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The village school, Goodleigh 2014

The Village School in Goodleigh

©Richard J. Brine


Written by an unknown teacher for a book published by the W.I in 1993 :


"In 1950, Goodleigh School had very few of the mod cons that are taken for granted nowadays. There was no mains water, so no flush toilets, only the bucket variety, which were very smelly, particularly in summer. Water for drinking had to be fetched each day from the village well. The bigger boys took it in turns to take the water bucket down then carry it back up the hill between them.


One hot July afternoon, one of His Majesty's Inspectors arrived; the Headmistress, Miss Claye, asked him if there was anything she could get him. "I should love a glass of water" was the reply. "I'm afraid that is the one thing I can't give you," Miss Claye said, "but I'll send the boys down to the well." Off went two of the boys with the bucket, and in due course the thirsty HMI got his drink of water.


The other mod con that hadn't reached Goodleigh in 1950 was electricity. This meant that on a dark winter's afternoon, activities such as  reading and writing had to come to a halt well before home-time. The art of storytelling (as opposed to story-reading) came into its own. I have happy memories of many a winter's afternoon sitting around the fire ( yes - a real fire!) for a long session of stories poems and songs.


The most magical time was Christmas, when we had  our concert. The infants' end of the school was  transformed with a real stage. The performance was in the evening, so that all the relations and friends could attend. Miss Claye and I arrived first, and the school was, of course, in pitch darkness. Then one by one, the families began to arrive, each father with his storm lantern, which he hung on one of the waiting nails on   the schoolroom wall. By the time everyone had arrived, the whole room was glittering with the lights of all the lanterns.


But at last the day came - sad or happy, I'm not sure which - when electricity came to Goodleigh. Miss Claye decided that we should have a little ceremony to mark the occasion. She chose Jimmy Balsdon, the youngest child in the school, to switch on the first light, It was the one in the entrance porch, and the switch was high up. A little nervously he pressed the switch down. Then for the first time in his life, he saw electric light. He looked down at me, his face shining with delight, then said: "Tez like moonshine, Miss.""



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