Did you know that the Grammar School in Southwell was once housed at the Westgate end of the Minster yard, with pigsties, privies and a farmyard nearby, or that in 1832 there were 18 different schools in Southwell?
These are just two details of information gleaned from the exhibition ‘Schools for All’ which took place at the Southwell museum during July and August. The exhibition dealt with the period when education for the whole community first became available.
It looked in detail at the schools which existed in 1900 and also at the general pattern of school life in the late Victorian period and early years of this century in Southwell.The exhibition contained photographs, extracts from documents, various classroom objects and pieces of furniture, old textbooks and exercise books, as well as examples of Victorian children’s clothing. A tape recording of interviews with local people, all at least in their mid-eighties, was also played, interspersed with classroom sounds such as the chanting of multiplication tables and Latin verbs. The exhibition was the work of the Minster School History department and was a result of efforts to collect material about the history of Southwell, sponsored by a grant from Save and Prosper Insurance made earlier this year. Three A level historians have been particularly involved in the research so far – Irene Craik, William Ivory and Richard Ryde.
The school would welcome offers of material, especially photographs, or simply offers to talk about old Southwell with members of the Sixth Form, to help continue the research. Anyone able to help should contact the head of History, Mr Hutchison.