Rain and Haslingfield School

We’ve just experienced our wettest summer since 1912, so I thought a review of the impact of rain on school life might provide a fitting end to the season.

Given the rudimentary nature of the school drainage system in the nineteenth century, and the state of the village roads, it perhaps is not surprising that heavy downfalls caused some disruption. On 2nd June, 1881, there was a “heavy thunder shower – surface drains full and girls’ yard flooded”. Getting to school in such circumstances must have been a nightmare. On 7th November 1890 eight infants who had gone home to lunch failed to appear in the afternoon, due to heavy rain in the lunch hour. The same happened in July 1892, with 13 staying at home, ominously the day before a choir trip to the seaside.

In October 1912 rain combined with measles to keep children away, and in 1919 a school temperature of 46 degrees plus torrential rain led to the school being sent home.

The school gardens in May 1956 were suffering from a lack of rain, but things returned to normal by March 1961, when trouble with the drainage system led to the digging of new soak-aways. Torrential rain led to the postponement of the Annual Sports Day in July 1967, and I’m sure the irony would not have been lost on George Hamilton, who the following day put on a production of ‘Noyes Fludde’ in the school hall.

Here’s to an Indian summer!

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Comments (1)



    Dear Sir,
    The weather; probably the favourite topic of conversation in Britain.
    To fill a gap in the chronology, father, during his headship, had in the
    school house garden, a ‘Stevenson screen’, as it was known, for daily
    weather readings. Senior pupils would take readings of temperatures,
    rainfall amounts, snowfall in winter, wind direction etc. These readings
    were then plotted on a monthly graph. During holidays father continued
    the records. He maintained them during his retirement to the very end.
    What happened to the ones at the school after his retirement I don’t know.
    Neville James Cole.


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