Schoolboys and spuds- 1940s/50s

Philip Francis’s oral history memories of schooldays in Market Lavington must date from the mid 1940s into the 1950s. At that time, Mrs Elisha taught the infant class in the old village hall.

In the main (Old School) building, Sybil Perry had the younger juniors in the classroom at the front, nearest Church Street. Mr Bardwell taught the next class in the room at the back, part of which has now been converted into a kitchen, as the building is now a hall for hiring out for group activities and events. Edgar Julian Stowe (nicknamed Pecker Stowe by the pupils) was the headteacher, who taught the oldest children in the middle classroom. Some of the older children left Lavington School when they were eleven, if they had obtained places at Devizes Grammar School or Dauntseys School in West Lavington.

Rowena Campbell Triggr’s photo of the school in 1958

During the second world war, and in the years just following it, home food production was very important and Philip remembered that boys helped with the potato harvest, digging up the crop unpaid, in return for a few days off school. See the plan of Grove Farm in Cows at Grove Farm to find where their potatoes were grown and The Potato Harvest to see the crop being lifted on the Warrington Field.

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