Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanfyllin and district
Victorian school days
  When the jobs went, the children went too  
Drawing by
Rob Davies

Though most of the entries in Victorian school Log Books are to do with the day to day work of the school, they can often also tell us about events in the whole community.
When a local industry was in trouble whole families were often forced to move to follow available jobs. These entries from the Log Book of Pennant School record the fate of the local lead mines. When they were not doing well, many miners moved to the coalfields of South Wales, which were busy supplying the rapidly growing factories of the Industrial Revolution.

Mine closed sign
School diary entry "Many of the children are leaving this neighbourhood for South Wales. Six left School this week".
19th June
School diary entry "The falling off in numbers is caused by the failure of Lead Mines and not by the fault of anyone connected with Pennalt School".
11th June
School diary entry "The late severe weather, sickness, and the continual stoppage of the neighbouring lead mines, have reduced the number of children to a very low ebb..."
1st June
School diary entry "In consequence of the failure of lead mining in the neighbourhood, this school continues to be very small..."
23rd June
School diary entry "In consequence of the closing of the Lead Mines, this school is reduced to a very small number"

The well known Van Mines near Llanidloes and Dylife Mines near Machynlleth were very productive and employed large numbers of miners in the 1860's and 1870's.
But there were many smaller lead mines, including those mentioned above in the Pennant School Log Books, to the north-west of Llanfyllin. The jobs they provided were vital for the local people. Like all the lead mines in the county they had good and bad times, but most had closed by 1896 because they could not compete with cheaper foreign imports.

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