School logbooks were introduced following the implementation of the 1870 Forster Education Act. Every state school Head Teacher was required to keep a long book in which they entered significant events that happened in the daily life of the school. The Chairman of the Managers or Governors was required to inspect the logbook and sign and date his/her visit. At my second headship, I had a complete set of logbooks dating from 1872 and they made fascinating reading. The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham has a large collection of logbooks from state schools within the county of Wiltshire. They are available for anyone to read except for those books with entries made during the last 30 years. It is not obligatory for schools to maintain logbooks any more, which is a great pity.
As I attended both the Regis and Secondary Modern schools in Corsham, I had a wonderful time reading both sets of logbooks and I’m pleased to say my name wasn’t mentioned once on any of the pages!! There follows a selection of entries from both schools which I thought were of interest today.
To alleviate the burden on the existing schools, the new Regis School was built alongside what we know now as King’s Avenue, on the WWII Married Quarters pre-fabricated bungalows site (MQ1B), with Mr H. Hull as its first Headmaster. The school opened on 3 May 1943 with 194 children attending on the first day and a large number absent due to measles and whooping cough.
From the Regis School Log Book.
May 3rd. New school opened today with 194 children on roll. A large number who registered on Registration Day are absent with either measles or whooping cough.
Staff:- Headmaster Mr Harold E. Hull, trained at Winchester Miss Margery White Assistant Mistress MrsHull, trained at Salisbury College, supply teacher
May 10th. 80 children had cooked dinners supplied from the Holt Cooking Centre. 180 had milk for the first time.
May 13th. Miss McCredie Forster, Rural Subjects Organiser, visited at 2 pm to discuss the development of land around the premises for school gardens.
May 26th. 20 children, 10 boys & 10 girls taken to the new swimming baths in Bath for swimming instruction in charge of the Head. Caught 3.45 pm train to Bath returning at 6.20 pm.
July 26th. The number on roll 294. School understaffed because of teacher shortage.
July 27th. The Vicar of Corsham, the Rev. Glen Smith, visited the school to hear scripture lessons and attend assembly.
July 29th. Chief Inspector of Education visited the school.
Aug 6th. The school & Wartime Day Nursery was visited by a large party of officials including Sir Stafford & Lady Cripps. After touring the school, nursery, and one of the bungalows, the party had refreshments in the hall and Lady Cripps was presented with a bouquet. Sir Stafford Cripps was Minister of Aircraft Production at this time.
Aug 13th. School closed for Summer holidays and it re-opened on 20th September. The school was opened daily during the holidays to serve dinners for children whose mothers are on full time war work –30 attending.
Sept 20th. School re-opened for the Autumn Term, 285 on roll.
Oct 1st. School closed today for one week to enable senior pupils to assist in the gathering of the potato harvest. This was done in all Wiltshire Elementary schools.
Oct 5th. David Eccles, MP for Chippenham, visited the school with his wife and also visited a nearby bungalow. David Eccles became Minister for Education in the 1950’s and was knighted. Oct 9th. Pleasing report on Religious Education –very good.
Oct 18th. MrBrooks of Taunton was appointed Caretaker and will be housed in the bungalow as agreed with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. (MrBrooks was still Caretaker when I was a pupil, 1952 to 1956, and his son Richard was also in my class and used to play for the school’s football team.)
Nov 22nd. Blackout curtains fitted in the corridors, senior classrooms, Head’s office, staffroom and kitchen. School now being used for Evening Technical classes.
Nov 22nd. To overcome blackout difficulties for the Winter, schools are now 9.25 to 12.15pm and 1.40 to 3.45pm.
Dec 20th. The school was closed during the afternoon. All pupils, with staff, were conveyed by buses to the Hawthorn Cinema where they were entertained by suitable films, the gift of MrSmith & MrAndrews of the Hawthorn Cinema.
Dec 22nd. School closed during the afternoon to enable the children to attend a party given at the new Community Centre. School closed for Christmas and will re-open on January 10th. Arrangements made for children of working mothers to have lunch at school.
Jan 10th. School re-opened with 291 on roll. MrsTustin, registered teacher took up her post. She came from Teeside and will live in a Ministry bungalow.
Apr. 4th. Pathescopefilm projector for £35 purchased, staff had loaned money to pay for this as they hope to show educational films.
May 8th. Jumble Sale, Whist Drive and various competitions raised £49 to pay off the cost of the projector. The balance to be used to buy games for the dinner children on wet days.
Sept 28th. Headmaster attended a meeting at the Corsham Council School at which the Deputy Director of Education discussed with the Managers possible plans for a temporary Senior School in Corsham. Not sanctioned though handicraft room should be added to Regis School.
Nov 2nd. Accident –Joan Collier of 33 Kings Avenue fell in the garden at 3.30pm. Thought she may have fractured her arm. As no doctor available she was conveyed to the Bath Royal United Hospital by an ambulance of the Bristol AeroplaneCompany. (The BAC had a factory underground in Spring Quarry).
Jan 8th. School re-opened, Head absent as his son had scarlet fever.
Jan 26th. Weather very bad, poor attendance. On the 23rd the lorry carrying the dinners from the Cooking Depot came to grief on the icy road so no hot dinners until further notice.
May 3rd. The school has been opened for 2 years. Full school assembly held –pleasing ceremony of Birthday Greetings by the Infants. Between 3.15pm and 4.15pm the school was opened to the parents. More than 250 came to see the work of their children.
May 10th. School closed for 2 days following the announcement of public holidays on the cessation of hostilities in Europe. A new flagstaff has been erected and a Union Jack purchased.
Sept 10th. School re-opened for the Autumn Term. During the holidays the LCC (London County Council) authorities removed all their properties loaned to Wiltshire in 1943, tables, chairs, desks etc. There are no teachers’ desks and we can only seat 40 children for lunch.
Oct 11th. The Senior pupils attended a performance of ‘Macbeth’ by the Osiris Players at the Community Centre. 2 guineas was given to the players, no child was charged for admission.
Feb 1st & 4th. Losses at school –Reginald Ferris lost a knife from his overcoat pocket. Pamela Gale lost bus fare money. Roy Brake lost a fountain pen and propelling pencil and Douglas Smith 8d bus fare.
May 3rd. School’s 3rd birthday. Whole school assembly with prayers by the Vicar. After lunch the school opened to visitors 2 to 3pm with light refreshments. Between 3.15pm and 4.15pm short demonstrations were given in the hall and playground by Infants, Juniors and Seniors of Rhythmic work, physical training and organised games. Extremely popular, 300 visitors. Managers attended, Col. Fuller, chairman sent his apologies. Miss Scott Baker, Deputy Director of Education also sent apologies.
May 6th. 16 senior pupils received swimming lessons at the Royal Baths, Bath. They will attend each week until the Summer Holidays. Cost of 1/5d paid by the Education Committee.
Jan 31st. Attendance of children is extremely low this week owing to the very bad weather including deep snow. (The temperature on that day was registered as -5F!)
Mar 6th. Weather conditions (deep snow) continue and school meals van failed to reach the school, children returned home for lunch who normally had cooked dinners.
June 2nd. School closed on the visit of 60 children and 9 staff to Wookey Hole Caves, Cheddar Gorge and Bristol Zoological Gardens, weather fine, visit much enjoyed.