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Wiltshire Community History

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Box Church of England Primary School, Box

Box Church of England Primary School, Box Date Photo Taken 2003
Uploaded 25/10/2007 08:29:35
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

This was built as an elementary Board church school in 1875 at a cost of £2,700 with accommodation for 400 pupils. There were two separate schools - boys, and girls and infants in the same building, with different entrances. The boys were taught by a master (Mr C. Hewlett) and one teacher (Mr R. Trowbridge) while there was a mistress (Miss C. Gray) for the girls and an infant teacher (Miss B. Gray). There were graded fees with the children of labourers paying 2d ( about 1p) a week, those of artisans paying 4d (about 1.75p) and those of tradesmen paying 6d (2.5p). All children who paid in advance by the quarter (every 3 months) had their school books, slates and pencils provided free of extra cost. A Night School was run by the vicar during the winter months on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30 p.m. Fees were 1 shilling (5p) a month of 4d (about 1.75p) a week.

In 1876 the infants were being taught such songs as 'O We're All Weaving', 'Little Bo Peep', 'Song of Sixpence' and 'Dance Thumbkin Dance', while the older children were learning such songs as 'Poor Old Joe', 'Be Kind to the Loved Ones at Home' and 'All Among the Barley'. During harvest time many children were kept at home to help and often girls were absent for gleaning - gathering the fallen ears of corn from the ground after the sheaves of corn had been removed. This provided poorer families with free corn to grind for making their bread. In 1881 the infants' school was separated from the girls and by 1883 there were two certified teachers and two stipendary monitors to help the master in the boy's school. By 1907 there were 340 pupils at the school and the county council had become the local education authority, while in 1908 various sports were introduced as a part of the curriculum. The Night School continued in the early 20th century.

In 1921 a domestic science course for the girls was started in the Methodist Schoolroom, further to the west along the High Street. The boys' and girls' schools amalgamated in 1922 to become a mixed school. Also in 1922 it was reported that the sanitary conditions were very poor and that the earth closets needed replacing. The county council threatened to withdraw support from the school and the work was undertaken. During World War Two 96 children from St. Mary Abbots in Kensington and Old Oak Schools were evacuated to Box and taught in the school with 168 local children.

After the War the school became a voluntary controlled school, known as Box Church of England Primary School and by 1955 there were 182 pupils. The playground has been extended to the east by the provision of a swimming pool. In 2002 there were 165 pupils aged between 4 and 11 years.

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