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Threapwood School (1843 -1961)

Introduction

The following information on Threapwood School has come from a variety of sources including the Log Books and Minute Books kept by the school. What follows is a series of personal reminicences by local people and extracts from the Log and Minute Books now held by Cheshire Archives.

School Opening

The school was built by Lord Kenyon in 1843. The management was vested exclusively in the incumbent and had accommodation for 130.

The Vicar of Threapwood, Rev. Maxwell Phayre "an expert at money and having considerable experience in the management of Primary Schools" visited his School.

The fees were 1d - 3d according to subjects taken. The Schoolmaster was probably John Hiss from Worcestershire, aged 24 and "was as far superior to the average National Schoolmaster". He spoke good English - Welsh not being understood. He was a strict disciplinarian. "A child is flogged for a blot on his copybook". The School in consequence was conducted with Military precision yet according to the Vicar "He retained the affection of his pupils".

Threapwood School had one of the most glowing reports in the notorious 1847 Blue Book. The Inspector concluded in his report "The character of the labourers before the establishment of the school was not only ignorant but immoral and in every way uncivilised".
Education appears, as usual, to have produced a salutary effect.

(Notes from Mrs Sunter Harrison).

In 1847 the School had 34 girls and 46 boys on roll with six monitors employed also 28 girls and 32 boys in the Infants department.

School Photo 1873

 

Extracts taken from the school log book.

Headmistress; Alice Goodfellow Assistant Ada J. Atkin

School Log Book Courtesy Cheshire Archives.

 

The school Inspector states;

"The School is in excellent order and has greatly improved in attainments during the year. The present cumbersome desks should be replaced by more suitable ones".

30th June 1899

Girls very busy at garments to be shown at Broughton Halt Flower show when they will compete for Prizes given by Mrs Howard.

27th September

J Howard Esq., Called with Mr Biggins-Builder, respecting school desks, when it was decided to replace old ones by new dual desks.

1st December 1899

The children are practising for a School Concert.

12th Dec. 1899

There was a very heavy fall of snow - no school today, weather severe all week.

22nd Dec.

School broke up for Christmas - Concert given by scholars in aid of the “War Fund”.

28th February 1900

This afternoon I allowed all the older scholars to follow the remains of Miss Gregory (so many years Head Teacher of this school) to the grave. As a last token of respect, teachers and scholars contributed for an 'Immortelle' wreath to place on her grave.

28th February

Today the new desks arrived and they are a great acquisition as well as an ornament to the schoolroom.

1st March

Today came the long expected and welcome news of the relief of Ladysmith. Mr John Howard rode down on horseback with the news and was so elated that he requested me to close the School for the day.

24th May

Today being the Queen's Birthday - a whole Holiday was given to celebrate the relief of Mafeking. Through the generosity of Mr and Mrs J Howard and a few neighbours, the children had a splendid treat. A procession consisting of school children paraded the Village all the afternoon and then adjourned to the schoolroom when a splendid tea was provided.

15th June

Received news this morning of the death of a little scholar (Ernest Dulson).  The schoolchildren are collecting for a wreath for his grave.

24th September

Half-holiday given on account of 'Sam Wakes'.

21st November

The Vicar Rev. W. Ellis, strongly recommends that special attention should  be paid to the children's conduct and manners, both of which are at present most unsatisfactory.

21st November

The Reverend Ellis visited this afternoon and made the above entry.

I quite agree with him when he says their manners are unsatisfactory, but the training they receive at school is counteracted by the baleful influences at work outside the school walls. The habits and language of a great many of the parents are such (that from early infancy they are so used to) as to render it impossible for teachers to train them to habits of politeness and to show the respect they should do to their superiors. It is in the home training the evil arises and it is very difficult even to a small degree to counteract it. It shall, however, in the future receive special attention, with I hope satisfactory results.

 

School Photo circa 1900

 

25th January 1901

Today - instead of History Lesson, read to the children the account of our beloved Queen and Sovereign's death and also an account of her life as given in the newspaper, from childhood to her accession to the Throne and her spotless life from that time to her sadly lamented death. What an example of spotless purity her life sets forth to all her sex and what a very important lesson to be taught in schools from her character to the future men and women of our country!

3rd May

Today-A lecture from the Band of Hope gave a very interesting Lecture on Temperance to the whole school.

23rd August

Broughton Hall Flower Show - children competed for prizes in needlework against Worthenbury and Shocklach schools. Took five prizes out of six.

1902

School closed for Coronation week.

Dec 3rd 1902

A whole holiday given-Assistant Miss Nield (Mrs Atkin) was married.

1904

Punished 30 Boys for breaking the rules of the School.  One of the Parents passing at the time came to the School and used very abusive language because her boy happened to be among the number. They all consequently left the School.  I placed the matter before the Managers.

15th February 1907

Just received news that a little scholar (Sarah Anne Gostage) is dead. She was in school a week today (she died of Diphtheria - a very bad sort the Dr. informed me.

