Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Newtown and district
Victorian school days
  The desks were covered with snow  

Conditions for the teachers and children in Victorian schools were often very hard. Many official school Log Books tell of freezing classrooms in the winter, particularly in the more remote village schools high in the hills.
But it could also be tough in the towns, as seen in the records of Newtown National School in the winter of 1881...

21st January
School diary entry 21st January -
"Weather intensely cold.
In spite of having fires
in every room it was
too cold for children
to work ..."
Drawing by
Rob Davies

"... On Wednesday morning the desks were covered with snow which had been driven in through the roof and as the school was totally unfit for the school children..."

Just one week later things were not much better at the school...
28th January - "Another bitterly cold week though a thaw has set in...

Snow covered desks
28th January
School diary entry "Very little work done as the children are incapable of holding the pen to write in their benumbed fingers and the ink is frozen into a solid mass..."

The Log Book of Betws Cedewain School, in the winter of 1895, noted that "Several of the children suffering from chilblains and unable to put their boots on".
Children often had to walk miles to school over rough country tracks, and strong boots were essential. If they couldn't wear their boots they could not get to school.
Times have changed !

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