New Beginnings in the 20th Century...

Attendance was erratic in the early 1900's. July 1901 saw girls staying away for half-days while taking dinner and tea to the hay fields. The authorities were well aware that schooling in a farming area was likely to be affected in this way and tried to minimise the difficulties by arranging holidays to coincide with busy times on the land. In the final decades of the 19th century, the summer holiday of five or six weeks' duration became known as the 'Harvest Holiday' and a log book entry of November 1918 states: "School opened this morning after a closure of four weeks for potato picking".

Circa 1900 Bourne Town GatheringDuring 1900 children from the Bourne workhouse came to the school.  Life was hard for these children, they had chores to do before and afterschool at the workhouse, they also had to work on Saturdays.  The workhouse children are pictured in the foreground of the photograph, all dressed in their distinctive uniforms. 

There was no electricity in the workhouse, only gas. Food was monotonous. Tea-time was the same as breakfast, 3oz bread for the children and Jam once a week on a Sunday.  The workhouse children were escorted daily by the porter to the school in the town.

Extracts from the School Log Book

22nd May 1905

No Brush Work has been taken since May 9th.  The materials ordered in March 6th not having been received yet, instead of Brush Work, Crayoning has been taken.

2nd June 1905

Brush Work was resumed in the Optional lesson, the paints ordered last march having been received yesterday.

9th Feb 1906

There is a great deal of sickness in the school and the weather this week has been very inclement.  This accounts for the poor attendance.

23rd Feb 1906

Average for week 122 pupils

There are several cases of measles and five of diphtheria

2nd March 1906

Average for week 99 pupils

There are 32 children who have been absent all week.

9th March 1906

Average for week 103 pupils

There have been several fresh cases of measles and one of diphtheria this week.

15th June 1906

There are 32 cases of measles and one of fever.  The attendance is very bad.

4th July 1906

In future K G Games will be played on Thursdays and Stories will be taken on Tuesdays. The Games in the play-ground on Tuesdays interfered with the Girls Drill.

6th July 1906

The attendance was bad this afternoon owing to a thunderstorm.

16th July 1906

There are eleven children absent with scarlet fever.

17th June 1907

There were forty-two children absent this morning. A great many are ill with whooping cough.

13th Jan 1908

Two classes from the Boys School were taught in the Baby Room all day, owing to the failure of the heating apparatus in the Boys School.  The babies were taught in the Board Room.

24th Mar 1908

Owing to alterations in the heating apparatus, the schools have been warmed by fires.  At 10:30 the temperature of the three rooms was 44°f, 48°f and 55°f respectively. A class from the Boys School was taught in the Baby Room. It is the third time this year such an arrangement has been made.

27th Jan 1909

The heating apparatus broke down in the afternoon.  The teachers had to light the fires in the old grates.

The Birthday Sixpence David George Brownlow Cecil

 The Birthday SixpenceIn February 1905, each pupil at the school was handed a slotted card with a sixpence attached that had come from Burghley House to mark the birth of David George Brownlow Cecil, Lord Burghley, who subsequently became the 6th Marquess of Exeter. One of the boys was George Darnes who in later years remembered  the gift.

"Some of my classmates, to whom sixpence was real wealth in those days, chose to spend it on sweets on the way home. But I decided to keep mine." George won a scholarship to Stamford School, the only one in his class of 30 pupils to do so, and after leaving, joined he staff of T W Mays and Sons Ltd, eventually becoming managing director of one of their companies. He died in 1982, aged 83, leaving the coin to his daughter, Mrs Jean Booth, of Coggles Causeway, Bourne.

- news item from the Stamford Mercury, Friday 21st December 1923.

A Very Sad Tale....

In past centuries, consumption, now known as tuberculosis, was a constant threat, particularly to the working classes where poor living conditions and under-nourishment were breeding grounds for this virulent illness that claimed many lives, particularly among the young. Joseph Davies, headmaster of the elementary school for boys Star Lane School, now Bourne Abbey C of E Primary Academy, kept a daily log of activities and he wrote a particularly poignant entry on 21st July 1904:

‘It is with deep sorrow that I have to record today the sudden death during school hours of Arthur Young, aged 13, a seventh standard scholar. He was an inmate at the Union [workhouse] and of a delicate constitution. A fortnight ago he left the Union with his mother who took him on a tramp about the country for ten days. They returned to the Union famished and exhausted. The strain had clearly been too much for the poor lad. But though very delicate, he was able to attend school and appeared about as usual.

This morning, as the boys were filing in from play, I noticed he looked pale and asked him how he felt. "I feel very poorly, sir", he said. I asked him if he would like anything from the house but he said "No, thank you." He thought he would like to walk quietly home and I agreed, considering it the best thing, as he did not seem inclined to rest. About five minutes afterwards, I heard a peculiar coughing sound and going instantly out to the playground, found the poor boy vomiting blood. Blood was also pouring from his nose.

I at once went to his help, asking for assistance from my staff who came immediately. We carried him carefully into the porch. But he was unconscious and had probably expired almost immediately after the attack. I had sent urgently for the three town doctors, and for the nurse, the messenger fortunately met Dr John Galletly [senior], who kindly came at once, but pronounced life extinct. Death was due to the bursting of a blood vessel in the lungs. The poor lad's father died from a similar case.

The body was taken home and Mr Alfred Yates, the Union Master, informed me that a doctor had been attending the boy this week but he had not seemed unwell today, having been hearty at breakfast. I am deeply touched with the sympathetic spirit shown by teachers and boys alike.’

In a later entry, the headmaster said that pupils and staff had subscribed for a beautiful wreath which was placed on the boy's grave after his funeral the following Saturday.

Newspaper article dated 9th August 1901

Grantham Journal News Article 8th August 1903