Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llandrindod and district
Victorian school days
  No school - busy minding the cattle !  

You can learn quite a lot about everyday life in the whole community from early school Log Books, and not just about the school itself. This is a good example from Llanyre National School at Newbridge on Wye in 1879.
The teacher was writing about the numbers attending school...

21st February
School diary entry 21st February - "It has been interfered with to a small extent by fairs at Builth and Rhayader from which no amount of work or persuasion will wean certain families. These are generally "Drinking" families, where the children are required to stand by the cattle all day while the parents "have business" inside. The poor children, who generally get a thorough wetting while parents are getting little, are not in a fit state for school the rest of the week and often longer".

In Victorian times most market towns held the regular Boys minding cattlelivestock markets in one of the main streets, and cattle had to be kept in separate groups. Proper cattle markets with pens for the stock came later, and most school Log Books tell of children absent from school on market days.
Many old photographs of street livestock markets show children minding the cattle - while the farmers were "doing business", or having a few drinks - in one of the local inns. These were always very busy on market days !
You can tell that the head teacher didn't think much of the local "drinking families" who kept the children outside in all weathers when they should have been at school.

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You can see
old photographs
of street markets on other pages of this website. Use these links for examples at Builth and Newtown.
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