Stop 1 of 6: Working at the Docks

It's Christmas in Victorian London in 1839 and time to earn your family Christmas dinner. What will you purchase? A turkey for the table or a pudding for your party?

Transcript

[FILM BEGINS]

[♪Music starts♪]

[♪Singing♪]

Chorus:

Heave ho, working at the Docks.
Heave ho, working at the Docks.
We work all day, we work all night,
Loading and logging and packing right.
We work until the eve doth come,
To celebrate a year just gone.
Ooo eeeh and pack that barrel,
Ooo eeeh and pack that barrel,
Ooo eeeh and pack that barrel,
Work 'til eve doth come. Oi! Oi!

[00:00:40]

Scrooge:

Blast that noise! Cease your squawking! Can’t a man get on with his accounts without suffering this infernal din? Get back to work!

[00:00:54]

Dock worker:

Sir, don’t be a Scrooge! Now I was just going to ask if I may be allowed, just this once, to slip out and purchase a turkey and a pudding for my family’s Christmas dinner?

[00:01:06]

Scrooge:

Bah humbug! Turkey? Christmas pudding you say? You don’t have time or money to be thinking about celebrations and plucked birds! Time off? Am I expected to pay a day’s wage for no work?

[00:01:28]

[♪Sounds of coins jingling♪]

Scrooge:

Here is a shilling for last week’s work. Get this load packed and shifted if you want to see another one of these before Christmas.

[00:01:45]

[♪Music starts♪]

Dock worker:

Thank you sir. Now how can I make enough money to get that turkey?

Heave ho, working at the Docks.
Heave ho, working at the Docks.
We work all day, we work all night,
Loading and logging and packing right.
We work until the eve doth come,
To celebrate a year just gone.
Ooo eeeh and pack that barrel...

[FILM ENDS]

Get back to work

It can be tough, working at the London Docks – loading, packing and stacking things right. Especially with a Scrooge for a boss, who won’t even give you Christmas Day off to be with your family.

At least it's work, right? You're going to need a few extra shillings if you want to put a turkey or pudding on the table.

So... Get back to work!

Your challenge!

Photo of No. 1 Warehouse gallery

Imagine a huge warehouse with fresh cargo arriving at a window.

  • What would your job be? Would you unload cargo or deliver it to the warehouse? Would you weigh, mark, store or load?
  • What cargo would you be dealing with? Tea, spices, wool?
  • What tools and machines would you use?
  • Look at the signs in the picture. Where would your cargo come from and where would it be going next?

What a hard day's work! You’ve earned a shilling from that Scrooge of a boss.

A purse for your shillings

Instructions next to illustrations of a pencil, scissors and a purse.

Why not make yourself a purse and shillings to earn on your Victorian Christmas adventure?

Download this template with simple instructions – or come up with your own design!

Photo of three Victorian performers playing guitars and singing in the No. 1 Warehouse gallery.

NEXT STOP:
Busk for your Christmas dinner

Time to become a street performer and busk for your Christmas dinner.