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100 years of Ayscoughfee Hall School

By Spalding Reporter

"There was at least one person who spent so much time in the naughty corner that she can still describe the wallpaper there, 75 years on."

This is a wonderful quote from a book meticulously researched and written by Lynn Green in 1995, celebrating 75 years of Ayscoughfee Hall School. You may recall I mentioned last year that I've been tasked with the job of creating a similar publication to cover the last 25 years, coinciding with the school's 100th anniversary in 2020.

I decided I really must make a start on this. Reading Lynn's book this week has been a wonderful way to immerse myself in the subject.

In the first 75 years of Spalding's independent primary school, the changes in education styles reflected the attitudes of the time and the peculiarities of each head.

Former pupils remembered the inimitable Miss Black, nicknamed Agatha Tabitha by the children, whose punishments in the 1940s and 50s included "canings, smacks with the ruler, detentions and lines" for misdemeanours such as spilling crumbs from sandwiches onto the floor.

She taught the children to swim in the Clay Hall pond, "dragging them along by means of a rope attached to a large rubber tyre. Through the bullrushes and slime they paddled with their hands and legs until they could swim independently."

To deter germs, she also carried a Flit gun, "a rusty metal spray pump containing disinfectant which was aimed at any child who coughed or sneezed."

Widespread childhood diseases were common. In the early 1960s there were outbreaks of mumps, scarlet fever and whooping cough and in 1965, of the 63 children on the roll, 22 were all off at once during a measles epidemic.

I'm intrigued to learn that horse-riding lessons were introduced in 1959, during the headship of Mrs Credland, "Creddie", whose leadership style was far more relaxed. No more uniforms, the photographs of that era display the full splendour of 60s and 70s fashions.

When Mr Sivil took over in 1981 he smartened the school up, purchased books and immediately stopped Creddie's Friday lunchtime whole school fish and chip order as too much time was wasted collecting money and the smell pervaded the premises.

Mr Chittick, his successor, supervised the massive logistics of the move from Church Street to the current location of Welland Hall on London Road in 1993.

So what tales are there to tell from the last 25 years? I'm hoping past pupils, parents and teachers can help me with this. What stories can you share of your experience with the school? I would like to include sports success, drama, music, residential trips and links with the community. Maybe you have some photographs I could use?

Sally Chester, deputy head, is still keen to hear from Old Ayscoughfians who would like to maintain links with the school and receive a regular newsletter. If you email her with any information you feel would be useful to me for the book, she will pass this on to me. Email her: SChester@ahs.me.uk

You can read Trish's blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk


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