The following, is an account of Tickhill
National School, given to Rosemary Cornish by Miss Kate A.
Kimberley during their time together during a Workers'
Education Association course,
run by Local Historian Tom Beastall. In 1977/78 Rosemary was
working on a study of Education in Tickhill which was published
by the W.E.A. in 1980 (Selections of the History of Tickhill
In 2006, Rosemary felt that it would be
valuable to reproduce Kate's account to go into the newly formed
Tickhill Local History Archive. It is now reproduced on line for
even wider availability.
(Photo: Miss Kimberley outside her
house in Northgate, Tickhill)
Tickhill National School
school had between 240-250 pupils. Numbers in classes varied
between 50-60. There was a Headmaster, an Assistant Master and
two untrained Assistant Mistresses. ( Untrained meaning not
College trained, earning £60 or so per annum) However one
mistress was certified and one uncertified and known then as
Article 68's. There was usually one Pupil Teacher, all who went
from their own desk at 11 years
old to stand before the class with the Assistant Master
or Mistress and left in charge, or to take a lesson when the
Master/Mistress felt they could be left. They took their
Scholarship Exam about 17-18. If they were successful they could
then move on and take a paid job as an Article 68. All study had
to be done in the evening with a little help from the Head. If
they wished to go further they took first and then second year
Certificates, for which they had to attend some College. From
here most of them went to Richmond (undenominational) or York
(Anglican). The Student fixed their own time intervals of from
one to two years apart. Exams were usually in Vacation times. My
sister went to Knaresboro' at £45 p.a., after passing her
Scholarship at just under 18 years and from there took 1st. and
2nd. Certificate at Richmond. The youngest one went to Oxford
Place, Doncaster and took her 1st. year Certificate only and
married before she could take her 2nd. Certificate.
The first lesson of the day here, was
always R.E. We had no Assembly as such, but went straight from
lines to our place in Class. We sat at long desks, which seated
5 or 6. Mr. Dixon ( Headmaster) stood at the Screen door,
between the boys and girls rooms, and read the Collect for the
day. Then each teacher took their own Scripture Lesson or a
lesson on the Prayer Book, including the Catechism and the
The rest of the morning would be divided
between Geography, the 3 R's, with a ten minute break about 11
a.m. Lunch was 12 to 1.30 p.m.
In the afternoon, the first lesson for
girls was Needlework with Drawing for the boys, being Freehand
or Geometrical, for one hour. After this we moved into our own
classes for further lessons until 4.30 p.m.. Music was always
taken in the afternoon, at varying intervals, as in the lower
classes each teacher took her own music lesson. There was an old
piano in the Girls' room. Mr. Dixon or Mr. Greenhough usually
took the three upper classes 5,6,7 together. we all had to read
from the Modulator, a long roll in Tonic Sol Fa, about 3 octaves
long and about 3 feet wide, which could be read from one end of
the Boys' Room to the other. The note was pointed out and we had
to sing in Unison or the teacher would call upon any child to
sing the note or notes alone, or we were taught to take parts.
We were also taught to read from the Staff. We were also taught
to read and sing part songs printed in Sol Fa.
We were taught to spell and read. We were
taught the parts of speech, the Article nouns, Pronouns,
Prepositions, Conjuntions, Verbs, Adverbs, Adjectives. We were
also pressed to trace the roots of all words, if possible. We
could not be compelled as many families had no dictionary, but
we were often offered a small prize of 6d if we did it and then
called in to explain it to the rest of the class. We had to
Analyse and Parse and know all the tenses and verbs etc.
For Geography we usually took one country
for a full term. We were given a good grounding in the
Topography, the weather conditions, the chief towns, especially
any big ports and lines of communication. We had to be able to
draw freehand maps, adding names with a fine mapping pen,showing
mountain ranges and the course of the main rivers etc. We
learned by heart the lists of main rivers. As India:-Saluwen,
Bramaputra, Ganges, Mahanuddy, Godavery, Krishna, Northern
Pennar, Palar, Sth. Pennar, Taptee, Lerbuda, Lunar, Indus.
