The school from 1900 to the 1920s

At the end of the 19th century there were about 90 children at the school – possibly more than 100 at times. The trend towards smaller families may have been having some effect even before the First World War since the school numbers had dropped to 70 or 80 by 1914.  During the 1920s there were still some 60 pupils at the school.  Thereafter, the drift away from the land also took effect, and the drop in school numbers became more marked. 

Emmy Kindersley (Seely) remembered being expected to save all her old shoes to give to the school children at Hulverstone in the early 1900s. The early school photographs, however, do not show the rather drawn, anxious faces so often seen in school photographs of the period.

Sir Charles Seely, as Colonel of both the IOW Volunteer Force and the 1st Nottinghamshire (Robin Hood) Rifle Volunteers, attached importance to drill and rifle shooting, and gave some rifles (they could not be fired) to the boys for practice.  They were trained by the coastguards but one day the boys used the guns to ambush Sir Charles from behind a hedge and he took the guns away again.  When Miss Clarence became headmistress in 1921, she greatly expanded the social and creative part of the school’s activities. She directed some ambitious pageants and a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (see High Days and Holidays). An annual May Day celebration also became a highlight of the school year with the election of a May Queen, a procession and sports which also brought parents into the school. 

In the winter there would be a social for  adults with games, dancing ‘and attractive musical entertainment.’ On Boxing Night 1925: A Christmas party was held, over 60 scholars attending…proceedings were enlivened by a jazz band, and with songs…and a long programme of games and dances.  After that, the school was the venue for the village pantomime, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, Miss Clarence producing.