Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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Not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations

Those who had not returned from the war were remembered in the midst of rejoicing.


The Sunday School

The Peace-time Picnic was greatly enjoyed at Beacon Hill, on Wednesday, 13th August. The day was very fine – the sun’s rays being tempered with a delightful breeze, and the sylvan beauties of the park with the glorious views from the downs were never before seen in such perfection by the majority of those present.

The last School Picnic at Highclere was held in July 1914 – almost on the eve of the great world tragedy of August 4th of that year – and not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations. We bow our heads in reverent remembrance of them, and thank God for those who have been spared and have been enabled to take up their work again.

The work on this occasion was indeed joyous, as load after load of happy people of all ages, but mostly young, were discharged on the soft turf from the motor lorries provided by Messrs. Pass & Co. Three journeys were made each way, the first company starting at 1 o’clock and the last at 3.45 from the Lecture Hall and the return journeys were made, the first at 6.30 and the last at 9.15, thus giving all a fair average of time at the Hill.

The all important function of tea was celebrated on the slopes near the Lodge at 4.30. Mrs. F.C. Hopson and a willing band of helpers catered for the hungry throng, 300 strong, while Mr Henry Marshall eclipsed all his past efforts by the splendid brew he produced. All were unanimous in saying that the tea was an unqualified success. After the tea, sports and games, under the direction of Mr. H. Allen and Mr. Spalding, held in the field, and the first hoot of the lorry’s siren sounded all too soon.

The whole of the arrangements worked perfectly under the direction of the Superintendents of the School, and the result was a day of pure and unalloyed enjoyment. Mention must be made of the kind assistance rendered by Mr. Harris, who in the absence of our newly elected Minister, officiated at the tea, also of the numerous friends in the congregation who contributed so liberally towards the expenses, and are hereby tendered the grateful thanks of the Officers and Teachers.

It may be interesting to shew by way of contrast the cost of a pre-war picnic at Beacon Hill with that of a post-war expenditure for practically the same number.

1914
£ S d
Total expenditure 16 15 1

Less Tea and Rail Fares 3 4 6
Paid for by 43 friends at
1s 6d each
Net Cost £13 11s 7d

1919
£ S d
Total expenditure 17 17 8 ½

RECEIPTS

Balance previous treats 17 0
Contributions 11 3 9 ½
Provisions sold 1 9 2 ½ 13 10 0

Balance Due to Treas. £4 7s 8 ½ d

The cost of transit was the most expensive item this year owing to 50% increase of railway fares and the unsuitable times of the trains an expenditure of £9 had to be incurred for motor lorries. Leaving this item out of the account the other expenses work out to even less than the pre-war picnic.

The cost of tea, including the boiling of water and hire of crockery, was about 5⅓d. per head, inclusive of teachers and helpers – a wonderful result, which, in these days of high prices, reflects great credit on Mrs. F. C. Hopson and those helping her.

The Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, September 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

The children must not be disappointed in this, their first outing after the war

Life was returning to normal for Berkshire’s children.

Sunday School Treat

The teachers are hoping to give the children a special treat this year, the first since 1914. The deacons were approached with reference to a special collection being taken up for this purpose, but it was eventually decided to place envelopes in the pews on the last Sunday in July, thus giving all who would like an opportunity of contributing towards the cost.
It is hoped a good amount will be raised so that the children may not be disappointed in this, their first outing after the war.

The Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1)

There is a new spirit amongst our young people

An elderly nonconformist clergyman had hope for the post war world and the new generation.

The Gates of Youth, By Rev. Monro Gibson, M.A., LL.D.

I am now about as far away from the gates of Youth as any one in this world can well be, but the remarkable thing is that the father I go from them, the increasing distance, instead of making them look smaller, makes them seem larger and ever larger – so much so that in my old age I confess to a great and increasing longing to help my young friends to see what a glorious, magnificent life which is opening before them.

The adventure of life begins with the dawn of personal responsibility. In childhood we are in a garden, a Garden of Eden, let us say, sheltered, secluded, happy in its limitations; but sooner or later the gates of Eden open outwards, and the world is all before us with its continents and islands, its seas and oceans, its illimitable possibilities; its fearful risks on the one hand, its great reaches on the other.

