School Days

And as we approach the end of the century, let’s have a further look at these Board Schools

Inspectors’ School Reports, dated January 1898

“Between 1862 and 1897, children were subjected to the ‘payment by results’ system. This was brought in to raise standards and schools could lose part of their grants if insufficient children attained the expected grades in the three Rs. They also needed to show a satisfactory level of attendance. Schools were tested annually by a government inspector, which was stressful for both teachers and pupils.

Originally introduced under the Revised Code of Regulations in 1862 and revised again in 1872, there were six Standards of Education relating to reading, writing and arithmetic through which children were meant to progress. For example, in Standard III, pupils were expected to read a short paragraph from a more advanced reading book, write a sentence slowly dictated once by a few words at a time from the same book, and to carry out long division and compound rules relating to money.

Children could not, for instance, be promoted to Standard IV if they failed to pass the criteria for Standard III. Many children left school without having attained Standard VI, which is unsurprising given the problems associated with sporadic attendance. The Standards roughly corresponded to ages between seven and 12.

Payment by results’ placed undue emphasis on the three Rs at the expense of everything else. It was watered down slightly from 1871 when grants could be awarded for passes in ‘specific’ subjects in higher Standards including history, geography and geometry. From 1875, these grants were extended to passes in ‘class’ subjects across the Standards such as history, geography, grammar and needlework for girls”.

from “A Visitor’s Guide to Victorian England: Michelle Higgs’ guide to the weird and wonderful world of Victorian England

So, let’s see how Ilkeston’s Board School children were faring under this system.


Cotmanhay Schools
The children are bright and intelligent, and the teachers very earnest in their work.
Very satisfactory progress has been made in each department of their work.
It is desirable that both teachers and children should speak in a more subdued tone of voice, and that the habit of indiscriminate answering should be checked.
Grant, 17s per head on average attendance of 344. Total, including £4 for pupil teachers, £296 8s

Granby Boys
The excellent work deserves special commendation and the work generally is thoroughly well done, its value being enhanced when the changes in the staff during the year are taken into consideration.
Grant, 20s 6d per head on 308 average. Total £323 12s

Granby Girls
The excellent influence of the headmistress (Amy Read) is apparent in the loyalty of the staff and in the discipline and prevailing tone throughout the school. The accuracy, neatness and intelligence with which the work is done reflect the highest credit upon Miss Reed (sic) and her staff.
Grant, 21s 6d per head on 286 average. Total £316 3s
The 1s more per head for the girls was for needlwork.

Total grant at Granby £639 15s, including £4 for pupil teachers.

Bath Street mixed
The excellent work done here under most adverse circumstances deserves the highest praise
Infants  ….Considering the overcrowded, inconvenient room in which the children are taught the work may be considered good.
With regard to the sum of £9 13s 10d the Board received for books etc., the Board are reminded that parents should be informed that all such payments are optional and if the parents desire it all necessary school requisits will be provided for the children gratis by the Board.
Grant, 20s per head on an average of 193 in the mixed department, and 15s per head on 174 in the infants’ department. Total £261 10s

Chaucer Street Boys
Very satisfactory progress has been made in the upper division of the school, but the work of the first, second and third standards needs careful attention.
Grant earned, 20s 6d per head on 286. Total £294 3s

Chaucer Street Girls
Excellent progress has been made in each department of the work, much of which has been done under very trying circumstances in consequence of the serious illness of the headmistress (Alice Pounder)
Grant, 20s 6d per capital on 261. Total £268 10s 6d

Chaucer Street Infants
Very good work has been done throughout this large school. The room in which the babies are taught is seriously overcrowded, and two of the rooms are fitted with desks totally unsuitable for the use of little children.
Grant, 17s per head on527. Total £543 19s

Total grants at Chaucer Street £101 12s 6d including £8 for pupil teachers

Kensington Boys
The teaching is intelligent and energetic, and the work throughout the school is thoroughly well done
Grant, 20s 6d per head on 161. Total £167 os 6d

Kensington Girls
The girls are in very good order, and satisfactory progress has been made considering the difficulties which have been experienced this year.
The higher grant for English is recommended with hesitation
Grant, 20s 6d per head on 160. Total £168

Kensington Infants
The work this year has been sadly injured by sickness among the children.
A want of life and mental activity is apparent in the lower classes of the school, and it is hopedthat improved methods for teaching reading and number will be adopted, that greater prominence will be given to wood building, and that steps will be taken to improve the present unpunctual attendance of the children.
Grant, 15s per head on 182. Total £142 10s

Total grant at Kensington, £477 10s 6d including £12 under article 102

Post script : it should be noted that in that very month — January 1898 — a brand new Board School was added to the list. These were in fact three schools known as the Gladstone Street Schools (for boys, girls and infants).


