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Knighton and district
Victorian school days
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School Log Books or diaries often tell us about events beyond the school walls. This is from the Bleddfa National School records from 1899, and it was written after an unexpected visit from the School Inspector.
The head teacher was explaining that the results of the exams were not very good because many new children were coming and going all the time. Their fathers were working on the new aqueduct which was to carry water from the Elan Valley reservoirs to Birmingham. The route of the pipeline passed close to Bleddfa and Knighton, and as the work moved to new areas the families moved on.

You can find
more about the
Elan Valley
aqueduct on our
Rhayader pages.
Click here.
8th January
School diary entry "With regard to it, I wish to record that 14 children in the Standards [classes] left during the school year and 11 in the Standards were admitted (owing chiefly to the migratory movements of some of the work-people on the Birmingham Water-track) and many of them had only been in school a short time on the day of surprise visit"...

The huge dams and 73 mile aqueduct of the Elan Valley waterworks took many years to build. The same school Log Book has earlier comments about the children of the workers. In May 1895 the teacher writes "Four of the new boys who belong to the water-works Section of aqueduct people give a great deal of trouble about coming to school in proper time, and have to be kept in every day".
And in November 1895 he wrote "Five of the miner's children have left the place and gone to Manchester".
Long sections of the aqueduct which carried the water supply to Birmingham went through tunnels, and miners were needed for this work. The picture above shows a section of the aqueduct being built in 1898.
It seems from the teacher's comments that the school was probably glad when the people from the water-works moved away, and things got back to normal !

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