‘Thank you for showing us round the museum.
I liked the school because I like doing sums.
We wrote with the chalk on a little board.’
One of the popular places in the Museum for young children is the Schoolroom. Here they can sit with chalk and slates at old multiple wooden desks, in front of a blackboard and a high teacher’s desk.
They enjoy learning about schools in Victorian times, writing and drawing on the slates, or ‘playing school’, acting as teacher to their parents. Surrounded by educational artefacts from all over the dale, the atmosphere in the Schoolroom is surprisingly authentic.
The desks came from the schools at Greenhow, Fellbeck and Lofthouse, and the teacher’s desk was formerly in Shaw Mills Sunday School, while the chair came from Bewerley School, later known as Bridgehousegate.
The coloured globe belonged to the Pateley Bridge Board School and the black one is believed to be that mentioned in the Glasshouses School Log Book of 1865. There are books on the shelves, a mock ‘dunce’s hat’, and in the display cases various examples of work done by children in the past. For example, needlework was an important part of the girls’ curriculum and a case includes two small sample garments made in the 1840s to teach the methods of shirts and nightdresses.
In the archives we have the Log Book of Pateley Board School where it is noted that, in September 1882, sixteen boys were ‘away pig-driving, coals leading, truant playing, etc’. You couldn’t do that nowadays!