Records of The Church School Ickenham Middlesex: Pupils and Teachers 1873-1929

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Ickenham Church of England School was founded in 1823 by Thomas Truesdale Clarke, proprietor of Swakeleys and the principal landowner in Ickenham. Ten years later this school was described as a fee-paying establishment for 10 boys and 20 girls. Initially lessons were given in the front room of Home Farm but in 1866 a purpose built schoolroom was constructed and this remained in use until 1929 when overcrowding and road widening resulted in the school moving to a new site.

The Hillingdon Family History Society has extracted all the references to individuals and families in the log books of the Ickenham Church School between 1873 and 1929. Presented in the form of an alphabetical index of names it records all the references to the individuals concerned (both pupils and teachers) during this period.

Quite apart from the information relating to individuals such logs provide a most vivid and reliable picture of the social background of the time. In the case of Ickenham, then a wholly rural Middlesex village, there was a marked reluctance amongst many of the farmers and agricultural labourers to send their children to school. The log is full of references to children being kept at home to help with the hay-making, to pick acorns (for the pigs) or to earn a few shillings bird-scaring or potato-picking. Children who had reached a certain level in the three Rs could obtain a labour certificate at twelve which enabled them to go half-time to school and work for the rest of the week. At 13 they could leave school entirely provided they had put in the minimum number of school attendances. School attendance registers consequently had an almost religious veneration attaching to them and altering one after its completion usually involved an entry in the log. The school A.Os (Attendance Officers), Messrs. Jarman and Brown, were kept very busy attending court to enforce attendance orders or seeking out truants.

Infectious disease was rife amongst children and staff. The log is full of references to ring-worm, lice, chickenpox, and the then very serious diseases of measles, scarlet fever and diphtheria. Children often came to school so dirty that they had to be thoroughly washed before they were admitted to the classroom. A whole series of doctors appears in the log; Doctors Tate, Norrington, Moir, Young, Warner, Rayner; all of them busy examining, excluding and quarantining. Death amongst both children and staff appears regularly in the Ickenham School log. Anyone still labouring under the illusion that the Edwardian era represented "the good old days" will find the log of an early twentieth century Elementary School such as that at Ickenham to be a useful antidote.

These records are clearly of tremendous value to anyone researching a family that was living in Ickenham in the latter part of the 19 th century and the beginning of the 20 th century. However, they are also of great interest to local historians who wish to gain a broader understanding of life in a rural Middlesex community at this time.

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Cat. No. PBN116

ISBN: 978-1-905347-38-4