It’s Charles Dickens’ birthday on 7th February and we made his BrainPOP UK movie free to celebrate. We thought we’d also search back through the annals of BrainPOP UK to see what life was like for Victorian children.
Well, we were overjoyed to find this very special extract from a pupil called “Cratchface Tim” from 1876 which gives us a vivid glimpse of the very first time BrainPOP was used in a school…read on, dear visitor…
“My breath wheezed into the thick dawn air of Oxford town as I peddled in haste from Cowley proper to Summertown for I was due at Mr Moblingwell’s lesson.
It was not one and twenty minutes earlier that I had awoken from a delightfully peaceful slumber at my benevolent mother’s cottage so my mind was well rested and well prepared for the morn’s enlightenment.
The bell tolled upon my arrival at the schoolhouse gate. I bid a hasty farewell to my steed and made my way inside and up the cold winding stairwell.
I found myself at the schoolroom entrance. Instead of thundering in, as is my usual fashion, I stood in awe.
In the very place Mr Moblingwell’s chalkboard once occupied, there stood what can only be described as a white board, glowing celestially upon a leggy pedestal.
I gasped, ‘Sir, what sorcery is this?’
‘Ah, dear Cratchface Tim, good morning to you! Fear not. There is nothing here that means you harm. Enter, and let me demonstrate the wonders of this invention.’
‘Thank you Sir,’ I murmered, for I was too shaken to argue with the learn’d man, and moved to my writing desk.
As my school friends bundled in, each with a similar exclamation as I, I lifted my desk top to retrieve my pen and ink. Alas, my tools were nowhere to be found!
Presently Mr Moblingwell chimed, ‘Yes, young scholars, no writing wares for you this thrilling day. I must tell you that a spirit appeared before me upon the stroke of 7 this morn, err I emptied my chamber pot.
He was no bigger than I, but had skin of metal. He uttered sounds no man of this goodly earth could yet, implausible as it seems, I was able to understand his mechanical ways and communicated quite comfortably with the orange Sir.
Lest be assured, dear boys, he bore no ill will toward me. He simply brought me a wonderful gift.’
And, as Mr Moblingwell gestured at the glowing white board, all of the colours of the rainbow appeared illuminated upon it.
I can hardly contain my excitement at this juncture, dear reader. This day I shall never forget. For, this is the day I BrainPOPped!
Powered by just five treadmilling rats and an engine shovellingly fed by Little Billy Weasel, two brilliant academics, borne of BrainPOP, appeared on the magical screen before us.
My namesake, Tim, greeted us. And, cries of astonishment rang out, for he was accompanied by none other than Mr Moblingwell’s unearthly chum, Moby. These great philosophers took us on a journey through “The Mysteries of Life”, explaining things so advanced and alien it was as though we were learning of things yet to come.
I have to say it was a joyous lesson. Mr Moblingwell’s fat red face and tremendous belly shook as we all laughed heartily together at Moby’s larks.
‘But, how is this learning?’ I asked myself. Lo and behold, as though he were a witch doctor with the power to read my thoughts, Mr Moblingwell “quizzed” us.
A small examination proved unequivocally that we had absorbed all of the facts and figures described. Ten out of ten!
“Hurrah!” we chorused.
As the clock struck noon, the school bell tolled and the white board’s glow abated. Master Weasel took a chair and the rats were obligingly gathered up in a cage. Elated, my classmates and I prepared for home. I turned to Mr Moblingwell, ‘Please Sir?’
‘Yes boy? Spit it out.’
‘Can we have some more?’
“Cratchface Tim”, February, the year of our Lord 1876. God bless the Queen.