Several readers had sent in their school photos, some taken at the old Board Schools … I thank them all. If you have any, from any era, I would be most happy to include them.

Day 1 

Pam Bates has made several contributions to the Old Ilkeston site and I want to thank her once more for sending a group of fascinating school photos which you can find below.

This got me thinking (!!)  — there may be other people out there who have got similar photos which they might like to share.
So I have started this new section with Pam’s collection, in the hope that it might grow …. we shall see.
If you have any photos, please send them along. (to [email protected])


Pam is the great-granddaughter of Amos Beardsley, master baker of South Street and his wife Sarah (nee Birch, born in 1843).

Sarah’s younger sister, Mary Birch (born in 1850) married West Hallam-born Thomas Ebbern, butcher of Bath Street, in 1872. Their youngest child was Annie Ebbern (born in 1892) who married Arthur Edwin Paling, coalminer of Cossall in 1915.
Thus we have a link between Beardsleys, Ebberns and Palings…. and between Ilkeston and Cossall.

Pam has sharpened up this first photo (below) as much as possible in her attempt to make the name-board held by the young lass in the front row as legible as she can. Her conclusion, supported by her husband, in that it bears the words ‘Cossall School, Group 3’ with the year ’89, top right … and I would agree !!

Wright’s Directory of  Nottingham 1888 lists Cossall as having a National School, the Mistress of which is Miss Harriet Broadhead born in Brampton Bierlow, Yorkshire in 1856. She had lived in Cossall village at least since 1881, appearing on the census of that year as a school mistress/ lodger with an aged widow, Eliza Cross.
Is that Harriet on the left ??

Unfortunately we cannot be sure, as Harriet doesn’t feature on the 1891 Cossall census. I believe that she returned to her native Yorkshire and married Andrew Ping, Clerk in Holy Orders, on Christmas Eve 1889 .. at Wentworth Church, close to her birthplace.

On the 1891 census the Cossall school mistress is very recently-married Mrs. Elizabeth Helen Thompson (nee Hind), aged 28, wife of iron turner David. Is it Elizabeth Helen in the photo?

Although the photo is in Pam’s family collection, she is not sure of its connection … she suspects that it lies with the Paling family.
Arthur Edwin Paling (the later husband of Annie Ebbern) was born at Babbington (adjacent to Cossall) on September 21st 1885, son of coalminer Thomas and Hannah (nee Cook). There was an older brother Thomas William, born February 24th 1878. The family is living at Cossall on the 1891 census where both lads are described as ‘scholar’.
Could they both be on the photo ? Thomas William on the back row with the other older boys ? .. and Arthur Edwin perched near the front

This second photograph appears to have been taken some years later. Pam believes that the girl in the centre, with the spreading white collar, is Mary Elizabeth Ebbern (1889-1961), when she appears to be about 10 or 11? … she also appears in several photos of the Ebbern Family.

This photo also appears on the ‘PictureNottingham‘ website where it is dated at 1900. Louise Burrows, daughter of lace draughtsman Alfred and Louisa Ann (nee Wheatley, is second row from front, and second on the right, then aged 11/12. Mr James A. Randall, aged 25,  was the Headmaster (on the left) and on the right is Rev. William Helm, aged 36.

Who says that School Days are the happiest days of your life ??!! …. although I do detect the beginnings of a smile on at least one face.

Arthur Edwin and Annie Paling had at least four children, including twins May and Elsie (can you spot them in the photo ?) born on August 24th 1916. Pam thinks that they appear to be about 5 or 6 years old, dating the photo at about 1921/22.
She knows that the family did live at 59 Green Lane, Ilkeston for many years and they were there at the beginning of the War in 1939….
I met twins Elsie and May twice in Ilkeston at 59 Green Lane.  Neither married.  Their caregiver was Pam Bemrose, she looked after them wonderfully, and Pam passed on the family photos to me when the ladies passed away.
The anonymous background doesn’t help to place the school.

And here is the youngest member of the Paling family … Frank born on January 9th 1919, at the very top left. He looks about 10 or 11 suggests Pam.
Could this be Hallcroft school?

