Sherborne Primary School taken in 1868 or 1867
Although Sunday schools (one for the boys and one for the girls) were mentioned since 1651 in Sherborne village, the present school – combining boys and girls – opened on its site in 1868. You can see a plaque commemorating the date on the side of the building as you walk towards the office. The headmaster’s house (now the office, headmaster’s office, music room and staff room) and the school (classrooms 1 and 2) were built with £1,000 provided by the 3rd Lord Sherborne – James Dutton. The average attendance was 83 pupils in 1868, with a nightschool of 24 by 1872.
There is a whole chapter devoted to the school in the book Sherborne: A Cotswold Village by Sybil Longhurst, Walter Tufnell & Alice Tufnell. Here are a couple of key dates and events mentioned:
1897: Punished several boys for following hounds instead of attending school
1906: Seven girls were entered for a course on dairying. Boys had instruction on farriery
1907: Children were allowed a half day holiday to witness the funeral of Lady Sherborne
1910: There was considerable absence among the girls for baby minding at home
1910: A holiday was given on Monday so that the new glazed partition could be erected in the main room (still to be seen today)
1912: There was an epidemic of Scarlet Fever, ten cases were reported to the fever hospital (tin roofed buildings – still to be seen today) at Farmington
1934: Two boys collided while playing football. On was knocked against the low wall surrounding the school and fell into the road. (The hedge seen today inside the wall was then planted.)
1935: School closed for Silver Jubilee celebrations of King Geroge V. An oak tree was planted at the bottom of the playground by the war memorial to commemorate the happy occasion
1942: School closed for potato harvest
1947: The ground of the school was at last clear of snow for the first time in eight weeks
1953: A flagpole was erected at the bottom of the playground in recognition of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
1965: Little Rissington C of E school closed and pupils transported to Sherborne
1966: A Terrapin building was erected for use by the Infant class, their old room was altered to accommodate a kitchen, larder and store room
1968: Centenary of the school with the planting of a magnolia tree in the playground to mark the event and light refreshments served to all
1972: Numbers at school swelled with the foundation of The International Academy for Continuous Education in Sherborne House bringing pupils from around the globe
1977: School closed for Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II
1986: Juniors worked on a project about 900 years since the Domesday Book.
1989: All the new trees in the beech walk in Sherborne Grounds labelled with the names, in pairs, of the children taking part in the planting
Memories of a childhood spent in Sherborne
Peter Herrin’s father was headmaster of the village school at Sherborne from 1947 to 1971 and has shared some memories and photographs with us.
In the late 1940s, there were five oval flower beds on each of the front lawns, which Mr Herrin eventually grassed over.
In the background of this photo is what was to become the boy’s playground – at that time a rough grassy area. All my growing years there was a tennis court marked out which was regularly used by the youngsters of the village. Chasing tennis balls into the lane and the road became part of the game.
In the corner of the grassy area, the remains of a war time air raid shelter can be seen. I can just about remember a hole in the ground that was the entrance to the shelter, and which we were forbidden to enter. It was soon filled in after the war years.
The house, school and grounds at Sherborne originally had no vehicular access to them from the road, except via the field at the back of the buildings. To access this, the route was two or three hundred metres up the Home Farm track to the side of the site, through a barbed wire gate from the lane into the field, across a cinder track in a sort of arc shape, and through a farm type gate from the field into the ‘girls’ playground. This meant that a car could be driven into the school grounds and housed in what was a very flimsy wooden shed that passed as a garage.
The process of doing this every time the car needed to be got out or in, was not an easy one, particularly as the field in question always had cattle in it right throughout my entire childhood (and I believe still does) and was often muddy. Any failure to close gates properly could, and indeed did on some occasions, give rise to cattle in the school grounds. I have memories of dad sometimes in the early morning, chasing them out.
The arc of cinder track across the field also formed a sort of unofficial boundary to the accepted play area for the school pupils – the field being used for football, cricket, sports etc. This was despite the constant presence of cattle which had to be shooed away if necessary before such activity. Football or cricket with the ever present threat of the ball landing in or passing through a fresh cowpat, gave the game an extra dimension not normally encountered!
My memory is that the Morris Dancers visited Sherborne every summer – perhaps they still do.
I think I can see myself in the front of the crowd of boys in the road, so this must have been about 1950.
The shop / post office in the background does not look very different from how it does now, but the low laurel hedge on top of the school wall has now been replaced with a much higher growth.
There was obviously so little traffic, that the dancers could just perform in the middle of the road.