1908

I ANNIE STEVENSON commenced duties as Head Teacher of this School. The Vicar called in School and stayed for a few minutes.

9th May

On Saturday the sad news reached us of the Kings death - Edward VII.

May 25th 1909

Yesterday, Empire Day was well kept. The Parents and Parishioners were invited to school and an entertainment was given in the afternoon. The children had tea at Broughton Hall and the entertainment was repeated at night. The Infants recited suitable pieces and the Boys "The Earl of Meath’s Catechism". The older Girls gave a play entitled" Britannia's Birthday". The characters represented were - Britannia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, India, Canada, South Africa, Australia and Channel Isles.

Nov 8th

The Piano arrived a week ago; it caused quite a sensation in the Village. Among the Children there is not one who possesses an instrument of any kind in their home excepting one!

Dec 13th

Eva Beckett left school, over 14.

Dec 22nd

Parent's Day

The programme;

1. Pianoforte Solo   Miss Wragbey
2. Little cobblers   Infants
3. Recitation   Tennyson's Immemoriam
4. Short Recitation   (a) Golden Keys, (b) Cows and Horses, (c) Happy as a Robin
5. Recitation & song   "The Choristers"
6. Little Bo Peep   The infants
7. Recitation & song   Free as a Bird
8. Short Recitation   Grandma's Angel, 12345, & Little Boy Blue - infants
9 Recitation& song   "But the Lord is mindful"
10 Nursery Rhymes   See Saw, Ding Dong Bell, Ride a Cock Horse, Jack & Jill.
11 Recitation & song   I heard the robin singing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24th May 1911

Empire Day.  At 9.0'clock the Union Jack was hoisted. The children sang "God Save the King" and gave three cheers - one for the King one for the Queen and one for the Empire. Miss Howard from Broughton Hall was present. Other years it has been usual to have an entertainment on Empire Day but this time we intend to celebrate it more fully on Coronation Day.

2nd June

School will be closed June 5th & 6th for an emergency holiday because of a number of the children going to the Chapel Outing to Llangollen.

16th June

School closes today for Coronation week.

October

School motto for the week - There is a good deal of Religion in a clean tablecloth.

11th December

There has been a great improvement in the children's general appearance during the last few months owing to the united efforts of the teachers and parents, it was at one time not customary for any child to have clean boots, now it is unusual for a child to have dirty ones.

1st May 1912

Miss Thompson takes up duty today as an emergency Teacher.

15th August 1913

The children have drawn today a map of the British Isles showing the direction to be taken by the water planes in the 'Daily Mail' race which commences tomorrow.

11th November

On Saturday I took eight children to Wrexham to see the moving pictures at a matinee, one of the farmers kindly brought the children back in the evening from Bangor Station in his milk float.

28th March 1914

Wednesday given as a holiday because of the King's visit to Chester.

30th March

The Boys have collected 8/6d for a football. It is kept at school. Eddie Broad is Captain of the team.

10th August

The Girls are knitting a pair of socks for the soldiers.

1st September

The upper division are taking the Geography of Europe in connection with the War, for the year's work.

8th Sept.

The children are bringing weekly halfpennies and pennies from their own pocket money for the War fund.

7th October

Miss Howard came to school bringing wool and asking the children to knit scarves for the soldiers.

23rd Oct

The children left school this afternoon a little early to see a contingent of soldiers march through the Village.

23rd November

The children are learning "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "The Burial of Sir John Moore".

30th November

The boys and girls in the upper room are now knitting helmets and mittens.

12th December 1915

The Concert was a big success, £17 obtained in all, after expenses £15.15.0. A parcel containing a Christmas pudding, cake, almonds & raisins, toffee, writing paper, indelible pencils, Christmas cards, socks, tobacco & cigarettes has been sent to each man at home and abroad.

7th February 1917

Owing to the severity of the weather, the ink is frozen. The children are writing with lead pencils.

2nd April

A very deep snow! There was not a single child in school this morning.

17th May

William Manford, one of my old school boys, has won the M.C. in France.

5th March 1918

News came the other day that Willie Manford, one of our old school boys had been shot. He had won the Military Medal. Another boy Dick Stevenson has also won the Medal.

21st August

A touch of Influenza seems to foe going through the school.

22nd August

School closed by Doctors orders.

23rd September

School re -opened - only 22 children present.

11th October

Only 19 children present out of 43. School closed by order of Medical Officer.

11th November

School re-opened - The school has been disinfected and the desks, forms etc. washed with Condys Fluid.

1919

Will Anson, one of my school boys was buried today. The children sent a wreath.

11th February

Nine Threapwood boys were killed in the War. A Memorial Stone is to be erected in the village.

28th April

School opens after Easter, admitted three new children the "Ibells" who are Roman Catholics.

5th May

Harold Manford has accidentally broken a window. His Mother has brought 2/- towards a new one and the other children have contributed. I think it is well to train the children to pay for breakages as a matter of honour.

