Posted by Peter Lester at 17/11/2014 15:28:32
Blidworth Church School was built in 1847 for £1600 with money raised by subscription. It could hold 200 pupils. This photograph was taken around 1923 by the Education Committee as part of a pictorial survey of village school buildings in the county after the First World War. Although some pictures already existed and continued to be used, where there was no record, a photographer was dispatched to take what he could. The BSA motorcycle in front of the building was his mode of transport and it appears in several of the pictures taken around that time. It was registered to a Mr Chapman of the Education Committee and it seems likely that he was also the photographer.
By the middle of the 1920s, a good number of schools had been visited. In some cases, the resultant photograph was a poor guide, a shot taken over a wall from the road (perhaps when the building was closed and no better viewpoint could be obtained). In other instances, all the pupils were assembled in front of the school to be included in the picture. Elsewhere, the motorcycle seems to attract the attention of the children who are pictured gathered around it whilst the photographer does his work.
All the pictures were mounted and named and formed a pictorial survey of county schools and one which was still in current use until at least 1977 when, following local government reorganisation, it was pruned to just the buildings that remained open at that point. The ones that were removed were sent to the Archives and the two parts were only recently reunited into a complete series once again when the office received a second deposit. Together, they provide a fascinating insight into rural education as it was at that time. From original charity schools based in rooms at the village manor house to purpose-built, company-funded new buildings erected by collieries to house the influx of workers' children the mines brought to small villages, education is shown in a constant state of change, with new provision being considered and existing buildings extended. Mr Chapman can hardly have imagined that the product of his motorcycle trips to the furthest points of the county would retain such an interest to historians so many years later.
The whole of the photographic survey is available on the web site www.picturethepast.org