Slim Jim and Scott’s Emulsion

At Market Lavington Museum we have various artefacts connected to the village school, which was in the building now known as the Old School from the 1840s until 1971. These include The Old School Bell, A school desk and Thimbles along with various photographs and registers. However, it is the memories of former pupils which really add to our understanding of the school experience at different times in its history.

In today’s blog, we will consider some of the Memories of Market Lavington, which Sybil Perry put together for the museum. She was a pupil at the school from 1924 to 1931.

Sybil wrote that ‘discipline was very strict.’ ‘No-one was allowed to speak except when asked a question by the teacher, or to ask the teacher a question or to real aloud.’ ‘Children were caned for misbehaviour, and serious cases sent to the Head.’ ‘Girls could be caned by the class teacher. The Headmaster used an actual bamboo cane which he called Slim Jim, and he kept it on top of a cupboard. The boy who was to be caned had to stand on a chair, get it down, and hand it to the Head, all to add to the boy’s humiliation, as he was caned in front of the class. the boy was caned on the palm of his hand …’ We do not have Mr Laycock’s Slim Jim in the museum, but we do have the walking stick which a later Headteacher, Mr Stowe, used for the same purpose.

Another snippet of information from Sybil was that ‘Children who did not appear as strong as they should be when the school doctor came, were given a spoonful of a fish-based thick, white liquid called Scott’s Emulsion, on his recommendation. This was administered by a teacher every morning at break, the children lining up one behind the other.’ A little research finds that this emulsion was cod liver oil. (Our curator recalls this was given to children in the 1950s, but at home rather than at school.)

We will look at some more of Sybil’s memories of her schooldays in Market Lavington on another occasion.

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