Difference between Men and Animals

Herein lies the immense difference between the life of man and that of lower animals. They have each their limits imposed on them by nature. In every case there is growth along certain fixed lines, and up to certain fixed limits; but in no case is there any possibility of a development at all corresponding to that of the boy into a Shakespeare or a Newton, or the girl into a Florence Nightingale or a Catherine Booth; and that altogether irrespective of the infinities and eternities which lie beyond. On the other hand, there is no peril corresponding to that which may transform a noble youth into a Judas or a Kaiser or a sot.

These things being so, there is call for the most earnest thought in passing through these fateful Gates. It will not do simply to yield to the impulse of the moment as if it did not matter much how you set out or what you were aiming at. I do think, however, that there are some warnings which, though very much needed four years ago, are not called for now. For there is a new spirit amongst our young people. There has been a high summons to whole-souled devotion to a great cause, and to that summons there has been a noble response, so that I believe there are very few young men or young women either, who would be willing now to welcome a life of self-indulgence or pleasure-seeking or easy-going mediocracy; and those who would still prefer that kind of thing are too far down to be likely to be reached by any high appeal. The great majority now, I am sure, demand the strenuous life, the life of active service with something in it of adventure or peril, calling for courage, resourcefulness, sacrifice if need be. The cricket pitch and the golf course, the dance and the supper party may still find a corner in life but only a corner. Surely the feeling now is practically universal that to put one’s life into any such things as these is despicable in the last degree. How encouraging it is to find that when there is a call for volunteers to an enterprise which means almost certain death, like the attack ion Zeebrugge or the final Voyage of The Vindictive, every one is not only ready but is disappointed if he cannot be accepted.

A New World

You may say: It is the War that has done this, and we are all very glad that it has come to an end. Yes: but is there any reason why the spirit the War has called forth should come to an end with it? By no means. We are constantly reminded that it is a new world we are entering into, with greater opportunities, nobler prospects and more difficult problems that we have ever known; and there will be a new call for the exercise of all the noblest faculties the War has evoked, and for many others for which even its multiplied demands have not afforded scope and opportunity. Surely it is not without significance that a man who represents so large and in many respects so unpromising a constituency as H. G. Wells has done should even passionately urge the claims of the Kingdom of God upon the service of us all, and especially of our young people who will be the chief agents in the new developments before us. We have all along had before s the call to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” to make that the great ambition of our lives; but so far it has kindled the souls of only a very small minority. May it not now “catch on,” to use the common phrase, and gather itself the patriotism, the enthusiasm, the devotion, courage and self-sacrifice of the generation now coming on the scene.

Moreover, we are now apparently entering on a new era of democracy whose success will depend not on a small number of super-men or heroes of the Nietschean or Carlylean type to subdue the masses to their will; but on the people, each with his share of responsibility, every one with his full share of opportunity, with education that will open up fields of service to every variety of talent, and with institutions that will give full scope for its exercise. Even as things have been in the world, our young people have had much encouragement to put forth every effort in the beginning of life to train their powers for usefulness; but it is more worth while now than ever it was before. In the old Book of Proverbs it is written, “A man’s gift maketh room for him.” True now in a fuller sense than when the wise man wrote it down, it will still be more so in the days that are coming. Therefore I would congratulate our young people especially on the prospect before them, entering on life in times like these which are more full of portent and of promise than even those of which the poet Wordsworth wrote:

“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven.”

It is indeed true as it always was, that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life”; but now that there is this new spirit in the land for enduring hardness, for concentration of energy, for ventures of faith and courage, and now that the life which is set before us, which and full as it has always been, promises to be richer and fuller than ever, we may hope that it will no longer be true that “few there be that find it,” but that multitudes of our young people, young men and young women, will press through the gates into the new life.

Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, May 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

We have passed through dark days, and darker still may be the days to come

The post-war picture was gloomy.

Visit of the Rev. Dr. Selbie.

When, owing to the Railway Strike, Dr. Selbie was unable to be present at the Pastor’s Recognition Service, he promised to come to us in the New Year. Thus it was, that on Sunday, March 16th, we had the great privilege of listening to him.

