decide to bring in workshop leaders from Storylines; a Cornish Community Interest Company that specialises in delivering narrative focused, creative workshops.

A suggested timescale for these activities would be over 2 ½ days.

We suggest allowing ½ day to introduce the story of the Treffry Viaduct and the life of Joseph Treffry. This would involve the children building up the visual jigsaw of how the viaduct was created, the thinking behind Treffy’s dreams and how the system worked. This was quite a complicated construction and there are many technical terms that children need to understand and be familiar with before they visit the site. It then makes recognition of the features and site layout a lot easier.

For the site visit we recommend a full day. This involves following the Valley from Pont’s Mill right the way up the incline to the Treffry Viaduct, with stops along the way to check out pertinent features such as the Wheel Pit and to participate in a variety of challenges and activities. Following this route should embed what they learned about the construction and operation of the site through playing with the visual jigsaw and interpretation of the story they heard.

Ideally a further whole day should then be allocated to discuss the visit, make memory badges to attach to the large pull out map inside the suitcase, write postcards/poetry and collate the information they collected in their books on the site visit.

Storyline’s support…
For Treffry Viaduct the following support is available and you can pick and choose depending on what you feel most comfortable with delivering yourself and your budget-

• Introduction to Treffry Viaduct, Luxulyan Valley and Joseph Treffry (see above)- ½ day-£200 (includes 2 Storylines practitioners and all materials)
• Site visit to Treffry Viaduct and the Luxulyan Valley- full day- £400* (includes 2 Storylines practitioners, all materials and support with the practicalities of the visit)
• Follow up creative activities- Memory Badges etc (see above)- full day- (includes 2 Storylines practitioners and all materials)

*Don’t forget, the Cornwall Heritage Trust provides travel grants to help primary schools visit heritage sites.

The children absorbed and learned more than they might have done over weeks in the classroom. Children were engaged with and immersed in their local heritage, giving them a sense of their place in time and history. The experience was very rewarding and the children are still talking about it months later!
Dr. Brian McCaldrin, Headteacher at Luxulyan Primary School

To enquire about the availability of the suitcase and/or accompanying workshops, please contact the Cornwall Heritage Trust:

Telephone: 01872 224014

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