History of Kelvedon Hatch

Kelvedon Hatch School

History of Kelvedon Hatch >> Education

Education in Kelvedon Hatch

In 1875, under the power vested by the Education Act of 1870, a school board was created in the parish to ensure that a permanent school premises was established. Four years later, a school was built on the north side of the former common land. It cost £850 to build and could accommodate 70 children.

The opening pages of the 'School Log Book' for the 28th November 1879 record the first day. The first school master was Henry Cawdron assisted by his daughter Francis.

"On Monday last the handsome and commodious school buildings lately erected in this parish of Kelvedon Hatch were opened for the reception of children. Previously the only means the parish had been able to furnish for their accommodation and instruction had been a cottage and an elderly dame to teach. As might be naturally expected, the children were found by the new teachers to be totally unacquainted with the forms of discipline now required in the management of schools; and, before the formation of constituted authority, had attended only as their parents thought fit to send them......"

Mr Charles F. White became school master in 1884 and he became an important member of the community. He was assisted by his wife. It is he who is standing outside the school in the photograph.

With the kind permission of the Head Teacher of Kelvedon Hatch School, History House has been given access to the School Log Books 1879 - 1897, and a great deal of information has now been copied from them.

The Head Teacher was required to report weekly in the Log Book on any events during the week which were unusual, comments on attendance, equipment supplied, visits by the School Board, School Inspectors, yearly School Reports, admissions, re-admissions, and those who had left. Some of the pupils included those who lived in the parish of Doddinghurst and Navestock.

The Log Books show that most children in agricultural labouring families worked in the fields as early as the age of 8. As a consequence, schooling clashed with the need for a family to have an additional income, no matter how small. Indeed, further legislation was required in later years to pressurize parents into to ensuring their children attended school up to age of 14.

Generally, during this period the tasks which the children of agricultural labourers would be involved in were:
Jan. Plough driving.
Feb. Planting seeds.
March. Bird scaring, dropping peas, land ditching,
potato setting.
April. Stone picking.
June. Bird scaring, fruit picking, haymaking, pea picking.
July. Fruit picking, haymaking, taking dinners to their fathers in the fields, pea picking.
August. Corn harvest.
Sept. Gleaming, blackberrying, potato picking.
Oct. Blackberrying, acorning, gleaming, gathering sloes, apple picking, potato picking.

Although the health of chidren improved during the Victorian period, there were still many childhood deaths. The School Log Book reports on many of these diseases: measles, scarlet fever, mumps, ring-worm, typhoid fever and smallpox.

In 1898 the school was extended, cloakrooms added, and a separate entrance for boys and girls built.

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Book cover: Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 - 1920

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Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 - 1920: A Guided Tour

Go on a guided tour of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, during the 19th and early 20th centuries. With the help of photographs, newspapers, parish records and census returns, the story of each house is revealed, as are the lives of some of their occupants.

It was a parish of many contrasts: from wealthy land-owners living in grand Georgian mansions with numerous servants, to agricultural workers struggling against poverty in overcrowded and dilapidated cottages. Discover how the landscape changed after the common land was enclosed, and how farmers struggled to cope with the agricultural depression. Find out about the role of the parish in WW1 when it was at the front line of Britain's fight against the Zeppelins. See how the new school was established and functioned, and why a new parish church was built. There are stories of crime, bankruptcy, poverty, scandal, revenge, leisure and migration.

Even if you have never been to Kelvedon Hatch, with the help of detailed maps and photographs, you will find yourself immersed in its history.

128 pages, 11 maps and diagrams, 77 black and white photographs

Published by History House and available in paperback or ebook.

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