Visitors try a new learning experience at Great Cressingham’s Victorian school

Open day at Great Cressingham Victorian School. Owners Sally and Tom North lead visitors in a hymn.

Open day at Great Cressingham Victorian School. Owners Sally and Tom North lead visitors in a hymn. - Credit: Archant

Adults and children alike were taken back to the classroom at a Victorian school's open day.

Open day at Great Cressingham Victorian School. Owners Sally and Tom North lead visitors in a hymn.

Open day at Great Cressingham Victorian School. Owners Sally and Tom North lead visitors in a hymn. - Credit: Archant

The Great Cressingham Victorian School opened its doors on Sunday for its last public open day of the year.

Visitors were able to explore the school, scrupulously renovated and maintained by owners Sally and Tom North, and peruse its many artefacts and objects including Victorian-style drawings and maps, slates and quill pens, children's books and even stuffed animals and skulls.

Although she deals primarily for school groups, 'headmistress' Mrs North was equally at home showing and explaining the many objects around the classroom to adult visitors.

During the day she sat down parents and children in the classroom for a short lesson and sat at the restored harmonium to lead her pupils through a hymn.

Open day at Great Cressingham Victorian School. Owners Sally and Tom North lead visitors in a hymn.

Open day at Great Cressingham Victorian School. Owners Sally and Tom North lead visitors in a hymn. - Credit: Archant


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Mrs North, who bought the building with her husband 25 years ago, said: 'On the open days we have had people who say the school is just like theirs used to be.

'When I'm with school children the most important thing fore me is that for a while, I take them out of their normal range of experiences. The school is an experience like no other and I hope they leave enriched.'

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The village school was built in 1890 to provide education for the poor – a mission statement commemorated in a plaque on the outside of the building – and was open until 1950.

After they purchased the building the Norths stripped it back to its bare bones to reveal the Victorian school shell underneath, and have remained true to the original building – to the extent that it has no central heating or electricity.

Mr North added: 'From the moment the school groups arrive to the moment they leave, they see nothing of the 21st century.

'The satisfaction we get from it is to see how much the children enjoy the experience. We get hundreds of letters from schools thanking us.'

To find out more go to www.victorianschool.com.

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