Children went below decks to discover what it was like to travel on the Mayflower Ship to America.

The Grand Theatre of Lemmings built a learning ship to teach youngsters about the historic 66-day journey the Pilgrim Fathers took in 1620.

Step on Board, the theatre’s project, toured five schools as part of a build up to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing in 2020.

David Rose, director, said £9,800 from the Heritage Lottery fund and £2,000 from Tendring Council paid for the project.

He said: “It was fantastic.

“The children did some hoisting and learnt about pulleys and what they would have eaten on the Mayflower and made some ship’s biscuits.

“They learnt how to navigate and about knots and making rope.”

A small below decks area of the theatre’s ship showed the dark and cramped conditions on board.

“It would have been absolutely awful, they couldn’t wash and there was only salt water.

“There should have been two ships but one fell into trouble so they all went on one.

“It was a 5ft high deck and most people didn’t go above deck.

“There were no toilet facilities and the only light and fresh air came from canon ports. “There was very little to do apart from reading the bible and any cooking was done on a metal tray.”

The theatre has taken the project to Wix and Wrabness, Two Village, Mayflower, Spring Meadow and All Saints primary schools in Dovercourt.

There are hopes it will be rolled out further in the future.