A Year in the Life of a School

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School log book entries for the National School from 1863

By Chris Worpole

School log books are a day-to-day record of events at a school kept by the head teacher, and date back to 1862, when the Government first required schools in receipt of state grants to maintain a log of daily activities. They include information on activities outside the normal timetable, official visits and inspections, outings, special closures, incidents of misbehaviour, staff appointments and absences, reorganisation of classes, and reasons for low attendance.

The following is a selection from the school log book of the National School at Hadleigh. These entries were recorded by the mistress and later the first master of the school  - William Batchelor Kingswood - in 1863.  (Spelling and punctuation as in the original.)   

January 1863

29th

Miss Mitchell entered the school as Assistant Teacher.

February 1863

4th

On enquiring the cause of the absence of about a dozen boys this afternoon was told they had gone pigeon shooting.

6th

Miss Mitchell kept at home this afternoon by a sick headache.

9th

A dog belonging to Sarah Harvey followed her to school and proved a great nuisance by running in and out all afternoon.

12th

Thomas Choppen punished for coming to School at 5 minutes before 3.

17th

Holiday in the afternoon being Shrove Tuesday.

18th

Children went to Church in the morning being Ash Wednesday.

19th

George Sewell and Thos. Jermyn came in the School and blacked the faces of several children before 2 o’clock. Sent for Mr. Tyrrell to put a stop to their mischievous behaviour.

27th

During dinner hour Eliza Dolby tumbled into the ditch – put her boots too near the fire and burnt them.

March 1863

3rd

Ellen Brewer spent her school money in nuts.

10th

Children regaled with buns and coffee in honour of the Prince of Wales marriage.

13th

Miss Mitchell unable to come to school, suffering with pain in the chest.

18th

Eliza Griggs left at 3.30 to nurse her mother’s baby.

April 1863

2nd

Holiday tomorrow (Good Friday) and Easter Week.

14th

Mary A. Smith pushed a pencil up her nose, which with some little difficulty was removed.

22nd

John Gilman threw a stone and cut Amy Chignell’s forehead. Cautioned children never to throw stones.

30th

Very cold day – unable to open coal house door, consequently could have no fire.

May 1863

6th

Children very tiresome, felt the want of an assistant in the School.

7th

Phebe Adams very impudent – gave her a good caning.

12th

Missed a half penny from the table – on searching found it in John Green’s pocket – punished him for the theft.

18th

Mr. Godson [curate] examined 1st and 2nd classes in Scripture History.

June 1863

1st

Several children absented themselves afraid of Mr. Bias vaccinating them.

4th

School very thin all week owing to Fair and Circus at Rayleigh.

11th

Mr. Godson cautioned children against using bad words and also about destroying shrubs in School yard.

23rd

Three Gillmans absent because Cornelius Pepper yesterday threw the eldest boy’s cap in the ditch.

24th

Half a holiday – Hadleigh Fair day.

July 1863

13th

Mr. Godson examined the children in the Church Catechism – found them rather deficient.

September 1863

7th

H.B.Kingswood acted as master for the School for the first time. Mrs. Kingswood took girls in needlework in the Afternoon.

10th

Practised singing the National Anthem and gave general hints as to their behaviour. Holiday in afternoon. AnnualSchool treat and Choral Service at the Church.

11th

Gave the 1st and 2nd classes (boys) extra time in arithmetic in afternoon: only 1 out of 14 being able to put down 37 and add 4, from dictation.

18th

Several stayed away this week “Potato Picking”.

22nd

Gave children home lessons [homework] for the first time today.

25th

Gave the whole school a lesson on the Church Catechism from 9.15 to 10.15 am.

October 1863

1st

Phoebe Adams was kept in for insubordination and idleness.

13th

Kept Eliza Griggs in for Truant playing and WalterHills for neglecting to learn his home lesson.

14th

Found the 1st Class Boys exceedingly stupid in Arithmetic, not being able to work the simplest sums in either simple or compound Subtraction.

23rd

Service in the Church in the Morning and greater part of the Afternoon was occupied in getting the Statistics for the Government Reports.

26th

Kept Geo. Thorringtom in for spending part of his schoolpence and telling a falsehood.

28th

Government Inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspector. The Rev. Mitchell, Mr. Godson and Mr. Tyrrell were also present. There were 83 children present, and a dull wet morning.

November 1863

6th

Girls did needlework in the morning.

10th

Several of the third class began to write in Copy Book for the first time.

December 1863

3rd

Scarcely any school on account of wet weather.

14th

A beautifully fine day yet a great many Children absent, several from sickness and others I find running the roads, with the consent of the Parents.

23rd

Broke up according to the wish of the Rev. Godson.

 

                                                                                                                                                 

This page was added by Chris Worpole on 22/02/2012.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

What a wonderful insight into village life in the 1860s

By Val Jackson
On 23/02/2012

Love it! I'm surprised that there's no mention of parents coming into school to complain about their children being disciplined!!!!!!

By Maggie
On 24/02/2012

What a joy to see that parents let children run in the roads all those years ago!!

By Ann Clarke-Overy
On 24/02/2012

I was amused to read that Eliza Dolby had tumbled into the ditch and burnt her shoes trying to dry them. Eliza was my great grandmother and I remember her well.  She would have been eight years old at the time. Eleven years later, in 1874, she married my great grandfather, John Gregory Faux, who was to become chairman of Hadleigh Parish Council for many years.

By Alan Faux
On 24/02/2012

Thanks for your comment Maggie. Parents did complain about their children being disciplined. On 1st February 1864 William Batchelor Kingswood wrote: "I had to visit two parents at noon to-day in order to quiet them respecting their children who had to stay in at noon a few minutes for bad behaviour. This is the way The Teachers generally are thanked for their exertions." (Spelling as in original.)

By Chris Worpole
On 25/02/2012

Interesting to read the comment from Alan Faux. I came across this family name when looking into who lived in Park Farm. John and Eliza Faux moved into Park Farm (1901 census) and subsequently raised a family of 8 children. The 1939 Hadleigh Directory lists Eliza Faux as living at 2 Lynton Villas and six other people called Faux listed also living in Hadleigh. There may be an interesting family history here for the H&TCA.

By Graham Cook
On 07/03/2012

Do you know which Sarah Harvey the dog belonged to? My great great grandmother would have been nine or ten at the time ... It could have been her dog!!

Can the log be viewed anywhere?

Thanks.

By Jacqui Watson
On 15/04/2014

Mary Smith was a direct ancestor ....  I remember reading the school book some years ago and seeing the quote about the pencil up nose!

{Ed: The relevant book, Tales out of School, written by Chris Worpole, is shown at: http://www.hadleighhistory.org.uk/page.aspx?id=528 }

By Jayne Knowles
On 03/08/2016