THE OLD SCHOOL 1860 - 1974
School life in the village started in the Lady Chapel of the Holy Trinity Church. Should you visit this today, you will still see the evidence of the multiplication table on the wall.
In 1860 the National School in Long Melford was built at a cost of £2118. Later in 1895, an infants school was built in Liston Lane namely St. Catherine's Infant School. This building still stands and is a privately owned home.
In the early days a weekly charge of 2d. per child was required. Boys over the age of 12 who had left school and were working could attend night school at 1d. per week. The school was attended by boys and girls although taught separately. This included a dividing wall in the playground to keep them apart!
Happy times were had at the Old School. Some of my own memories during my time spent at this school are still quite clear. For instance the store cupboard for papers and paints was upstairs, just past the headmasters office. The stairs were very squeaky and led to two store cupboards and a small music room. Here we learnt to play the recorder. Rumour was that there was a ghost in the store cupboards, so we used to go in two's, for added protection.
Teachers and Headmasters
These names may bring back happy memories (or not) for those of you who attended the old school.
Headmaster's - Mr Partridge, Mr Fox, Mr Long.
Teachers - Mrs Gooch, Mrs Partridge, Mrs Balls, Mrs Phillips, Mrs Evans, Mr White, Miss Atkinson, Miss Edmunds
Mrs Phillips and Mrs Evans were very popular teachers, we even went to their homes for tea! Those were the days.
School Building & Grounds
The actual fabric of the building didn't really change from what I can recall. The main hall was where the school dinners and assemblies were held. The toilets were outside, not much fun in the winter. The bike shed for those who were lucky enough to bike to school. A playing field although not large enough for school sports day . We had to walk down to the local football field for this yearly event. School Lane was along side the school where we would often go for nature walks. This was great fun as we were allowed to play 'Dirty Scat' before we had to return back to school.
We all progressed through the school having different teachers for each year. However, we were also members of 'houses'. These being Phoenix - Blue, Griffin - Green, Unicorn - Yellow, Dragon - Red.
Each time any child produced a good piece of work worthy of a merit, a star of the relevant house colour was placed on the work. It was also shown to everyone in assembly every Friday morning. At the end of the school year the house with the most star's was the winner. I was in Phoenix, maybe that explains why I like the colour blue.
Another tradition for the school was the 'Melford Book' which we all made during our final year at the school. This was made up of our own reports on visits which we were able to go on. Some of which included Melford Hall, The Fire Station, The Maltings, The Bakery, The Church, Bush Boake Allen, The Fair and The Trinity Hospital. These books took most of the year to complete and were real treasures. I still have my own book and I know a lot of students kept theirs. It was just a lovely thing to keep.
In 1974 the old school closed its doors to pupils for the last time as the 'New School' had been built in Cordell Road and new pupils would need to attend that school.
The Old School still serves the community as a centre for various events.
For more local history take a look at the Foxearth & District local history association