Posts Tagged ‘education’

Lavington School at 50

August 24, 2012

This year saw the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Lavington School. Back in 1962, it was a secondary modern school. Students who passed the exam at age 11 could receive their education at the Grammar School in Devizes. But for most of its existence, Lavington School has been a comprehensive school taking all children from the Lavingtons and surrounding areas between the ages of 11 and 16.

Here was the school in its early days.

An early photo of Lavington School by Peter Francis, Market Lavington’s professional photographer.

And here we see a similar view in August 2012.

Lavington School in 2012 at age 50

The grounds have matured and that hides much of the new building. There have been many new buildings – not least, the sports hall on the left of the shot.

2012 was a year to celebrate for the school. Before the tea party for former school members – which we understand was a real delight – the school was decorated. Here we see the school entrance with ‘cakes’, flags and messages for the 50th birthday.

Happy Birthday Lavington School. The entrance in 2012.

We can but wonder what changes the next fifty years will bring.

Rowena – Student Teacher – 1958

May 31, 2012

Back in 1958 a student teacher came to work at Market Lavington School. Her name was Rowena and as a part of her work she kept a record of her activities – a village survey.

Rowena, who was a student at Bath, passed out of the life of the village after a month. But she was always remembered by Peggy Gye, our museum founder and long term curator. A dozen or so years ago, Rowena’s village survey arrived at the museum, via the WI. There was an address on her folder, but it did not lead to Rowena – presumably an old address.

Some three years ago, one of our stewards, holidaying in the north west, came across Rowena working as a volunteer at Silloth Lifeboat Station. It is on the Cumbrian Coast some 22 miles west of Carlisle. Another steward recently decided to give the lifeboat station a call and so now the museum is back in touch with Rowena.

It seems a good time to introduce some of Rowena’s work on this blog. This comes from her second day at the school and village – 26th September 1958. She was learning about the village, visiting the church.

From Rowena’s record of her month in Market Lavington

So, Rowena found the key to the church tower and clambered up, past the belfry and right out onto the roof. From here she took photographs and some of these found their way to her survey.

Let’s look at one of them.

Grove Farm from Market Lavington Church tower in 1958

Rowena was looking down on Grove Farm which was then the home and workplace of Ron and Fran Francis. This is a view which has entirely changed. The Grove Farm land now has housing and the farm site is now occupied by our wonderful Community Hall and associated car park.

Back on that date in 1958, the house was all there with a neat little greenhouse in the garden. The corrugated iron ark building looks shiny and new. It is surrounded by older buildings, mostly with thatched rooves. The yard has the look of many a farmyard – untidy but in use.

Rowena was unsure of the capabilities of her camera. But her photo here is unlike any other we have from the church tower.

The next day – Friday 26th September, 1958 – Rowena collected some information from Fran Francis.

More about activities at Grove Farm, Market Lavington in 1958

Adjoining the school is Grove Farm owned by Mr Francis. I called to him but unfortunately he had gone to Market. Mrs Francis was in however and she invited me in to the friendly farm house kitchen where I was entertained by the ‘budgie’. Grove Farm consists of 75 acres and is run by Mr Francis and two of his sons. They have a mixed dairy herd and the milk is sent to the U. D. (United Dairies) at Melksham. Mr Francis buys  in 30 to 40 gallons of bottled milk daily from Chippenham and he retails this in the village. He grows potatoes (3.4 acres), sugar beet, wheat (5 acres)  and barley (4.5 acres) and he conserves grass in the form of hay and silage for winter stock feeding.

Thanks, Rowena – your time in Market Lavington, more than 50 years ago, provides us with information, not only about the school, but also about many of the village activities at the time.

Mrs Price – teacher at Market Lavington School

May 21, 2012

Mrs Price taught in Market Lavington for at least 20 years, but she was not Lavington born.

She was born in Heytesbury, Wiltshire in about 1867. We have not traced her parents.

In 1871, for the census, she was living with her uncle, a farmer at Nunney in Somerset.

For the 1881 census she was with her grandmother in almshouses on the edge of Salisbury.

Her marriage to Easterton born Albert Edward Price took place in the Warminster district in 1889.

