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Linking the generations...

Posted: Tuesday 4th December 2018 by HardwickGreenMeadows

Log books from Eldersfield Lawn CE Primary SchoolLog books from Eldersfield Lawn CE Primary School

Find out about what's been happening in Pendock and Eldersfield schools...

For readers of our previous blog, you'll be aware that the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled our oral history producer, Julia Letts, to go into schools near our new Hardwick Green Meadows nature reserve and work with them to learn to use the same equipment that she and her team of volunteers are using.

Building on this, both Eldersfield Lawn and Pendock primary schools have each had a memory day where members of the community have come into schools to share their experiences about home life, the village, what the school used to be like, food they ate, jobs and farming in the area, land use and the surrounding countryside. The days were fascinating with guests bringing in photos and memorabilia to help bring their memories to life; children were invited to talk to and record them.

Staff at the schools also dug out their log books, which recorded daily school life dating back to the late 1800s.

Extract from 1917 log book for Eldersfield Lawn Primary School

Below you'll find more information about the days from Julia as well as a wonderful summary of what's been happening at Pendock CE Primary School so far...

Linking the generations

It was wonderful to see the heads of 80 years olds and 8 year olds bent in concentration over old documents and photos in Pendock Primary school. The room was full of animated chatter as today‘s Pendock children quizzed former pupils who attended the school in the late 1940s and 1950s. The memories of the older folk were razor sharp. When we discovered some entries in the school’s Punishment Book, they could remember the exact misdemeanours and when we found out that the toilets were still in the same place as in 1949, we discovered that the Sanitation Inspector had visited at around this time and demanded the installation of three wash basins that would drain into the ditch outside the school!

Roy, Sylvia and Janet could all vividly remember hearing of the death of King George VI on a radio in the main classroom, and Roy recalled taking invitations from the headmaster, Raymond Baseley, around the local area inviting everyone to watch the Queen’s coronation on his personal television, which had been moved from the school house to the school room for the celebrations.

Meanwhile local farmer and also former pupil John Humphreys thrilled the current children with the treasures that he’d ploughed up in his fields over the years including Roman pottery and medieval coins. John’s land adjoins the Hardwick Green Meadows and he has told us many stories about how the fields were farmed, what flourished there and what didn’t and how things have changed over the years...the most visual one being the loss of hundreds of elm trees from Dutch elm disease in the 1970s.

Memory day at Pendock CE Primary SchoolAll this information really helps us to create a better picture of the area’s heritage and community life, which in turn will help the Trust manage and protect our new Hardwick Meadows reserve in the best possible way. Here’s just one example: several people in the community can remember picking wild daffodils in the meadow nearest the road. This field once had a cottage in it and we’ve recorded people’s recollections of visiting the lady who lived there. In the Pendock log book we found an entry in the 1950s stating that, ‘The Infant class visited the daffodil meadows’. Of course, we don’t know exactly which meadow they visited but it’s really useful to know that people valued and visited the daffodils then and miss their presence now.

However, the value of this project for me is far more than the sum of these wonderful snippets of information that we are unearthing. It’s about linking the past with the present and preserving something intangible for the future. Seeing 40 children eagerly chatting to a dozen older members of the community about where they lived and how it has changed made me realise that these children are the future custodians of the landscape around them. If they are learning to love it, we are doing our job well.

Julia Letts, WWT Oral History Coordinator

Happenings at Pendock Primary

Pendock pupils looking at log books and old photosOur project with the Trust started off with a trip to Hardwick Green Meadows. We had a variety of really fun activities to do and all of Pendock enjoyed one hundred percent of them!

We did a scavenger hunt, land fishing, apple relays and many other games there – it was really fun! The following week, we had Julia Letts come in to school to talk to us about oral history, Hardwick Meadows and what it was like in Pendock years ago. We had a go at interviewing each other and recording our voices on digital recorders. It was like we were on a radio!

We were then visited by people who lived in Pendock a long time ago and we interviewed them, finding out about loads of interesting facts, including the people who got caned at Pendock 50 years ago!

Most recently, we have been visited by author John Townsend, who spoke to us about writing and plans to create a play based on our interviews.

Pendock has had a great time doing the Hardwick Meadows and Oral History project so far and we think everything about it has been brilliant.

Ted Rowe, Year 6, Pendock CE Primary School

Eldersfield Lawn Primary School log book 1903

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