The Baptist School

The Sarah Tattersall Log Book 1873 - 1898

baptist school



Clayton Baptist Infant school opened on the 9th June 1873, with 41 boys and 26 girls attending on the first day. The fee was 2d per week, although 21 of the children were part time and only paid a 1d. The age range was 4 - 7 years but some were sent before their 3rd birthday. The school was divided into first, second, and baby classes and the teacher was Sarah Tattersall who was helped by pupil teachers. The school year ran from the beginning of March until the end of February, when the children were examined by school inspectors. The school log book, kept by Miss Tattersall is now held by Bradford Archives and can be seen by prior appointment. The log gives a fascinating insite into village school life during the late 19th century. Many of the entries relate to attendance , which was of prime importance in securing a grant for the following year. In winter children were often kept at home during cold weather. On the 7th December1882, heavy snow prevented so many children attending that the ones who had turned up were sent home and the school closed for the day. In summer parents allowed their children to play out until very late, and as a result chidren slept in the following day, often not turning up at school until after lunch. Illness kept many chidren at home, sometimes for weeks at a time, Ethel Appleyard returned to school on the 8th November 1889 after an absence of three months, and when Elizabeth Firth was admitted to school on1st April 1881, she had been ill for over two years. Epidemics occured regularly, including chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough and scarlet fever. There was a particularly bad epedemic of measles in October 1884. By the 2nd week of the month, more that 50 children were ill, rising to 62 by the end of the month. Measles was a serious illness before the introduction of antibiotics and children often took many months to recover. Some were left with permanent disabilities,such as deafness or blindness and in some cases the disease was fatal. According to a log book entry dated 27th August 1886, Asa Yewdall died from measles. A case of typhoid fever was diagnosed in one of the children on the 27th October 1882. By the 22nd November more cases had been reported and the school was closed for two days for cleaning. On the 13th November some "Condey's Fluid" was obtained and this was used each day in the school. By the 17th November 29 cases of sickness were reported among the children but it was reported that the disease was abating somewhat in the village. Miss Tattersal often went out to visit children who were absent from school, seeing as many as 15 families in one evening. In 1879 however, a Mr Bailey is mentioned as "visitor of absentee's". Some delicate schoolchildren were often away from school. On the 20th January 1882 five children were listed as "often ailing" who scarcely make any advance with thier lessons. One of these, Alfred Shepherd subsequently died in August of the same year, his being one of 24 deaths recorded in the years 1873 - 1898. Miss Tattersall recorded the deaths with regret, an entry for the 4th July 1874 reading "One of my boys, named Joe Sharp, a fine little fellow,died on Sunday after a short illness." Not all the deaths were from illness. In September 1875 Ephraim Watmuff, aged 5 ,died after falling down a quarry at Brecks. School holidays were, one week at Easter and Whitsuntide, two weeks in summer and two weeks at Christmas. There was half holiday for Shrove Tuesday and for Gunpowder Plot . In addition the children were given an occasional day off for other events, such as in August 1895 when the school was closed, as so many were watching a "Grand Wedding " at the village church or, on the 23rd September 1889 when all schools in Bradford were closed , so that children could go and see Barnum's Show in Bradford. National events such as the wedding of the Duke of York and Princess Mary in July 1895 were also celebrated, and in 1897 the school was closed for a week for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubillee. The school log book can be invaluable in providing personnal details, which may not be found elsewhere. When Joseph Wilds was admitted to the school on 26th March1886 he was described as having a speech impediment and a useless right hand. On the 1st September 1876, Sarah Smith was said to be an infant in mind and partly paralysed. Sometimes an entry an entry can give information about a whole family. An entry dated 27th January 1882 read, Andrew Chadwick. I sent him home for being dirty and filthy, to return when he was clean. The children are utterly neglected by the mother. The log can also help trace movement of a family. In 1882 an entry states that Willie Ingham had moved to Halifax. Even if your ancester is not named in the log book, it is still worth reading for the valuable information it gives about school life a hundred years ago. Listed are the topics taught, in addition to reading writing and arithmetic , there were object lessons such as The Lighthouse, The Whale, Day and Night, Kindness to Animals, The Railway Trains and Minding the Baby. The girls were taught sewing and all the children learnt songs such as "I must not grieve my mother" and " The old black cat". Interspersed among the more mundane entries, such as the buying of slates or the visits of the Baptist Minister, there are interesting entries such as the end of term outing to to play in Mr Yewdalls field, or on the31st July 1874 when the local blacksmith, whose workshop was next to the school, where Angus Jowett and Herbert Andrews had been throwing stones "came into the playground and without speaking to anyone, kicked the boys most severely". By 1898 the school had become very overcrowded. A new Board School was opened, the entry for 30th September reading " The scholars have all marched through the village this afternoon carrying banners, slates and books, to the new school to learn their appointed classrooms ready for Monday morning. Sarah Tattersall continued to keep her log book at the new school until her departure on the 22nd December1899. IN APPRECIATION Gwen Dalby. (Author) Taken From BOD-KIN The Journal of The Bradford Family History Society September 1995