Pupils at Mayville High School in Southsea were transported back in time as they recreated the Victorian era.
They dressed up in Victorian clothes and some children were even left without shoes for the day.
As lunchtime approached, they were then served up gruel for their midday meal.
Richard Stride from the Groundlings Theatre Company played the role of Charles Dickens and toured the classrooms with actors dressed as school inspectors.
Flynn Way, 10, says: ‘The teachers were scary. They all had canes and stern faces.’
Madeline Albo, nine, says: ‘It’s really strict but it’s quite fun understanding what the Victorians did.
‘But I really wouldn’t have liked to live then.’
Pupils went into the playground where they took part in a Victorian physical education lesson which involved marching, bending and raising their arms.
The day ended with a Punch and Judy show.
Sam Dekker, Year Four teacher and one of the organisers, says: ‘It gives children the opportunity to really step back in time. They have risen to the challenge and it’s opened their eyes to the luxuries they have today.’
Jenny Lewis, Year Six teacher, adds: ‘I’m glad I don’t teach in Victorian times. There was no response from the children and no interaction.
‘I was amazed the way that the children just slotted into the role of the Victorian child.
‘I did an hour’s needlework with them and they didn’t breathe a word. I was surprised they could stay quiet for so long. I did find it hard not to smile and stay in character.’