Archive for the ‘Peploe’ Category

Mr Peploe

Old photo

Photo of schoolchildren with Mr Peploe c.1910

Roy Iremonger gave the first History Group talk of the year, on the subject of Mr Peploe, the headmaster of Dallington School for many years. As usual, Roy was entertaining and informative.

William James Peploe was born 1859 in Stourbridge, Worcestershire and went to school in Wolverhampton where he became a pupil/teacher. In 1884, he and his sister Marianne came to Dallington in 1884 where both were to remain for the rest of their lives. Many years later he wrote his memoirs, from which Karen Bryant-Mole drew (in her book “Dallington, Six Miles from Everywhere”) for this description of their first 24 hours:

“He and his sister lodged with a Miss Gosling, although he did not say which Miss Gosling. He found his hostess and her home cold and inhospitable. Miss Gosling was a pious woman, with an unwelcoming demeanour and a fondness for lengthy prayers. When Mr Peploe and his sister came downstairs on their first evening Miss Gosling pronounced grace in a sepulchral voice, before showing them into a sitting room warmed by a fire containing a single stick of wood. At about 9pm a tray containing two bits of bread and cheese, two glasses and a bottle of water were brought in and the guests were gravely informed that supper was ready.” Mr Peploe was later to recall: ‘The thought of it makes me shudder to this day.’ They attended church the next morning. They were stared at as if they were “a pair of menagerie animals.” No one came forward to greet them or welcome them.  After a dinner of cold beef and cold potatoes they attended the afternoon service when, again, no one spoke to them. Mr Peploe described these first 24 hours as the most miserable of his life.”

Fortunately things seemed to have improved after that, and Mr Peploe went on to serve as head teacher at Dallington from 1884 until 1923 during which time he never took a day off with sickness. For most of that period, the School was located in what is now the village hall (though still known as the Old School) and it is hard to imagine the building having 78 children in the mixed department and 21 infant children in the adjoining room. A new school was eventually built further up The Street, opening  in January 1914 and Mr Peploe remained as head until his retirement in 1923. On his retirement he received a gold watch from his sporting friends; a gold chain from his school children and £61 from the parishioners. He died in October 1931.  He appears to have been a much admired if opinionated and sometimes interfering figure in the village life. You can find much more information and quotations from Mr Peploe and local residents and newpaper articles in Roy’s notes for the talk, which he has kindly allowed me to share here. Iremonger Mr Peploe talk March 2018


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