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News  »  Stephen Lord History Society Talk



   Stephen Lord History Society Talk    23 February, 2012

EAST HADDON HISTORY SOCIETY MEETING

On February 23, the History Society welcomed Mr Stephen Lord to talk about ‘Education in East Haddon’.  Stephen recently retired as Head Teacher of East Haddon Primary School after 29 years in that position, during which time he has done extensive research into the subject.  

The main school as we know it today dates back to 1790, although clearly there was teaching in the village long before that.  Even after 1790 education was not limited to the main school.   Stephen quoted an Education return of 1833 which listed five day schools and 3 different Sunday schools (which provided a general education, including ‘ink wells in the pews’).   The main school was extended and developed several times during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the maximum pupils on roll reached 146.  Stephen’s research also extended to the family history of the various head teachers in the schools, including their academic, sporting, and war records.   The school-leaving age varied over the years, but it was not until the Education Act of 1874 that attendance at school became compulsory for children and even then the leaving age did not reach the teens until well into the twentieth century.   Free education also had to wait until the twentieth century.

During both the first and second World Wars East Haddon received evacuated children from London (in fact there was a total of 141 evacuees in the school – not all at the same time - during World War II, and at one point in 1942, evacuees outnumbered local children).

Perhaps the most interesting aspects of Stephen’s talk were his quotations from the school log books which also became compulsory in 1874.   These comments covered such aspects as the subjects taught (including ‘object lessons’, singing , temperance and farm visits), and the occasions when the school was closed (due to blackberrying and potato-picking , local social events, and disinfection of the premises), and the illness epidemics, (including scarletina in 1876, diphtheria in 1889, scarlet fever in 1899, and German measles in 1905). Interestingly, in 1897 the school was closed for a week’s holiday to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Altogether, a fascinating glimpse into the past.  There will be further topics of similar interest for the villagers in the future – look out for the notices on the website and in the village newsletter each month.

 

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