Spring has sprung!

We spent Friday afternoon looking for evidence that spring is springing all around us. We found buds, early flowers, evidence of birds building nests and lots more.













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Archeological digging





Maya, Billy, Ben, Luke, Rio and Dylan have been hard at work investigating the school grounds. Look at all the strange objects they have unearthed. They are wondering what connections these objects have with Stanton Ironworks and the old hospital that used to be just next door to or site. What do you think? 

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Part 3 Victorian era

The Victorian head teacher at Hallam Fields in the 1880s faced very different challenges to today. Despite the school being such an integral part of the Stanton community, the headmaster, Mr Pullen, was often unaware of things that today would be easy to notice.  For example, after the Christmas holidays in January of 1881 the headmaster recorded ‘small attendance.’  There were also ‘many applications received daily for leaving school at 11:30,’ but it is unclear from the school logs who it was making the applications.

In order to improve things the managers of the school advised the head to ‘revise the time table and give Religious Instruction’ between 11:30 and 12:00.  Again it is unclear why this would have improved attendance!  There were severe snow storms at the time and he complains about the cold and there being ‘only one fire in the room,’ which may well have affected attendance. Yet it was only after four weeks of low attendance and bad weather that the head finally ventured out and discovered that ‘measles and whooping cough is very prevalent in the neighbourhood.’  How did he not know that?

fair

This particular head teacher had tended his resignation by May 25th 1881 and a new head, James Siggens arrived.  He makes notes in the logs about poor attendance and the ‘wretched state’ of some of the classes and set about making improvements.  However, by October 28th he was again lacking in local knowledge and discovered that very low attendance was due to the Ilkeston Fair!  Happily he recommended that ‘for the future it will be advisable to give a holiday’ when Ilkeston Fair came.  (Somehow along the way we seem to have lost that one!)

wretched

The school does not appear to have been easy to manage.  Low attendance, illness and the poor state of the buildings due to the closeness to the Ironworks all took their toll.  The School Board visited regularly and took lists of absentees.  The Reverend G Oliver made regular visits and would check up on various subjects not just Religious Scripture.  Even Mr George Crompton Esq or Mr James Crompton Esq would visit from time to time to see how their school was doing.*

crompton

James William Siggens continued as head teacher alongside Ada Cooper who was mistress of the Infant School, Mary Norbury the Assistant Mistress and three pupil teachers, Emily Mitchell, Gertrude Pounder and Joseph Frost. A small staff for a school with an average attendance of by now over 135 pupils.  This was not uncommon in Victorian schools.  In fact they were over-crowded, drab, regimented and run by very strict characters.

workmen

The pay was poor so the job was usually taken by unmarried women as they were not allowed to work once they wed, so we can assume that Ada Cooper and Mary Norbury were known as ‘Miss’.  This is probably why we still get called ‘Miss’ today, wedding ring or not!  The pupil teachers at the school were bright students who stayed on to learn as kind of apprentices.  The head taught them something the day before and they would teach the class the following day.  However, according to the logs it would seem that Joseph found ‘the correct method for teaching verbs’ a bit beyond him!

Emily Mitchell was allowed to stay on as a pupil teacher by her father, but when her brother George had previously tried his father had stepped in with ‘his characteristic intolerance’ and insisted that ‘the boy has gone to work’ in a local shop to earn money for the family.   This probably tells us quite a lot about the local opinion of this new thing called Education in Victorian Stanton.

* George and James Crompton were the sons of Samuel Crompton; they owned the Stanton Ironworks. The Crompton’s are often mentioned in the logs, but whether it was their duty to visit or whether they had a genuine interest in the school is uncertain.

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Part 2 The Early Days

Hallam Fields school was purpose built and opened on May 30th 1879.  By July 11th 1879 there were already 124 children enrolled at the school.  It was called the Stanton Ironworks Company’s School.  The first head teacher was called Fred H Fisher and this is his first entry:

first

By November the 8th in 1879, the head-teacher Mr Fisher became ill and charge of the school eventually fell to a Mr Pullen. By April 30th 1880, the elder boys had begun their own cricket club.  The day to day running  of the school was very different from today.  The clergy from St Bartholomew’s church regularly visited the school to examine scriptures lessons.    The daily timetable included scripture, drill, needlework,  geography, vocal music, reading and maths.  Life outside school was still hard and closely connected to the Stanton Ironworks.  When a young student called Pearson was hit on his way to school by a ‘working youth,’ the matter was handed over to the school managers who were also part of the Ironworks.  The school registers were regularly inspected and percentage for attendance worked out by ‘George Oliver, correspondent.’  Attendance was poor and sadly children were often absent due to illness such as scarlet fever and mumps.

report

The school’s first ever inspection (see above) tells us that the discipline and order was fair but that the children were ‘backwards,’ especially in arithmetic. It goes on to raise concerns about the girls and boys toilets being too close together and suggested that they should be approached separately!  The report also talks of overcrowding in the classrooms and recommended immediate building work.  Worse, it then threatened to pull future funding or grants for the school, if building work  did not happen.

Infant1final

So in 1880 a new separate building  was built and opened on the same site.  The infant children moved into it and it was managed by a Miss Cooper.  Sadly there were still issues with illness and absences and many regular inspections.

Next time – The end of the Victorian era.

All excerpts taken from original school logs.

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The history of our school Part 1

Grounds Aug 2009-39

Hallam Fields Junior School was built on Longfield Lane in 1960, but it did not begin there. In order to find out where it really began, all you need to do is cross the bridge at school, turn right and keep walking down Longfield Lane.  Eventually you will come to a wall that looks like this; it is the only thing left of the original school.  But why was it knocked down and when did our school really begin?

20150227_093658

Our school began in the Victorian era. The children of Hallam Fields came from the families of workers at Stanton Ironworks and some of them would have been workers themselves, bringing much needed money into the home.  The kind of jobs that children did locally around Ilkeston included working on farms, working in textile factories or even down the mines.

The first Hallam Fields school was originally based in a farm building belonging to Job Severn and children would probably have had to pay a small amount to go there; but because it was not compulsory and families needed the money, not all children would have been able to go.  In 1870 an Education Act in Parliament established local school boards to build and manage schools but education was still not compulsory, which means that the children still didn’t have to attend.

old school map 3

By 1876 the government was moving towards making it compulsory for all children to go to school and in 1878 the first Hallam Fields school was purposely built for the children in this area.  The school board was made up of local people.  The building was on the edge of the Ironworks itself and over the years this caused a great deal of difficulties for the children and the teachers there.  If you walk down there today to look at the original outer wall, you can also get a sense of just how industrial the area was and how that must have affected the children’s daily lives.  This red circle shows where the school was.  Can you imagine going to school here?

Next time – Early Days.

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Do you have any information about the school’s history?

If you have any information about the school’s history or photos we could use on our blog we would love to hear from you. Mrs Cowley is compiling all the information with her class. Keep watching this page to see information get added.

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