The sermon in the morning was based upon Haggai ii, 9- “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former.” It was, said the doctor, a sermon on Reconstruction. The Jews had returned from their long captivity to find Jerusalem a ruin, and their land in the hands of aliens. Under the leadership of Nehemiah and others, they set to work and first built the temple and restored the worship of Jehovah. The people had a mind to work and their first work was that of spiritual reconstruction.

We are living in tremendous times, far more so than most of us realised. We have passed through long years of terrible war and terrible loss. The work of reconstruction lay before us. Were we prepared to undertake the work? More important still, was the temple of God to be the first consideration? With 90 per cent of our population non-Christian, how could this be? We have passed through dark days, and darker still may be the days to come. But the Christian is essentially an optimist. God’s will must be done, if not by us then by some other hands. To us, as to the ancient Jews, comes the assurance that “the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former.

There was a prophetic power in the doctor’s utterances. His picture of the present time was dark, his condemnation of much which passes for Christianity severe, but above all was the assurance of the love of God, and of the ultimate victory of righteousness over evil.

Thatcham Congregational Church section of Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, May 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

Until such time as Mr Hunt returns from Military Service

It was expected that soldiers would soon be demobilised and able to return to civilian jobs.

Dec: 16th
Bessie East, pupil teacher formerly attached to St Mark’s School, Cold Ash, has been transferred here until such time as Mr Hunt returns from Military Service.

Thatcham CE School log book (C/EL53/4)

Some return to school, some don’t

Flu was beginning to lessen – in some places.

Thatcham
Dec 2nd

Several of the children who have been away suffering from influenza have returned to school this morning.

Clewer
Dec. 2nd

Miss Green who was expected to commence duties today is unable to start owing to Influenza.

Reading
2/12/1918

Mrs Guppy will be absent from school for a fortnight in consequence of her husband being on leave. She has provided a substitute.


Log books of Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2); Coley Street Primary School Reading (89/SCH/48/4)

A few cases of Spanish influenza

Flu hits more areas.

Newbury
29/10/18

School re-opened this morning after mid-term holiday. Only 29 were present out of 41. Several children are away through ‘influenza’ and another child is excluded through measles in the house. Notice has just been received that the schools will be closed until Nov 11th owing to the outbreak of influenza.

East Ilsley
29th October 1918

Religious instruction deferred to last period + registers closed at 9.5 to let elder children start early for blackberries.

Beedon
October 29th

Blackberry gathering in the afternoon.

Thatcham
Oct. 29th

Attendance very poor this afternoon as … there are … a few cases of Spanish influenza.

Speenhamland
Oct 29th

School closed because of Influenza.

Bradfield
Oct. 29th

Only 31 children were in attendance today owing to colds and fear of the influenza.

Clewer
Oct. 29th

School closed owing to the prevalence of Influenza.

Log books of St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury (N/ES 7/1); East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1); Beedon CE School (C/EL55/1); Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Dr Watney’s School, Bradfield (C/EL10/2); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2)

For the duration of the war

The harvest was over.

Thatcham
October 4th 1918

The children were taken to gather blackberries. This will be the last time this season – 2 tons 9 cwt 1lb of fruit have been sent away.

Braywick
4th October 1918

Two half days were granted this week for picking berries and the girls got quite a nice supply.

Little Coxwell
Oct 4th

The children are going out to pick blackberrying [sic] for the last time. Registers not marked in the afternoon.

Hurst
4th October 1918

The school managers having given permission, the Education Committee has transferred me to the Three Mile Cross Council School for the duration of the war and Mrs Darlington has been appointed to take charge of this school during my absence.

Chilton
October 4th

A holiday given all day for the children to gather blackberries.

Log books of Francis Baily Primary School, Thatcham (90/SCH/15/1, p. 49); Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4, p. 205); Hurst C of E Boys School (D/P73/28/23, p. 38); Little Coxwell CE School (C/EL80); Chilton CE School (D/P36/25/1)

£6.9.9 in payment for blackberries

East Ilsley
23rd September 1918

Black-berry picking

Thatcham
Sep: 23rd

Received £6.9.9 in payment for blackberries picked last week. This was paid out as before.

Little Coxwell
Sept. 23rd

Registers not marked in the afternoon as the children went blackberrying.

Hampstead Norreys
23rd Sep.

We have closed school for the afternoon for blackberrying.

