Children named ...

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RECENTLY I showed a school photograph which I said was taken at Clifton St John’s School in around 1950 and the children were sat with their teacher Mrs S Cawkwell.

Well, the Echo was no sooner off the press and into the newsagents for customers when I received some early telephone calls and one e-mail pointing out that I had made an error. Mrs P Clayton of Brighouse also put pen to paper to point out the error.

The teacher was certainly Mrs Cawkwell but the school was Victoria Central School and thanks to the combined efforts of Harold Sutcliffe and Kathleen Chilton I can now name all the children from that day.

Back Row: Gordon Denny; Harold Sutcliffe; Roy France; Trevor Nicholson; Tony Hopkins; Colin Bryant; Terry Clarke; Stanley Jackson; Jeff Buckle and John Binns.

Middle Row: Brian Clegg; Kathleen Beverley; Norah Robinson; Winifred Learoyd; Margaret Gledhill; Brenda Wilks; June Boothroyd, Florence Azlett, a refugee from the Channel Islands, and Barbara Shackleton.

Front Row: Agnes Jackson; Margaret Oats; Margaret Wilson; Margaret Brennan; Mrs Cawkwell; Clara Palzeaird was also a refugee from the Channel Islands; Hazel Lovell; Edith Lemm; Irene Berry; Pat Mawson and Maureen Wood.

In terms of a date Harold suggests it is 1945 believing that this would be his and his classmates first year at the school. Thank you for pointing out the error and adding all the names to all those children.

Looking back to those 1945 school days, Victoria Central School would have been changing for Harold Sutcliffe and his classmates.

The war was barely over, rationing was to last another nine years and as yet many fathers, older brothers and sisters had not yet returned home from war service.

But another factor for these children was something that all school children feel when they make the move from being a big fish in a small sea by leaving the almost closeted life at junior school to become a small fish and a vast ocean and walking through the school gates at senior school for the first time.

Back in those days the West Riding Council had an excellent reputation in the area of education and took over control of all schools in Brighouse on the April 1 1945.

Victoria Central had been built in 1892 as a Board School and opened on October 1. I am sure many older readers will remember the term ‘Boardman’.

These days that job is an education welfare officer and here in Calderdale each school has a nominated member from the Education Welfare Team and provides that link between families and schools.

Looking through a book I have which lists all the parents whose children had not attended school and had been prosecuted for not ensuring they did attend once dealt with at court they were officially entered into the Rastrick Local Board’s Prosecutions Register.

Looking through some of the entries in this book they go to highlight how difficult the times were.

For example on July 25 1883 John Goodison, a mason living on Brick Terrace, Gooder Lane, was fined 6s and 4/6d court costs because his eight-year-old son was not attending school. A total fine of 10/6d I would imagine that would have been a heavy fine back in those days.

In 1912 a Mrs Ives from Mill Lane was taken to court because her daughter had not attended school once in 74 days. The explanation given was that the child had been ill, but what had the doctor said was wrong with her?, asked the magistrates.

It transpires the child was not taken to see the doctor. Mother was fined 2/6d with 4/6d costs. An excuse like that does make you want to ask the question - Why not.

But looking through other entries, reasons given are often entered as the family poor, could not afford shoes, child had to work, the children had to look after invalid mother - and all these were under the age of 11-years-old.