Based on childhood recollections
of Silver Street School, Edmonton
which was built in 1900 to earlier Victorian specifications.
School support for the war effort, 1914-18, world
From time to time during World War I,
the teacher at our school would make a collection for the prisoners of war.
I think we each contributed a copper or two.[Coppers meant old pennies which
were made of copper.] She always made up the parcels in front of us and she
would name the items as she put them in. There was always a tin of 'caffee au
lait' which intrigued me as I didn't know what it was. The only coffee I knew
came out of a bottle and was called 'Camp coffee'.
Another thing we contributed to was a large Union Jack flag, which was sent
as a present to our namesake town in Canada - Edmonton in Ontario. I can't imagine
that it was particularly appreciated, even though Canada was a dominion of the
Celebrating Empire Day at school
One of my pleasant memories from school was Empire Day. Alas that is no more.
On Empire Day the girls wore red, white and blue ribbons in their hair. The
Union Jack would be in much evidence on public buildings and the church. The
highlight as far as we children were concerned was the parade in the playground.
Each child would have a paper flag of red, white or blue and the girls had red,
white and blue hair ribbons in the colours of the national flag. We children
would then march past the dignitaries who assembled along with the headmistress
on the steps in the playground. They included someone from the Board of Education
and maybe the parson. Then we would sing stirring patriotic songs like Rule
Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory, and of course the National Anthem. Finally
there were three cheers. I loved it. I love all pomp and pageantry. If I see
the Household Cavalry, I'm all British and proud of it. The climax to Empire
Day was a half day holiday.
Pound day at elementary school in the 1900s
On Pound Day, children were asked to bring a pound of groceries to school
which would be sent to the hospital. I expect they got lots of sugar, that being
about the cheapest commodity, along with rice.
School preparations for Christmas in the early 1900s
In the week before Christmas children were allowed to make paper chains at
school. We were given coloured paper which we cut into with lengths of about
eight inches long and three quarters of an inch wide. We started a chain by
looping a strip of paper into a ring and gluing it closed. Then we threaded
another strip through and glued the ends together to make the next link in the
chain and so on. Quite long chains could be made this way and any one chain
could be joined to any other using another length of paper. Then we strung the
chains across the room.
Celebrating the coronation of Queen Mary and George
I can just recall the coronation of Queen Mary and George V in 1911. I recall
each girl in my class finding a coronation mug and a bag of sweets on her desk.
Presumably there was something similar for the other children.
We also had a half day holiday.
Celebrating May Day at elementary school in the 1900s
Information on May Day in the early 1900s is on its own
May Day page because it was enjoyed by the wider
community as well as school children.
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.