Days off at Haslingfield School
Holidays have always been popular with school pupils, and Haslingfield School has had its share of them. Apart from statutory breaks, pupils over the years have enjoyed many others, coming from a number of sources.
The most unwelcome, perhaps, have been breaks enforced by general sickness. Haslingfield seems to have had its share of epidemics at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. There were epidemics of measles in 1876, 1883, 1884, 1894 and 1925; of scarlet fever in 1876 and 1937; of whooping cough in 1896, 1900, 1904, 1912 and 1916; of influenza in 1899, 1918 and 1919; of chicken pox in 1918 and of the rather unpleasant-sounding epidemic catarrh in 1916. All necessitated the closing of the school by the health authorities, sometimes for as long as five weeks.
More pleasant reasons for closure included Sunday-school treats, holidays for good attendance and Band of Hope outings, where children who had ‘signed the pledge’ were taken for wholesome trips to the seaside. There was one as late as 1930. Parish and General Elections also provided regular holidays, as did the Royal family. There were days off for the Duke of Kent’s wedding in 1934, for the Duke of Gloucester’s in 1935 and for Princess Margaret’s in 1960. Coronations must have been very popular, pupils being given a week off in 1911 and 1952. Pupils enjoyed half a day’s holiday for Empire Day during the 1920s.
Other special events also merited holidays. The school was closed so that everyone could attend the Royal Agricultural Show at Trumpington in July 1951. The blackberry harvest must have been great in 1918, when children were given four days off to go picking them. Perhaps the end of the Great War was a factor in the Managers’ kindness. Certainly local shortages after the war, particularly a lack of coke and coal, caused other days off.
Finally, days off started to be given in the 1930s for Area Sports meetings, and at the first appearance of Teacher Training Days.
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