Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Brecon and district
Victorian school days
  Parents thrown out of employment
  Although the official Log Books of Victorian schools are mostly concerned with daily events within the school itself, they can sometimes also tell us what was happening in the surrounding district at different times.
The first example here is from Llanfrynach School in 1891...
Prejudicial - having a bad effect.
22nd December
School diary entry "Several families have left the district, some attracted by the higher wages of the mining districts, and others through being thrown out of employment by the substitution of pasture for tillage on a large farm in the parish".
  This mentions changes in local job prospects in industry and in agriculture. The mining districts that these families moved to were the coalfields of south Wales.
The "substitution of pasture for tillage" means that fields which used to be available for grazing animals had been given over to growing crops, and local farmworkers lost their jobs as a result.
The next entry is from the diary of Nantddu School in 1899...
Victorian mine
24th February
School diary entry "Owing to the completion of the Cardiff Waterworks the families are leaving the parish, which is very prejudicial to the interests of the school, nine children have left during the past quarter".

With the huge expansion of mass-production in the Victorian years, the populations of industrial cities like Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff grew rapidly as people arrived in search of jobs.
Good clean water supplies were needed to avoid disease in crowded slums, and labourers were hired in large numbers during the building of dams and reservoirs. Their children went to local schools until they had to move with their parents to the next job.

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For more about large Victorian waterworks projects in Powys see our pages on the
Elan Valley dams (water for Birmingham) and on
Lake Vyrnwy (water for Liverpool).
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