For the 1891 census the couple lived in Easterton. Albert was described as a farmer and the couple had a young son, 11-month-old Richard.

By 1901 Emma was working as an assistant teacher. Albert was a coachman. The only child with them was still Richard. The little family lived at Fiddington Lodge.

Roy Harry Price was born in about 1902 and he can be found with his parents, including Emma the schoolteacher, at Fiddington Lodge on the 1911 census.

Our photo, a class photo at Market Lavington School dates from about 1920.

Class at Market Lavington School in 1920. Mr Laycock, the headmaster is at the right. Mrs Price is the lady at the left in the back row.

Mrs Price is picked out below.

Mrs Price of Market Lavington School was born Emma Fanny Austin

The 1926 electoral roll shows Emma, Albert and Roy living at High Street, Market Lavington.

Emma died in 1929 and is buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s, Market Lavington.

Albert was still living on High Street in 1939. He joined Emma in the churchyard in 1946.

We’ll return to that school photo on another occasion.

Maths for ten year olds – 1904 style.

May 16, 2012

We recently looked at  some dictation by little Minnie Smith, the daughter of the pond digger. Today we look at a page of her maths exam from 1904.

Arithmetic Exam by Minnie Smith of Market Lavington – 1904 style

Let’s take one of those questions and see how Minnie approached the task of multiplying ninety two pounds seven and ten pence farthing by 631. Youngsters today will not realise that until 1971 we had to contend with pounds shillings and pence – so much more complex than the decimal currency we use now. And multiplying by 631! Youngsters today would reach for the calculator.

One sum as done by Minnie

Minnie’s niece was Sybil Perry who became a teacher at Market Lavington School. She supplied the following explanation of how Minnie worked.

Sybil Perry, Minnie’s niece and a former Market Lavington school teacher explains how the sum was done.

Thanks for that Sybil.

And well done to Minnie who got those four sums correct.

Doing the Dictation

May 14, 2012

We recently met poor Minnie Smith who, sadly, died of cancer in 1906 at the age of 12. It looks as though Minnie was a fine scholar, if we judge from some exam pages of hers which have survived. Here we see her dictation page.

Dictation test by Minnie Smith of Market Lavington – 1904

This looks to be perfect in every respect – spelling and punctuation are all as they should be and, it has to be said, the handwriting is wonderful. Young Minnie has signed and dated the work.

Signed and dated by Minnie

So, Minnie was just ten at the time. Sometime soon we’ll show you her maths. Prepare to be truly amazed at the complex sums youngsters were expected to do more than 100 years ago.

William Moore, first rate scholar

November 20, 2011

We have met William before. He was born at New Farm on Salisbury Plain on 22nd September 1890. To find the site of New Farm you’d have to go up Lavington Hill and continue across the plain for half a mile or so (make sure no red flags are flying)  and then all you’ll see is a clump of trees that were planted to offer a little shelter to the farm. However, back in the 1960s, a shell exploded in the area and revealed what is thought to be a stone path. In those long ago days people could leave the carriageway and get a photo.

A part of a path at New Farm, Market Lavington, uncovered by shell fire in the 1960s

New Farm, of course, ceased to exist when it became part of the military range before World War I.

But back to William Moore who, at the age of  15 was clearly trying to improve his education by attending Market Lavington Evening School. It looks as though he succeeded, for William won a prize for attendance, punctuality and work.

Certificate given to William Moore for his work at Market Lavington Evening School

His teacher appears to have been Miss M Welch. This would have been Mary Welch who lived at Beech House where she and her sister ran a private school. However, this Evening School would seem to have been run under the direction of Mr Duck who was headmaster at Market Lavington School.

But congratulations to William Moore and you can read more about him here.

Stories for Little Curly Locks

October 24, 2011

Every item in Market Lavington Museum has a real link with the parish – including Easterton, Fiddington and Gore. Some items are very specific and others have more general interest. Today we are looking at a book published in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Stories for Little Curly Locks - a book at Market Lavington Museum

The book is called ‘Stories for Little Curly Locks’ and in those long ago days when this book was published, it was deemed absolutely fine to gear books towards one gender. So this book is aimed at girls and forms part of ‘Our Girl’s Little Library’.

