Homes in the Past

Homes in the Past
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Slide 1: Slide
HistoryPrimary Education

This lesson contains 19 slides, with interactive quizzes and text slides.

time-iconLesson duration is: 15 min

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Homes in the Past

Slide 1 - Slide

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Use what you already know

Learn some new facts

Get ready to take part

Reflect on what you have learned
When you see this symbol in the lesson:

Slide 2 - Slide

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What do you think homes
were like in the past?

Slide 3 - Mind map

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Exploring homes in the past
Most people in countryside areas used materials they could find in the landscape around them, such as stone, wood and straw, to build their homes.

Let's have a look at some different types of homes... 

Slide 4 - Slide

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Single Room Cabins
Small single room cabins were a common type of rural home. In 1841, 40% of all homes in Ireland were single room cabins!

They could be made from stone, turf, and sods of earth. 

Click on the link on the next page to explore a small cabin at the Ulster American Folk Park.

Slide 5 - Slide

This picture shows a small mud cabin built in Toome, County Antrim.  We can see that large pieces of wood are being used to help hold up the walls.

Can you spot the cat in the doorway and grass growing from the thatched roof?

Slide 6 - Link

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How many people do you think would have
lived in a single room home like this?

Slide 7 - Poll

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In the past, it was very common for families of 5 people to live in tiny single room houses.

Sometimes there could be as many as 12 people living together! With very little space and only one bed, children would usually sleep on floor. 
In these pictures we can see a bed with curtains around it.  This is called an outshot bed and was very common in the past.  The bed was close to the fire to help people stay warm during the night.

Slide 8 - Slide

Children would gather heather, ferns or bracken, straw and leaves and scatter them on the floor.  This was called a shake-down or throw-down bed.  When they got up in the morning, they would push this against the wall out of the way.
Byre Dwellings
A byre dwelling was a farmhouse where people and their animals shared the same building.  

They had thick stone walls and a roof of thatch which is held in place by ropes tied to stone pegs.

This one has two doors and only one tiny window.  

Slide 9 - Slide

Inside, this small home is divided in two.  At one end is a stone floor and simple stalls for animals.  This area also has a small section of smooth earthen floor where the animals would sleep on straw bedding when they were brought indoors at night.  

At the other end was a turf fire which provided heat and somewhere to cook food.  Light was provided by candles or paraffin lamps.  There was very little furniture with a wooden framed bed and dresser to store plates and dishes. 

What type of animals do you think lived in a
house like this?

Slide 10 - Quiz

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Cows lived in this house!  

'Byre' is an old word for a cow-shed. 

A stone drain separated the animal's living area from the people.  The drain carried away pee from the cattle, and the dung was removed and used as manure on the fields.

The cows helped keep the home nice and warm!

Slide 11 - Slide

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Thatched Mansions
These homes were much grander than cabins, but they were often made using the same materials - stone and thatch. Usually these buildings were home to wealthy families, and could have up to twelve rooms! 

This thatched mansion at the Ulster American Folk Park is known as Aughalane House and was home to the Campbell Family.  

Slide 12 - Slide

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Let's have a look at some of the rooms in this home and the objects you might find in them...
Dining Room
The family would gather here to eat meals together.

The table would be set with lots of plates and dishes, including this special serving bowl for soup called a tureen.
This is where the family would spend their evenings reading books, sewing, writing letters or playing cards.  

It's also where they would welcome guests.
Here food would be cooked over the open fire.  Pots would be hung from chains and raised or lowered to control the heat, a bit like turning the temperature of a cooker up and down!

Slide 13 - Slide

Some of the names of these rooms might be the same as those we have in our modern homes today, such as the bedroom and kitchen, but they probably look very different!  

In the kitchen, food was cooked over the fire and there were no built-in cupboards or worktops!  Many homes no longer have dining rooms, instead we may have our meals at the kitchen table.  The parlour is similar to our modern lounges or living rooms, and the scullery is a bit like a utility room!
A scullery is a small room used for storing cleaning items, pots, pans and laundery items such as washtubs and irons.  

It's very much like a modern utility room.
Beds often had heavy curtains to stop cold draughts.    

Chamber pots like this one were kept under the bed or on wash stands.  Because there is no bathroom or toilet, this is where you would pee or poo during the night. 
Exploring rooms and objects....

Slide 14 - Slide

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Have a look at this plan of Aughalane House. Can you work out where each room is?
 Drop and drag the picture of the room to where you think it is...
A room for storing cooking and cleaning items
A room where the family would eat meals 
A room where food was cooked
A room where people sleep
A room where the family would greet visitors

Slide 15 - Drag question

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Can you place the object in the correct room?
Dining Room

Slide 16 - Drag question

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Which of these homes from the past would you like to live in?

Slide 17 - Poll

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How did you enjoy the lesson?

Slide 18 - Poll

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Slide 19 - Slide

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