Tunstead Primary School celebrates centenary

Tunstead School staff and pupils celebrating the centenary. Pupils Lacey MacKenzie 10 and Charlie Pa

Tunstead School staff and pupils celebrating the centenary. Pupils Lacey MacKenzie 10 and Charlie Payne 5.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Gertrude and Gladys sat at their desks with Reginald and Frederick during Tunstead Primary School's centenary celebrations.

Tunstead School staff and pupils celebrating the centenary. A school photograph taken in 1947/8.PHOT

Tunstead School staff and pupils celebrating the centenary. A school photograph taken in 1947/8.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Using the 1911 census and the 1913 school register, Tunstead's modern-day pupils took on the names of their predecessors - and also wore the cumbersome clothes of the period.

In a recreation of 1913 schooldays, they were also given handwriting lessons, had to stand whenever an adult entered the room, and received pretend canings for offences noted in old log books which included looking rude, and shuffling their feet.

Celebrations also saw former head teachers and pupils visit the school to share their memories.

They included Ethnie Christmas, 91, who started school there in 1927 and who still lives in the village. She told the children that the biggest change she had seen was the arrival of electricity.


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Ex head teachers Brian Betts (1974-1983), and Patrice Baldwin, head in the 1990s, also dropped in.

And Sarah Hewitt, from nearby Ashmanhaugh, daughter of the school's first male head, Cecil Hewitt (1953-1974), supplied information about her father who had been a German prison of war.

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Records and memories have been compiled into a centenary book by school governor Di Cornell, who taught at the school from 2005 until she retired in 2011.

Mrs Cornell discovered that the 'new' school was built after repeated complaints from inspectors about the lack of light, ventilation and warmth in the original school where the inside temperature was recorded, at 10.30am one November day in 1910, as 46F (8C).

She was also fascinated to discover that the school once closed for seven weeks during an outbreak of mumps and that serious illnesses were not uncommon. Pupils are recorded as having died of conditions including diptheria.

Lessons were also suspended occasionally for harvesting. In October 1918 the school gathered 354lbs of blackberries which were put on a train to Worstead.

'I'd love to know where they were going!' said Mrs Cornell. 'I think this week has shown the children how lucky they are.'

Copies of the illustrated book, Tunstead Primary School. A history, are available from the school at £6.50 each. Tel: 01603 737395.

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