Victorian Pupil's Day


Victorian Pupil's Day


Compilation of recordings containing memories of Schooldays during the Victorian and Edwardian era, including talk about discipline and the types of lessons taught, from the East Midlands Oral History Archive.


East Midlands Oral History Archive


You may use this recording in accordance with our licence




Simpson, T; McGrath, J;


Hayes, M, E, Mrs; Johnston, Elsie; Smith, Eugene;


Interviewer: did they have any forms of punishment if you were naughty?

Mrs Hayes: ooh yes - yes, only – not capital punishment [laughs] anything like that – no you used to get a knuckle around chiperworth [??] – Teachers used to come round and – overlook you – what you were doing on your paper and cause – I was very unfortunate, because every time she came round I used to get a blot you know from the ink – cause we used to have ink wells, you see in the desks, and always used pen and ink – and used to get me knuckles wrapped with a – at that time they used to have a pencil about like that – a blue leaded pencil, and a thick one with four or five sides you know and – it got a ridge round – get your knuckles wrapped with that – but it wasn’t a – wasn’t a hard school, but that was the sort of discipline there was about.

Interviewer: what sort of work did you have to do?

Mrs Hayes: well mainly to do with the three r’s – there one particular class we went in and I should be about – twelve or thirteen then – and we had a male teacher Mr Haden, and he used to start at the top end of the class and used to have what we call an exercise of mental arithmetic and you used to – he used to give everyone a little mental arithmetic – question and we used to have to answer them, I don’t know what the children are doing now. I mean cause they’ve got such a different attitude towards reterning [??].

Interviewer: did you have to go through all the tables?

Mrs Hayes: ooh yes – ooh yes twice one is two and twice two is four. We never went before the twelfth times table, they always – never went to the thirteenth times table, used to go up to the twelfth and – learn the alphabet of course

Interviewer: did you have to write in an exact way?

Mrs Hayes: ooh yes, we used to have what they – and we always used to use a line paper

Interviewer: did you have to put the lines on yourself?

Mrs Hayes: oh no, no the paper was – we were given an exercise book that were already lined, and we use to have to do the copy plates and – and keep to the lines and use to do – use to do essays – and use to write things that were of interest – you know those sort of things.

Interviewer: were they very strict, the teachers?

Elsie: Happy days – very

Interviewer: they were?

Elsie: very happy days indeed

Interviewer: and what sort of lessons did you have?

Elsie: well we used to have the three r’s, which was – very strict at school and – but – it was good strictness if you know what I mean

Interviewer: ooh and when you were at school what other lessons did you have besides that three r’s?

Eugene: reading – I was always good at history and then we used to have geography, I wasn’t a lot – no I wasn’t very good at that, I couldn’t draw – couldn’t draw maps

Interviewer: no

Eugene: couldn’t draw round the wash in the Humber, couldn’t draw that, but I was always good at history, and I was always good at writing, dictation, and I was good at sums and – what did we call them like – in your head

Interviewer: mental arithmetic

Eugene: mental arithmetic – they got other names today isn’t there, but – what they used to do, you see even today I tell my great grandchildren this, Louise and that – I say look a sum is wrapped up in a lot of words and if you take the words out there’s your sum.

Interviewer: yes, that’s good advice

Eugene: even today – it is cause you see – a farmer had a field and a farmer this, well its nothing to do with the field and the farmer

Interviewer: no it’s just the figures

Eugene: and it’s just the – yes take the writing out, the reading out and that – I was good at reading but –

Interviewer: and did they teach you sort of domestic things?

Eugene: yes went to cookery, we had a cookery at our school, Miss Chadwick was the – cookery lady, and then on Tuesdays and Fridays we went to Narborough Road school, and that from our school [??]. They came to our cookery – and on Tuesday we used to do laundry and on – Friday we used to do house wifery, they called it – how to bath a baby, you know they had a doll – and domestic things. Yes – used to do goffering, you know the ironing

Interviewer: yes

Eugene: you know the goffering

Interviewer: yes

Eugene: like the old fashion curlers, only a row of them – cause all things like that starching

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