Archive for the ‘Old School’ Category

After the mobile library service closed down, members of the Dallington Old School village hall committee decided to start up a weekly community library cafe to fill the gap. (You can read more about this here https://dallington.org.uk/village-hall/)

Photo of 1921 loans book

A little while later, when clearing out a cupboard in the Snooker Room which had been badly affected by damp in the past due to an old leak in the ceiling, we found a small collection of books almost entirely covered in mould and some of which had also been nibbled by mice (or very large bookworms). We knew that the hall had once served as a Reading Room, and were delighted to find a small note book which had clearly been used to record book loans in 1921. I took it home to try to clean it up – a few days in the freezer to kill the mould spores, and a careful wipe with a cloth, and I was able to photograph all the pages to enable us to do some further research.

I was intending to give a talk for the Local History society about what I’d found out about the regular borrowers and what they were reading in 1921, but that was cancelled due to Covid. So as part of this year’s National Village Halls Week, which is celebrating 100 years of village halls, I thought I’d post a very short introduction to the Reading Room and what our forebears were reading 100 years ago. You can read it here

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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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These photos were sent in by Ann.

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