A page from the book

Information at the museum gives a publication date of about 1860. These days, with the availability of much more  information, we put the date at more like 1880.

An on-line bookshop (Open Door Books) who have a copy for sale describe the book as:

Pretty blue/brown covers with colorful paste-on of well dressed in bonnet girl feeding birds.  1880. List of publishers ads front (Griffith, Farran & Co.) Many steel plate engravings, some full page. 70 pgs. 3 pgs ads rear. Very Rare.

Our copy, of course, is not for sale for it is conserved as a part of the history of our parish.

The Misses Saunders’ School

October 9, 2011
The Saunders family were well known in the Lavington area for their non conformist views on religious matters and their ability to stick to their beliefs and get others to follow them. Amram Saunders has been met before on these pages. He was the man who cajoled the local wealthy people into stumping up money so that the toll gates on local roads could be removed and all people could move freely about the area.

Amram’s sisters ran a school in Market Lavington.  It is known that it was in operation by  1808 and was still in operation in the old Parsonage House  in about 1850. The school had gone by 1855.

The Parsonage on Parsonage Lane, Market Lavington. The Miss Saunders ran their school in this building

Elizabeth Saunders was the driving force in this independent, non-conformist school. The children were taught things likely to be of interest to ‘girls of small fortune’ and it was assumed that they would receive instruction at home in household work. Plain needlework and darning were among the skills taught.

The Parsonage on Parsonage Lane was used by the Miss Saunders. The building was demolished in the mid 19th century. Allegedly it was haunted.

The shell above the door still survives – at Market Lavington Manor which has for many years been a part of Dauntsey’s School.

The location of the old parsonage is made clear in the painting. Across the road we can see a part of the barn which still stands alongside Parsonage Lane. The building beyond the parsonage has been replaced by the Racquets Court.

The Retirement of Mrs Elisha

July 8, 2011

Mrs Elisha, born and raised in Market Lavington (as May Potter) devoted her life to children in Sunday schools and then as a teacher at Market Lavington School – the Old School as we now call it.

Helena May Potter, to give her full name, was born in 1903. In theory, she should have retired, aged 60, in 1963, but in fact Mrs Elisha continued to teach until the age of 65, in 1968.

The school governors of that time decided that there should be an appropriate gift for Mrs Elisha, to mark the occasion and they felt sure that many people would want to contribute. This letter was sent out.

Fund raising letter for a gift for Mrs Elisha to mark her retirement from Market Lavington School in 1968

In fact, 1968 did not mark the end of Mrs Elisha’s teaching, for she returned, over a number of years to be a supply teacher. Former students at the new ‘St Barnabas School’ which opened in 1971 recall Mrs Elisha teaching from time to time. They also recall the almost reverential way in which she was treated by the headmaster at that time.

Mrs Elisha enjoyed a relatively long retirement. She died in 1991. Sadly she had no children of her own. Many of her effects can now be found at Market Lavington Museum.

Perhaps a blog reader attended whatever retirement ‘do’ was organised for Mrs Elisha, back in 1968, and could tell us about it.

Mrs Cooper remembers the old school

April 28, 2011

St Barnabas School opened on this day in 1971 – 40 years ago today. It is celebrating this anniversary with a display of memorabilia, at the school, this afternoon. Amongst items lent, by Market Lavington Museum, for this occasion is a piece of pupil’s work from 1988. This includes a report of a talk by Mrs Cooper who worked at both the old Market Lavington School as well as at the new school. Please forgive lapses in Grammar and spelling by a 10/11 year old who we know, like many of his classmates, now has a degree and a successful career.

Some parts of the writing need further explanation. The old school of Market Lavington had outgrown the original Victorian building and so other spaces were found elsewhere. ‘Kevin’s House’ mentioned in the writing, is in the area next to Shires Close and that replaced Shire’s Garage which also gets a mention. So, too, does Gye’s builder’s yard which is now Gye’s Old Yard.

It wasn’t only the old Market Lavington School which closed when St Barnabas opened. Easterton, too, had its own village school and that closed too. That school quickly vanished and bungalows were built near Easterton Church where it used to stand.