Friday, July 07, 2006

Perlethorpe School


Above: Perlethorpe Church of England School, c.1956. Note the maypole, and the flowerbeds the children helped tend.

Perlethorpe Church of England School was built in 1861 by the 3rd Earl Manvers. It was designed by Salvin and predates the St John's Church, Perlethorpe Church, on the opposite side of the road. A typical attendance figure for the late 19th century was about 40 children. This figure would go largely unchanged as the decades passed, before dropping significantly in the late 1960s.

In October 1879 the school was extended, probably by the addition of a second classroom to separate the juniors from the seniors, and the new School Headmistress Sarah Jan Wass recorded that the desks had also arrived. 1879 was also the year when formal registration of the pupils commenced at the insistence of visiting School Inspectors. In 1897 the classroom was illuminated by gas supplied from the Woodyard, and became a popular reading room for people on the estate who paid a small subscription to attend on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, between 7 pm - 8 pm.

Teaching methods involved the use of a tiered seating gallery, which ensured all pupils could see and be seen at a time when children would sometimes be taught in mixed groups by a pupil monitor. The gallery at Perlethorpe School was situated under the windows on the front of the building, against which our backs were turned. I have memories of being a junior at Perlethorpe School but joining the senior's class for lessons in tying shoe laces and "weaving". On these occasions I remember seeming to look down upon Mrs Bruce's desk across the room from what must have only been a slightly higher level. The use of a gallery persisted into the early 1950's at Perlethorpe even though HMI reports of 1904 called for its removal.

Before the renovations of 1959 the pupils' toilets were stagnant metal drums with wooden seats situated on the right of the building where the modern entrance porch is today. Late 19th / early 20th century girls’ needlework classes involved making red cloaks from material provided by Lady Manvers, wife of the 4th Earl, which they had to wear to and from school. If ever a coach carrying Lady or Earl Manvers should come into view the children were expected to stop and curtsy or bow. This practice continued into the 1950's when my sister and I would stand still and politely wave until her car had passed. Until 1959 the two classrooms at Perlethorpe School were each heated by a central pot bellied stove, its fuel supplied by the Woodyard. According to HMI reports there had been no separate office accommodation for teachers as late as 1920, and this was still likely the case into the 1950's.

Pupils from Budby would walk to school via Thoresby Lake, until that route was banned when the ice on the lake became too great a temptation. Sometimes they would hitch a ride on the milk cart, and risk being told off if the cart was late. Education was not as high on the average family agenda as the seasonal chores on the farm which might require their assistance, and there was no Secondary School. On the day after their 14th birthday the pupils left school to start work on the Estate. That changed in 1927 when pupils over the age of 11 would move on to Edwinstowe School for the first time. In the early 20th century the Girls Friendly Society would meet in the school, engaging in such activities as knitting gloves or scarves for the Navy. This was a very popular club, as the boys played their cricket or rang the church bells.

During World War 2 a total of approximately 17 evacuees from heavily bombed Sheffield attended Perlethorpe School at one time or another, but their attendance was usually fleeting as homesickness set in. In 1940 Miss Lizzie Bradley became Headmistress and a year later was mentioned on the BBC for sending the £7 she raised by carol singing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. (You can read more about Perlethorpe during World war 2 on THIS LINK). 1943 saw the introduction of a school canteen, and records show that 19 pupils stayed for a hot meal at dinner time. In 1944 Miss Ida Brett became Headmistress, succeeded by Miss J E Bruce in January 1950.

 Above: Photographed 7th March 2015, inside Perlethorpe School / Environmental Education Centre. Today's children using the Centre on a day trip basis can experience the educational environment of earlier decades. Below: The rear of the building in 2017.

See also: Perlethorpe School Teachers, Perlethorpe School class of c.1954, Perlethorpe School (environmental centre), Perlethorpe School Environmental Centre renovations 2015.

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Blogger robin hood said...

Perlethorpe School, Perlethorpe Village. This picture of Perlethorpe School as it looked in the early 1950's is unique.

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Blogger Gervas said...

I attended Perlethorpe School as a 9-year old for a couple of months in the autumn of 1960 when I was staying at Thorseby Hall with my mother.

I have been to 6 primary schools, a comprehensive, a prep school and a public school. On the whole I think Perlethorpe was the most pleasant of them all.

Gervas Douglas

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Blogger robin hood said...

Sherwood Forest, the Dukeries, Thoresby park, history.

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Blogger robin hood said...

Pierrepont, Manvers, Dukeries, Thoresby Hall, Thoresby Hotel, Thoresby Park, Perlethorpe, Perlethorpe Village, Ollerton, Budby, Sherwood Forest.

Woodyard, Perlethorpe School, Perlethope Church, Budby.

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