Tributaries of the Indus :- Jihlum, Chenaub, Ravee, Bees and
We learned by heart the 60 British
possessions, with their three most important exports. I cannot
repeat them now, but if their names are mentioned by any of the
media, I know what is being spoken of and many facts are
recalled. I call still repeat the names of the main rivers
around Europe and the rivers and lakes of Canada. It is often
said that learning all of these things is a waste of time, but
it was not. Having once learned them, you never see or hear
their names without many other facts returning to mind and you
know to what part of the world is being spoken or written
Much the same thing applies to Spelling and
Arithmetic Tables. In many shops the reckoning is done for you,
but in some Drapery Stores etc you might get 15 yds @ 5/11. I
would work in my head 15 X 6 = 90 s less 15 halfpence = £4 - 9 -
4 and a half. The assistant has to put down 5 - 11 and a half
fifteen times and the add it up, often getting it wrong. I have
tried to show them their mistake and they could not see it. I
once walked out of a Doncaster store over £1 to the good, after
checking with two assistants, and I knew I was right.
Arithmetic began in the Infants School with
simple addition and subtraction
and we were expected to know our tables up to 4 or 5
times. We were also taught to read and write up to 4 or 5 five
letter words and encouraged to go further, if we could, before
moving up to the "Big School" at 7 years. ( We began at three).
We continued more or less on in the Upper Shool and by Standard
3 were expected to know and use our tables up to 12 times. In
Standard 4 we were introduced to the Decimal System and taught
to work out more sums in "Vulgar Fractions". Mr Greenhough
taught us several formulae by which we could work out sums with
a minimum or workings, like:- I over P of a 100 divided by Y
(Interest over Principal) X100th divided by years
find rate per annum. I have forgotten them now. I have
never had money interests to keep me in practice. We did 10 to15
minutes Mental Arithmetic several times a week, also 10 to 15
mins Spelling, when the child who was the quickest off the mark
was often given a copper or two as a reward.
Standards 5,6,7 were often given problem
sums to work out, often quite stiff problems and woe betide you
if you could not do them, or spell correctly any word which was
throw at you, including parraffin, harassment, geneologist,
fuchsia, etiquette, pseudonim, physical and anymore ordinary
words he cared to fling out. I have done quite a bit of research
and I cannot find anyone who left school, in Mr Dixon's or Fred
Greenhough's time, and could not write their own name, or write
home to tell their parents what they were doing and where, and
they could all calculate their wages.
School leaving age was 14 for a number of
years before I left. Some of the poor were allowed to leave at
12, but they had to pass a simple exam in the 3 R's and be able
to state that they had a job to go to, or they could not obtain
a Leaving Certificate and must stay until 14 years.
There were no half-term holidays or
teachers rest days, no coffee or tea breaks and no convenience
for either. Even Mr. Dixon taught all day, except ten occasional
minutes when he left Fred in charge of the top Standards for
Music, Mental Arithmetic
or Spelling. He went one
morning per month to Doncaster to cash the Staff Pay cheque. For
this he hired a cab. There was no other way except ''Shank's
Pony'' There were no free periods for Staff or Scholars.
There were two families who walked to
school all their school days from Wellingley and Stancil Farms,
one from Galley Hill, one from ''Cookoo Hall'', one from Thieves
Nest'', one from Tickhill Folds, one from Thornbury Hill, one
from ''Red Ruins '', Rossington Road, one from Moorhouse Farm
and two from High Common. They brought dinner but there was no
means of making a drink and they were not allowed use of the
classrooms, only the lobbies with no any heating of any kind.
The classrooms only had the old tortoise
stoves, except the girl's room had a low open grate as well as
the stove, but it was only used on special occasions. Mr Dixon
kept a bottle of Friars Balsam and a bag of lump sugar in his
desk and would administer a few drops on a lump of sugar to a
child with a bad cough.
