St Michael's School HISTORY
When Was St Michael's School Built?
The School was the first ever school built in Aylsham and was originally built in 1517 but was then demolished and rebuilt in 1792. So the first building stood for 275 years and the second 225 years! Altogether the school has stood for a total of 500 years as of 2017. For a majority of this time, Bure Valley School was just a plot of farmland. Consequently, St Michael's School was the only school in Aylsham for a the same amount of time. John Of Gaunt wasn't even built until 1977 and became John Of Gaunt Infant and Nursery School in 2001.
What did they have?
- Unlike some other schools, St Michaels School had a school dentist which gave them check-ups.
- Because the school had no water, they had to go to the water pump, put the water in a cart and take it back to the school.
- The children collected OXO coupons to send away for a football (or possibly other things too) so that they had another game to play.
- During the war lots of children were evacuated to Aylsham from London where it was too dangerous to be. Unfortunately there weren't always enough classrooms for every child in Aylsham and the evacuees so they had to be taught in other places.
- They had outside toilets, which were emptied every night by the staff ready for the next day.
St Michael School had (and still has) class photos - pupil photos too:
Memories From The Past: Playing For a Break
According to recordings of people who used to go to school at St Michael's, because they had very small playgrounds (there was a wall separating the girls from the boys also halving the playground, go to 'Extra Facts' to find out more) they occasionally went to the Recreation Ground. It took half an hour to walk there. Some of the favourite activities for playing included: playing hide and seek (hollow trees were popular hiding spaces); tree climbing and generally messing around with the trees, Rounders, Football and skipping.
Where Did They Go Afterwards?
After going to St Michaels the girls would most likely go to one school and the boys to another. They were called, 'Paston School (for boys) and 'North Walsham High School (for girls). There was a third private school that was not in Aylsham and instead on Cawston Road called 'The Beaches'. If you didn't go to another school, then you took up a job at 16 years old or got an apprenticeship.
- Cooking Lessons
One lesson, which we don't have today, is cooking lessons! They also bought their own food in. They generally cooked simple things but it probably became more difficult as they got older. Do you wish we still had cooking lessons today?
- Attendance Awards
The school gave attendance awards. Two of them from 1908- 9 for the boys side and another in 1916-17 for the girls side are below. We think that the boys' certificate looked like it was 'made' for girls and vice versa.
- Boys V Girls
Because of certain thinking back in the earlier times of St Michaels, the boys were separated from the girls. There was a big wall slicing through the whole school including the playground. This caused them to have a smaller playground each. This also meant that they had different curriculums and were given stereotypical tasks.