Sickly Slums and Sailortowns: PTUC Outreach

Brad Beaven helping a group to learn 'Jackspeak'

Brad Beaven helping a group to learn ‘Jackspeak’

The Port Towns and Urban Cultures team embarked on their first outreach event aimed at children aged between 12 and 15 years. The event was run in conjunction with the University of Portsmouth’s UP for It Club which offers children in school years 7 to 11 a chance to engage in university-based subjects and get a taster for life and study in higher education.

PTUC were excited to be able too take part and share their research with an audience outside the traditional ‘academic’ world and hoped to be able to inspire a new generation of researchers into exploring the interesting history and legacy of life in Port Towns.

Student Ambassador, Hannibal Madsen, helping a group to perfect their 'Jackspeak'

Student Ambassador, Hannibal Madsen, helping a group to perfect their ‘Jackspeak’

The workshop was taken by Melanie Bassett and Louise Moon and assisted by Brad Beaven, the UP for It team and two of the University’s Student Ambassadors. Twenty four children attended the workshop, which was designed around a Horrible Histories theme of ‘Sickly Slums and Sailortowns’ and lasted over two hours. The children were able to learn about the topic through fun activities such as a quiz on living conditions in the Portsea slum (c.1850-1920) with prizes given for the team with the highest score for each of the three rounds. They were then introduced to ‘Jackspeak’ so that they could learn how to “speak like a sailor” by matching the Jackspeak phrases to their definitions. This was topped off by a craft activity where the children were introduced to the symbolism of sailor tattoos and asked to create their own – by drawing on nylon tights of course, not on their skin.

Two participants modelling their sailor tattoos

Two participants modelling their sailor tattoos

After their session with PTUC the children were then taken aboard HMS Warrior (1860) in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard to learn about the lives of sailors aboard one of the Victorian Royal Navy’s most innovative ships.

We are pleased to report that the session was a success and hope that we can hold more like it in the future. Many thanks to the History Department and School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies (SSHLS) for their support and a huge thanks to Claudia Bradshaw and the rest of the UP For It  team and the University’s Student Ambassadors for all their help.



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