We were not allowed to suck or chew sweets,
or talk during lessons. We had to sit at our desks with our arms
folded behind our backs, unless our hands were occupied. When
writing we had to sit up straight with pen or pencil held
between right thumb and next two fingers and pen pointing over
our right shoulder. Children were never allowed to use their
left hand when right was normally used.
Mr Greenhough was a very good Naturalist
and sometimes treated us to a Nature lesson, but either Music or
Spelling were worked into it to comply with the Curriculum.
In the upper classes we were taught how to
write a letter, business and friendly and how to make out a bill
and settle it. We were taught what the National Debt was and
Inflation and that any Nation must produce value for money to
carry on. We did a little History but it was never regarded as
nearly as important as Geography or the 3 R's. The fixed day for
the Exams was done away with about 1898 and the Inspector
dropped in at any time.
Pupil Teachers were required to pass the
following subjects at the turn of the Century and into the
The 3 R's--Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmatic ,
including Algebra, Euclid and Geometry.
Drawing--freehand and geometrical.
English Grammar--Read, Spell, Parts of
Speech and their uses, Composition, Analyse and Parse a
Sentence, Roots of Words with Moods and Tenses.
French and Latin were compulsory but they
were never taught.
Music--Theory and Practice Singing straight
from the Staff and Tonic Sol Fa and at least to strike a chord
to give pitch.
Needlework (women)-- Plain and Fancy,
Pattern Drafting of Underwear and Baby wear, with simple frocks
with simple foundation patterns for themselves. They also had to
knit a sock turning and casting off a rounded toe, also how to
graft knitting together so that it did not show.
We learned part singing by singing Rounds
such as Three Blind Mice, The Five Bells of Osney and Old Chairs
to Mend. Some of the Glees we learned:- Lass of Richmond Hill,
Sweet and Low, Early one Morning and Robin Adair.
We learned Zadock the Priest and Nathan the
Prophet for Edward V11's Coronation. I think it had seven parts.
I had left school then, but I was still at home and was invited
to take part. I still have my copy somewhere.
Most of the subjects mentioned earlier had
to be passed for Matric as late as 1914 when my sister and
several girls from Tickhill School were taking theirs. One girl
was five marks short in French and was failed in spite of the
fact that she had seven Credits (better than pass) and several
Our generation, girls and boys, were taught
some Algebra but I have forgotten mine all long ago.
There were no grants of any kind except
private loans for Students in our day and no Family Allowances,
but when my Neices and Nephews came along after the 1st World
War, they could get a loan from the County Education Authority
to carry them through College. I'm not sure what it was but it
was not large and they had to work through Vacations or Parents
and other Family Members had to find them Pocket Money. The Loan
had to be paid back within their first 2 years of paid
employment. The Gt. Nephews and Neices get more in Grants than
the previous generation ever earned. I have now a Gt. Niece who
failed her first year at College on a Grant in July 1976. After
a few weeks on the Dole, at £12 per week, she got a job in one
of the London Employment Agencies as a Clerical Officer. Then as
an Executive Officer she was sent to Edinbro' University for a
Sandwich Course on £10 per day Subsistance Allowance. She is now
back in London on a Higher Grade and Salary than my Niece, who
is due to retire in April 1978 after 45 years. The whole system
is wrong. we need to get our priorities right !
The following photographs are courtesy
of Ken Kimberley
Tickhill C of E Infants’ School, Tithes
Lane, converted from a tithe barn in 1843/1844.
The school was partly demolished in 1969
and the school house on the left became a modern house.
Infant School children with Miss Gertrude
Rawson, later Mrs Walter Jarvis 1894/95
Some pupils at a small Private School at
the rear of 7/9 Castlegate in 1908.
The properties opposite are still standing
In the centre of this photograph, at the
back, two doors down from the Scarbrough Arms, was another small
Some Pupils of Dormer House School
This school was held in the schoolroom at
the rear of Tickhill Methodist Church, Northgate.
This School was held in the Schoolroom at
the rear of Tickhill Methodist Church, Northgate.