The way we were – photos of long-gone school come to light
RARE photos thought to be of Haggerleases Infant School have come to light.
The images show the Gaunless Valley school in the early 20th century with smartly dressed children and a teacher who appears to be taking a lesson on plants with drawings of snowdrops and tulips on the chalkboard.
One picture shows a child playing on an abacus, while other photographs show pupils on Empire Day in 1916, at their desks and in the playground. They have been sent to the Mercury by Tony Honeyball.
He said: “I have had, for some time, a photo album once owned by the headmistress of Deaf Hill in Trimdon Station, which was my mother’s first school. In the back of the album is a section on Haggerleases School, which was the woman’s first headship.”
Joyce Johnson was headmistress of Haggerleases from 1908 to 1922 and she had one assistant, said Mr Honeyball.
Miss Johnson later moved to Deaf Hill school.
Mr Honeyball said: “My mother taught at Deaf Hill with her until she [my mother] married in 1938. We visited Miss Johnson’s cottage in County Antrim, where she had retired, in 1967.
She must have been well into her 80s at that time. Following our visit, she sent an album containing both schools for safe keeping with my mam. Being a spinster – perhaps in order to teach – her siblings’ families had no interest in these photos.”
Mr Honeyball said he believed these pictures are from Haggerleases, although over the years some of the pages have been mixed up.
But he added: “The clothing is very different. The photo of Empire Day in 1916, for example, was surrounded by clippings from Deaf Hill, but Miss Johnson was head at Haggerleases from 1908 to 1922, covering the time of this picture.
“The buildings and clothes look the same on the other photos that I think are of Haggerleases. I was fascinated by the beautiful dress of the pupils – by these standards the children at Deaf Hill in 1934 looked really scruffy.”
Haggerleases school, which had a room size of 32ft by 20ft, once accommodated 101 pupils. Its history was last year researched by the Upper Gaunless Valley History Group. Children aged five to seven attended the infant school, in the parish of Lynesack and Softley, before moving on to the elementary schools at Lynesack and Quarry Lane. Mercury archives show the infant school had closed by 1929.