Smile ! And sit up straight !! Although one person appears to be slouching !!!

And here are Frank’s twin sisters at the same school.
Elsie is top left, second one in. May is top right, second one in. The girls seem to be about 12/13 ? … dating the photo to about 1929.

This seems a favoured place in the school for class photos. Does anyone recognise it ?

And after school days, we enjoy holidays … which most of the Paling family below seem to be enjoying too.

Here are the twins again, Elsie and May, with their mum Annie and dad Arthur Edwin … possibly at Skegness ? (Anyone recognise the background ?)


Day 2

These photos have come via an anonymous donor. S/he is sure that a family connection links all of them but is not certain what that connection is !!

All these class photos were taken at Chaucer Street Schools … the first two just a few years after the end of World War I ….

The children in the above photo were born about 1914, and in the one below, about 1909.

The following was posed in the early 1950’s. Perhaps someone recognises a face ??

The teacher is Mrs. Gormley (?)
Thanks to Andrew Knighton, I can now dispense with the above question mark …. he writes ….
The photo of a group at Chaucer, with a teacher in the background, asks whether it is Mrs (Nellie) Gormley. I can confirm it definitely is – she was one of my great aunts and she also taught at Kensington (I have a class photo with her on it). Ironically she always hated her photo being taken. My mother is 90 this year and she remembers when she visited her auntie Nellie on Factory Lane when she was young, she would always be asked her tables such as “what is eight times seven?”. I also remember when I was very young she kept a book on top of her television in which she noted whenever someone had visited and the date, just as if keeping a school register – old habits die hard. For all that,  she was a very kind and lovely person and I never left empty handed after a visit, always coming away with some chocolates.

Ann Slater (nee Hopkins) has written to me to name the girl, back row on the right, as Linda Baines.

The boy second from the front, on the right hand side, is Michael Rice, the cousin of Ann Slater (nee Hopkins), who has pointed him out.


Day 3

My thanks to Sarah Gatley for sharing this fascinating school photo which includes her granduncle Arthur Hancox (born in 1921)

Arthur is the lad holding the pivotal pose, in the top centre !!

The inscription beneath the photo reads ‘Scholastic Souvenir Co. Ltd., Blackpool’ followed by a plaque, reading ‘Cossall C/E School, Notts. 1935’


Day 4

It is believed that the following crowd of eager and enthusiastic scholars is assembled for the Ilkeston and District Annual Sports Day, held at the Rutland Recreation Ground, probably in the summer of the mid-1950’s (1954 or 1955 ?).

I have divided the original photo into sections so that you can see more detail … this first section is the front left. ( showing competitors for Chaucer Girls School at the front and their Chaucer ‘supporters behind them)….

… and below is the top left section

Below is the front right ….

… and this is the back right.

And finally, the complete photograph …. . Where’s Wally ?

Ann Slater (nee Hopkins) has kindly contacted me to point out that the girl (third from the left) is Dorothy Johnson, sitting next to Diane Knight.


Day 5

Andrew Knighton has kindly sent this photo, taken at Kensington School, perhaps in the mid 1930’s. Nellie Gormley is the female teacher on the right … and you have seen a more mature Nellie in the Chaucer Street class, above. (Day 2)

Andrew writes ….
I thought I’d send a school photo I have with my great aunt Nellie Gormley on it. I think it probably dates to the mid 1930s when she was a teacher at Kensington School. Behind her is Nottingham Road – the view is looking towards the corner of the playground on the corner of Nottingham Road/St. John’s Road; you can see the trolley bus wires in the background. On the left is the headmaster, Mr. S. P. Cox. I do have several other Kensington School group photos from the 1930s that were at one time in his personal possession as they have his name and address on the back. Interestingly one from 1937 has Mr. Stanley Jackson on it – he was still teaching there when I was a pupil in the early 1970s. You would never mess around if you were in his class and after breaks had finished, you could hear his slow deliberate walk along the red floor tiles in the corridor as he always had segs in his shoes and it gave plenty of warning for everyone to be back behind their desks and quiet by the time he walked through the door!

This is another one from Andrew. Stanley Jackson (whom he mentioned above) is at the centre of the back row. The teacher on the right is Mr. Bush.
Andrew writes … Although a young teacher on this photo, he would be very easily recognisable to anyone from my generation who attended Kensington School (I was there from 1969-73). I believe he retired not many years after I left there for Hallcroft. 
The back of the photo has the message ‘Kensington Recorders 1937‘.

