PHOTO GALLERY: Former East Runton school brought to life by 1924 magazine ‘The Runtonian’

It has been closed for almost 54 years, but memories of school life at the north Norfolk's East Runton back in 1924 have been revived through an old magazine.

The 100-page 'Runtonian' tells tales of past times, illnesses and class trips from the school at Lower Common, which now houses St Andrew's Church, and the Runton Parish History Society has been involved in researching the building's past.

The magazine has been donated by John Barker, whose late father, Harry Barker of West Runton, attended the school.

Ray Spinks, chairman of the society, said no-one had heard of the magazine previously.

'It's a one-off find really,' he said. 'It was a typical village school of the time, which is reinforced by what's written in the magazine.'

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The edition of the Runtonian begins with an introduction by former headmaster Barrington Boyce, reviewing the past year.

He noted that measles and influenza were rife and offered condolences to the family of Cecil Balls, a pupil who had died suddenly during the year.

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Also included inside is a supplement recounting a three-day trip by 20 pupils and the headmaster and his wife to London to visit the Great Empire Exhibition at Wembley 88 years ago.

The school raised the �30 needed for the trip with a jumble sale, auction, whist drive and dance. This paid for the train fares and hostel accommodation.

'The children, aged around 13, recalled their memories of the visit,' Mr Spinks explained.

'To the children it must have seemed like the adventure of a lifetime, as most of them would have never left Norfolk, let alone visited the capital city.

'One of them described waiting for the train at West Runton station, saying as it at last came into view his 'joy was unexplainable'. Further excitement came when they travelled in an underground train for the first time in their lives and there are vivid descriptions of visiting the various pavilions, each one representing one of the countries of the British empire.'

Former pupil Rodney Love, 78, known locally as 'Ruggles', left the school in 1948. He said: 'It was a really great place. Before the installation of the kitchen girls, boys and infants used to be taught separately. There used to be a big gang of us and we had the freedom of the whole place.

'There weren't a lot of people who couldn't read and write when they left there and I remember it being more of a waggy-finger school, rather than being caned.'

Mr Love also remembered working in the school garden, making recorders out of bamboo, and playing 'shinty' outside.

Society secretary Barbara Emery, who also attended the school and left when it closed in 1958, described it as a 'happy' place.

She remembered having American classmates, whose families were based at RAF Sculthorpe, near Fakenham.

Mr Spinks added: 'Many of the contributors have names whose descendants are still living in the village, such as Abbs, Love, Leake and Jonas.'

A reproduced copy of the 1924 Runtonian will be on display as a slide show on 'how we used to live', by local historian Brian Hedge at East Runton village hall on April 11 at 7pm.

? To view an online photo gallery of the Runtonian click on the photo gallery in the top right-hand corner of the webpage.

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