December 30, 2018|

Mrs Selby and Mrs Gamblin

Mrs Selby is 91 years old this year, she came to Wickham in 1913.

Mrs Gamblin was born in Wickham in 1905 – went to Wickham School when she was four years old, as she already had a brother at the school.

Wickham School was known as the Little School and the Big School. The children liked school very much. They went to school when they were five years old and left at fourteen years old. Thay had Prayers everyday and were taught Scripture, Sums, History, Geography, Grammar and English. Twice a week Miss King came to teach them Knitting and Needlework. Miss King lived in the Square and was known to the girls as “Swishes King” because she wore silk petticoats. She liked the girls to curtsey when they met her.

The School had a Head Master and Assistant Head and one Mistress for the older children and the Little School had two Mistresses. One Mistress, a Miss Pink road a bike from Curdridge everyday. In 1927 Miss Warren was in charge of the infants and later became the headmistress.

The School was governed by the School Managers, who were looked on as important people. The Rev. Duke used to come and take Prayers once a week. The classrooms were heated by coke “Tortoise Stoves” in the middle of the room. There were cloakrooms for each class, and a small sink where the children washed. The Sanitation was buckets.

An important day each year was Empire Day, children were marched to the Square carrying paper Union Jacks. Here they sang, recited and played charades. They were given ice cream, nuns and oranges. They had two weeks holiday at Easter, a month in Summer to pick Strawberries, and two weeks in September for Blackberry picking.

The School hours were from 9-12 and 1.30-4pm. Some of the children walked great distances. The children living at Turkey Island used to walk to Wickham School, but they now go to Shedfield School.

The children were medically examined by a Doctor who came from Winchester twice a year. If the children were naughty, they were caned on the hand. The discipline was good in the school.

For good attendance during the year, two or three children received free boots from Mr.Clark in the Square.

Pupils left school at 14 years old, and the boys went on the land, and the girls went into service. Few children received pocket money – Mrs Gamblin remembers getting ¼d (a farthing) sometimes, which she spent at Mrs Stubbs shop on a stick of liquorice. Mrs Stubbs also sold cakes, bread and was a general store. Mr Froud now works in her shop. Mrs Welch had a sweet shop in Bridge Street – if humbugs were overweight she bit a piece off…

Mr H Bailey’s grandfather, Mr Churcher, delivered “Best Coal” at 1 shilling and nine pence a cwt and “Second Grade” at 1 shilling and 6 pence a cwt. Mrs Selby’s daughter was a Wren in the last war at HMS Collingwood and cycled there every day and when wet she came back to Wickham by train. She paid 2d for her fare and 5d for her bicycle. The school children went to St. Nicholas Church on – Easter Day, Good Friday and Ascension Day from school.

From the WHS Archives 1972

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