The photo above shows Kensington Relay Team 1931 (recorded on the back and signed there by W. Bush of 2 Field Rd, Ilkeston). Mr. S.P. Cox is at centre … recognise him from the above ??

And this one is of the school’s Athletic Team 1932 (July, and again signed on the back by Mr. Bush). So, who is the adult in the centre ?? And who is the handsome chap on the right ??

All these Kensington School photos were kindly sent to the site by Andrew Knighton.


Day 6

As you can see, this is a splendid class of young pupils at Stanton Ironworks Company’s Infants School … again, sent in by Andrew KnightonHe writes … none of them look happy and it wouldn’t surprise me if they had just been told off. He also points out that three of the girls are wearing the same style of dress … could they be sisters ? (i.e. the girl standing centre back, and the two girls seated, one behind the other, also in the centre).

The school is a bit of a mystery. The photo was taken about 1908 (?) but where was it ? There was a school on Hallam Fields Road, past St. Bartholemew’s called Hallam Fields School but it appears this was not the same building. Can anyone help ?


Day 7

And, for a change, this from Andrew …..  an attendance record for a distant relative of mine when he was at Gladstone Infants School just after 1900

I believe John Walters was born about 1892, a son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Ann (nee Knighton). At the time of this report his parents were dead and he was living in Byron Street with his maternal grandparents.


Day 8

Anita Furlong has very kindly sent in this splendid photo, nearly 100 years old, and showing Robert Henshaw (1912-1987) …

Anite writes … I have recently acquired this photograph from another family member. It is of Gladstone street boys choir  1925.
My father Robert Henshaw (1912-1987)(son of Robert Henshaw and Mary Ann Bell/Straw/Henshaw) is in the 2nd row down, in front of the tall boy.
I am not sure of this but my father did tell me that his school master was also the person who collected the rent .


Day 9

I want to thank Dave Ball who has sent in the following album of terrific photos.

This first one is of a Christmas collection of youngsters at Cotmanhay Infants School, taken around 1952. Nice to contrast the socks of the lad on the left with those of the lass on the right !!  Dave is second left, on the front row.

This next one was taken at Cotmanhay Junior School around 1955 .. the School Pet Club.
Do I detect a couple of children appearing in both photos ? Dave is certainly one of them …. can you spot him ??

We move on, up the education ladder, to the Ilkeston Grammar School of 1957. As usual, this is posed in front of the Main Entrance.
This was Dave’s first year at the school and there he is … third from the left, on the back row.

Dave recalls that this next photo was taken about 1969, at the Children’s Christmas party held at the British Legion Club when it was on Corporation Road.
Dave is top left, back row, holding a balloon in one hand and his brother Adrian in the other.
On the next row down is Dave’s sister, Kathleen (second from the right) and next to her is Dave’s friend, Jeff Hooley, who gave him the photo.

And now for one that doesn’t feature any lads. This was taken in 1961, showing Class 4B of Cavendish Girls’ School ..

Front row, left to right, we have Angela Dean, Diane Fox, Brenda Dunmore, Pauline Shelton, Carol Barnes, Veronica Martin, Wendy Hickson.

On the second row, (l to r), Jean Aldred, Wendy Savage, Gail Syson, Catherine Bagshaw, Carol Aldred, Patricia Langton, Carol Smith, Ann Harlow, Shirley Reid, Ann Sheldon.

On the third row (l to r), Averil Brown, Laureen Hurst, Nora Cross, Ann Grainger, Mary Bailey, Glenys O’Neill, (later to marry Dave Ball), June Coates, Margaret Holding, Carol Pilbeam, Glynn Wright, Pamela Straw, Linda Robinson.

And on the back row (l to r), Margaret Henshaw, Pat Grainger, Christine Grainger, Maureen Meakin, Joyce Brooks, Pat Gle??, Christine Grace, Carol Siddons, Janet Slack, Teresa Shore.

The teacher (extreme right ?) was Mrs. Simpkin.

And here are many of the same girls, 20 years later ….

Taken from the Ilkeston Advertiser (?), the commentary beneath the photo …

And finally, another school photo which featured in the local press ….

If anyone can add other detail to any of these photos, please feel free to contribute.

And if you have any photos of your own, do what Dave did !!


And now on to the Sunday School Movement