Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Builth and district
Victorian school days
  Helping with the hay  
Drawing by
Rob Davies
One of the most common reasons for Victorian children being away from school in country districts was helping out with seasonal jobs on the farm.
Summer haymaking usually took away the largest number, and most country schools tried to arrange the summer break, often called the 'harvest holidays', to suit this work on the farms.
The entry below was made in the Log Book of Llanganten Board School in August 1880, just before the holidays -
Boys haymaking
13th August
School diary entry
Powys County Archives

August 13th - "The attendance this week has been low, several children being away from school, helping with the hay".

Llandewi'r Cwm School reopened at the end of August 1892 after the holiday, when there were "Not any children present" !

In Victorian times some farm jobs needed large numbers of people, including children, to help. Today, huge machines used on the farms can do the same work in a fraction of the time.
There were many other jobs for the children to do in the old days, though, apart from the harvest. Other school records refer to absences due to 'sheep washing', potato lifting, and helping to collect tree bark for tanning leather.

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