28th May

Daisy Nickson has won 1st prize in all Cheshire for an essay on "Kindness to Animals".

6th August

The attendance this week is very poor. Monday was Bank Holiday, Friday previous was a ' Do' at Worthenbury. Yesterday (Tuesday) there was a 'Do' at Tallarn and today there is a 'Do' at Malpas.

29th October

Daisy Nickson received two books at Chester last Saturday for an essay on "Kindness to Animals".

9th January 1920

The children wrote an essay on the unveiling of the Memorial to the fallen soldiers of the Village during the War. It was unveiled by General Gratton assisted by Col. H .McLean and Reverend Plaskett.

11th February

Some of the bigger boys took part in a Nigger Entertainment to provide funds for the returned Soldiers Supper.

21st April

Annie Freeman sowed some Linseed on a damp sponge a few weeks ago. She brought it to school today and we all noticed the green leaves - how well they had grown.

1st June

School closed this afternoon on account of a Fete on the Vicarage lawn when the ex-Soldiers will receive souvenirs.

28th January 1921

There is one case of Scarlet Fever.

14th March

Annie Freeman, who had Scarlet Fever is back at school- fortunately did not spread.

8th April

Took the older children in yard at 9.30 and each child looked at the eclipse of the sun through smoked glass.
12th July Temperature twice this week has risen to 80 degrees F. It is the hottest summer we have known.
These extracts are from the School log book rescued by Robert Stone.

The following is a list or articles done by the children up to Dec. 31st 1914;

During the period of World War 1 it was common practise for schools to support the soldiers by sending clothing made by the pupils. This extract from the diary shows what was made and by whom.

 

45 pairs socks
12 helmets
20 scarves 2.5 yards Long
3 pairs gloves
11 pairs mittens
13 pairs socks
1 pair cuffs

The girls who have done them are;

Eliza Stevenson, Daisy Nickson, Maud Caldicott, Minnie Dulson, Katie Barclay and Doris Lloyd.

 

26th February

We are teaching the National Anthems of our Allies.

19th March

In a glass jar in school, we have some frog spawn and the children are watching the changes that take place.

26th March

A photo of a motor Ambulance has been framed and hung in the school.

7th May

The children are bringing eggs during next week. They will be sent through Miss Howard to the temporary Hospital at Malpas, 812 eggs in all.

1st June

The school has collected 140 jam jars to be sent to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn who is making and sending large quantities of jam to our Sailors.

15th June 1916

School closed this afternoon to enable the Teachers to attend Madame Clara Butt's afternoon concert.

28th June

The boys have broken a pane of glass, playing football. They are bringing money to pay for a new one.

29th November

The Head Teacher has decided to organise a Concert to send Christmas parcels to old school boys serving at the Front.

School Admission Register

 

Log books recording admissions and withdrawals from the school are now held at the Cheshire Archives in Duke Street, Chester.

An extract of a register containing the names of many local Threapwood children from the late 19th Century can be seen by clicking on the photo (left).

 

The final years

As the school log books have been lost except for the years 1899 -1921 (cited above) the information is very sketchy. .

  This class photograph dates to 1937.

At the beginning of the Second World War Threapwood took in evacuees from Liverpool. A Catholic school complete with teaching staff was billeted here and attended the village school alongside the local children.

It must have been difficult to function in just two classrooms. During this time the Threapwood Head Teacher was Miss Coates (later to become Mrs Bate) and Mrs Davies a much loved Infant Teacher. After the war Mrs Bate retired and Miss Sellars took over, along with Mrs Davies and also Mr Blann.

In 1951 the school managers were Rev MINCHIN, E.M BROAD, CHARLES MOSS, Dr MARGARET WILLIS, FRANK YOUNG and GEORGE DAVIES. The Caretaker was Mrs Simmonds and the canteen assistant was Miss Manford.

At the managers meeting in1953 a letter was read from the School teacher re the school lamps. The Vicar explained these had been lent for Coronation Day and had been returned defective. They had now been repaired by Mr Geoffrey Broad. A letter of thanks had been received from Mr Blann who had now been appointed to Hartill School.

School photo 1954

In 1959, a dispute arose between the Head teacher, Miss Sellars and eleven parents, who had removed their children from school due to the standard of education and their relationship with Miss Sellars. This matter was investigated by the County Education Committee. Several meetings took place and it was eventually decided that there was no foundation for the allegations and the children were returned to school. Reports detailing these meetings in 1959 can be accessed by clicking here.

In 1960 electricity was installed. In the same year Miss Manford retired and Miss Daisy Nickson took over as the canteen assistant. In September of 1960 the senior pupils transferred to Malpas Secondary School.

On 7th September 1960 the County Architect was of the opinion that the School was completely unsuitable for adaptation and demolition was the most sensible course of action. The Education Authority suggested Threapwood School be closed and the pupils be accommodated at Shocklach until such time as it is in a position to provide a new Primary School at Threapwood.

Despite objections made to the Ministry of Education the school closed in 1961.


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