Back to School

Judith Ellis

Back to school at St. James School 2020
Back to school at St. James School 2020
Infant class pre 1900
Infant class pre 1900
Infant School 1906. Some of the little boys are still in skirts and smocks
Infant School 1906. Some of the little boys are still in skirts and smocks
Back to School

‘Back to School’ this year is different and will be recalled in future years by schoolchildren who found that they had to adapt to  new way of doing things. We hope that some of these memories will be recorded for our Archives. One memory has been unearthed – Lilly Grove, recalling her schooldays in the 1880s.

The Old Blue School in about 1887
“I was fortunate to be selected, my older sister had been selected two years previous to me as being of good character.  We had the uniform for three years; 10 to 13 years old.  When we finished School at 13 years age school limit, I had reached the sixth standard.

“Every girl had to pay 2d on Monday morning, that was the school fee.  But the girls that had the Blue School uniform did not pay.  They had their education from 10 to 13.  We had quite good education and very strict teachers.

Our uniform consisted of two pairs calico knickers; two calico chemises; one flannel petticoat; one quilted stays; made of flannel to button in front; one blue serge dress; one blue cape, ¾ length, hook and eye to fasten at neck; two white tippets, 6 inches deep, to wear over cape; one white straw hat with lighter blue ribbon band; two pairs black wool stockings; one pair home-made boots.  Everything was hand-made at home.  We girls thought we looked smart going to church every Sunday.  My mother had the same uniform when a school-girl.

Would the girls of today like this dress? I don’t think so!”    Lilly Grove (from Notes &  Queries Vol IV)

The story of the Blue School is attached, together with the Schools Report from the 1870 Parish Magazine which gives more impressions of school life at that time. We will be putting more school memories and history on the website, so please revisit.

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