Log books of East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1, p. 487); Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); Little Coxwell CE School (C/EL80); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

From the Front to a football match

Some teachers were less enthusiastic than others about letting youngsters spend time picking berries and helping farmers, while soldiers on leave returned to their old school to play current pupils at football.

Windsor
20th September 1918

Eight old boys who are serving in His Majesty’s Forces visited the school this morning and assisted by three of the present scholars played a football match with the school team, the old boys winning by 4 goals to 2.

Braywick
20th September 1918

The classes went for berries on two fine afternoons, on Wednesday and Friday. The results of the pickings are very satisfactory.

Thatcham
Sep: 20th

Registers not marked this afternoon – blackberrying. 198 lbs sent in, making a total for the week of 519 lbs.

Sandhurst
September 20th 1918

Half holiday for blackberry picking. 297 lbs. sent.

Buscot
Sept. 20

Older children went blackberrying in the afternoon; 85 ½ lbs gathered.


Log books:

Hampstead Norreys
1918
20th Sep

The children this week have again been busy picking blackberries. The weather has been very changeable, and we have had to catch an hour or two whenever we could, so that in several cases we have been unable to send the children straightaway, having had to keep them until the blackberries dried. In these cases we marked registers.

We weighed out & paid for 479 lbs of blackberries during the week.

In the limited school time at our disposal we have mostly kept up the Reading Writing and Arithmetic.

Speenhamland
1918
Sept 20th

Attendance poor; four of St VI gone to pick up potatoes for Mr Whitington [sic] – they seem to have got permission from the Authority – Cecil Bishop has also got permission. I do not think this should be.

The school was closed on Tuesday afternoon for the children to gather blackberries but they got very few – only 190 lbs; we shall not go again.

Some of the girls took wood away from Mrs Farquhar’s property, and she wrote an indignant letter to the Vicar and another to myself. I wrote to her, and expressed regret.

Buscot
Sept. 20

Older children went blackberrying in the afternoon; 85 ½ lbs gathered.

Thatcham
Sep: 20th
Registers not marked this afternoon – blackberrying. 198 lbs sent in, making a total for the week of 519 lbs.


Log books of Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School log book (C/EL72/3, p. 193); Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4, p. 204); Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL/66/1, p. 448); Buscot CE School (C/EL73/2); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2);St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Buscot CE School (C/EL73/2)
; Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4)

Blackberrying

Sep: 19th
Registers not marked this afternoon – blackberrying. Total sent in 321 lbs.

Thatcham CE School log book (C/EL53/4)

Sent off by the evening train

Children collected wild blackberries for jam to help oombat food shortages.

Thatcham
1918
Sep: 16th

Money earned by children picking blackberries received, £5.11.3. This was divided amongst the children according to the number of pounds each had picked.

Goosey
September 16th 1918

The children of classes I and II will be taken out for the purpose of gathering black berries for M.O.F during the school sessions in not more than three half days per week.

Aldermaston
16th September 1918

The children on three half days each week when fine will go under teachers supervision to pick blackberries for Ministry of Food. Half holiday to pick blackberries, 56lbs picked and sent off by evening train.

Lower Sandhurst
September 16th 1918

The children gathered 215 lbs. of blackberries after school this afternoon.

Datchet
16 September 1918

Blackberrying.

Log books: Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); Goosey CE School (C/EL89/1, p. 169); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL/66/1, p. 447); Datchet National Mixed School (SCH30/8/3, p. 406); and Aldermaston School (88/SCH/3/3, pp. 93-94)

Blackberrying

Schoolchildren were set to pick wild berries to make jam for the troops.

Datchet
9 September 1918

According to instructions, the children have gone blackberrying this afternoon.

Thatcham
September 9th 1918

The children were taken to gather blackberries on the afternoon of Monday and Wednesday.

Cookham Rise
9/9/18

School closed for the purpose of gathering blackberries.

Log books of Francis Baily Primary School, Thatcham (90/SCH/15/1, p. 48); Datchet National Mixed School (SCH30/8/3, p. 406); Cookham Rise County Primary School log book (C/EL71)

Death of a brother

A teacher’s brother was killed.

July 19th 1918

Miss Peters has been absent this week on account of the death of her brother.

Log book of Francis Baily Primary School, Thatcham (90/SCH/15/1, p. 48)