Who remembers Glynde School in East Sussex? The school was open from around 1862-1965, and this captivating old photograph shows a selection of 19th century students and teachers

Words: Lyndsey Tydeman

It must have been no mean feat to corral the children of Glynde School into the playground long enough for this photograph to be taken, probably in the mid to late 1880s (ref ACC7793/4/51).

READ MORE: 5 new books by Sussex authors to add to your reading list

We can all recognise the three wags at the back and feel something for the bewildered infants at the front. The teachers, however, corseted, pinned and stoically professional, are less easy to read.

SUBSCRIBE: To Sussex Life magazine for the very best of the county - from food and drink to art and interiors

A glimpse into the school log books, held at The Keep (ref ESC76/1), reveals that being a ‘mistress’ was not easy. The main problem was attendance; it was consistently poor. Rain always kept children away, they might be taken out to work locally, and both boys and girls would be ‘needed at home’.
When local ‘club’ days occurred in nearby villages, or the Lewes Fireworks or Sheep Fair was imminent, numbers would be so reduced that the teacher would sometimes have to dismiss the class.

READ MORE: 5 rainy day activities in Sussex

All this had its effect on the children’s learning. Inspection reports in the book show that the teachers were subjected to the criticism of the vicar, school inspectors and Lord and Lady Brand on their regular visits. It was natural, then, for irritation to be committed to the log book.
The first class in June 1881 were ‘a dull set of children’ and one particular boy, ‘a tiresome child’. ‘Dull’ and ‘tiresome’; mild words to us but probably the culmination of many days of classroom frustration.

This photo is courtesy of The Keep, which manages and conserves the records of its three managing partners: The East Sussex Record Office, The University of Sussex Special Collections and the Royal Pavilion and Museums Local History Collections. thekeep/info