Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
         
Talgarth and district
Victorian school days
 
  Too poor to be photographed  
 

Some entries in school Log Books tell us as much about the home lives of Victorian children as they do about events at school. Lack of money was a big problem for many families, particularly in country districts.
This is a rather sad example which seems to show that some local parents decided to keep their children at home when the official photographer came to take pictures of the school, because they were ashamed of their children's shabby clothes. This was at Llanfilo School in 1881...

Victorian photographer
20th February
1881
School diary entry
The photograph opposite does not show the children of Llanfilo School.
It shows an unidentified school in the Llandrindod area, but is a good example of children wearing their
best clothes to have their picture taken !

20th February - "Opened School. At 11 a Photographer came to take a view of the buildings. A very thin attendance, for some of the children did not come because of this. The Worths & Jones, Trebarried all stayed away at 11, so we stood in the playground that the view might have a lively appearance. The children who were away yesterday came today. I asked them why they were so silly yesterday & it appears it was their clothes that was the drawback".

Most official photographs of Victorian school children show them dressed in their best clothes, with the girls in embroidered pinafores and the boys with fine lace collars. But many families had a struggle to find a few pennies a week to pay the school fees, and simply could not afford new clothes for the children.

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