At Bishop Thornton C of E Primary School, Class One children experienced the excitement of living, oral history when they hosted a History Afternoon Tea, inviting grandparents and local people to come and talk about how the village and the school have changed over time.
Guests brought in a wonderful array of historic photographs and the children were fascinated to see old buildings that are no longer there and the new houses and barns that have replaced them. There were also photographs of some of the children’s parents when they were children and of grandparents and great-grandparents too. The children had lots of questions – especially about the black and white photographs from the village’s two schools in the 1950s. Who were the children? What games had they played? What did they do after school?
It was certainly a very different life. Each school had just one classroom and one teacher. Girls all wore skirts and dresses; boys wore short trousers in all weathers and some wore ties. Their ‘playground equipment’ consisted of skittles and hoops and skipping ropes. As they got older, children progressed to responsible jobs, such as filling the inkwells and stoking the stove with coke to keep their classroom warm.
There were stories too of farm life from a different era – of carrying 10 gallon milk churns out to the milk waggon, or backing a hay cart into a barn that is now a house. Mrs Ward, Class One’s teacher said a very warm thank you to their guests:
“It is wonderful for the children to be able to learn history from the people who were there. We have found out things that are not on the internet or in books.”