Post-war improvements to the school

The years after World War II saw a frenzy of local Authority activity to improve the school buildings:
24th October 1946
At a Managers’ Meeting last night, the Correspondent was asked to write to the Education Office recommending the installation of an electric pump, so that a sufficient supply of water may be available.

One was duly installed 18 months later. In September 1948 the school exterior was decorated for the first time since 1935, and in January 1949 plans were set in motion for a washing-up room for canteen staff. The playground was resurfaced with macadam in September 1950.

In September 1955 Elsan chemical toilets at last replaced the
earth buckets previously used. An HMI Report of September 1955
gives a good summary of the state of the school:

“The school provides for the full age-range of 5 to 15 years, and
takes the Seniors from two small contributory schools. There are
107 children in the school, organised in four classes, one for
Infants, one for Juniors, one for older Juniors and younger Seniors,
and one for the older Seniors. The difficulties of providing a
suitable education for all the children in a full range school are
increased here by the fact that it is impossible to make a clear
division between Seniors and Juniors. About 1/3 of the children
take the school meal which is transported from a neighbouring
canteen and served in the Hall.
The premises consist of three good classrooms and a hall which
has to serve as classroom and a dining room. The natural lighting
of the hall is poor. There is in addition a small dual-purpose room
for Handicraft and Housecraft. There is no water-flushing system in
the offices, and as the cleaning service has been unsatisfactory
the earth buckets are to be replaced by chemical closets. The
lavatory provision, four fixed basins, is scanty.

Four days after this report was posted, the school’s water supply
dried up:

September 20th 1955
Yesterday the well, supplying the school and school house, failed;
no water was available. The Education Committee have
sanctioned the bringing of mains water into the school, and we
await the cooperation of the Chesterton R.D.C. Temporarily, the
Committee has supplied a tank holding 30 gallons which we have
to fill each day from a neighbouring house for water for washing,
and an urn of drinking water.

Ten days later, the school was connected to the mains water

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Comments (1)



    Dear Sirs,
    I recall these events taking place. It was still very much a time of ‘make do and mend’.
    Resources and finances minimal at the time.
    The school, under father’s stewardship and direction, continued to give solid education.
    The three ‘R’s’, geography, history, simple natural science, music; these taking in the
    excellent BBC schools radio broadcasts. All conducted against the background of
    ‘manners maketh man’.
    To accommodate the limitations of the sanitary facilities, all classes adopted a discipline
    to make best use, without fuss. 1957/58 saw the arrival of ‘modern wc’s’ hot water basins
    and oil fired central heating which replaced the solid fuel system.
    The well in school house garden running dry came as a surprise. There was a rumour that
    the cement works over the hill had sunk a deep shaft which lowered the water table.
    Meals arrived daily from an central kitchen, and at a time when the effects of wartime
    rationing were still being felt every pupil was given a weekly dose of malted cod liver oil.
    Healthcare was in those times included, nurses visiting to carry out regular head checks.
    Referred to ‘nit nurses’ A county council caravan fitted as a dental unit visited to examine
    and treat teeth.
    It was also a time of transition, with the imminent opening of Comberton village college.
    Yours sincerely,
    Neville James Cole


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