Too Cool for School…

Our school log books are a name rich resource perfect for anyone doing research into their family tree who knows their relatives either attended or worked in a school in Barking and Dagenham.

Two school log books from the collections held at Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre
Two school log books from the collections held at Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre

The log books were kept by the Head Teacher at each school and they would write dated entries. They cover attendance figures; the curriculum for each school year; medical and cleanliness inspections of the pupils and general school inspections (like our Ofsted inspections today); school holidays and days the school would close for a particular reason e.g. a royal wedding; teacher absences, appointments and resignations; meetings; staff and pupil accidents and injuries; fire and air raid drills; Empire Day celebrations; etc.

Creekmouth School Log Book
Creekmouth School Log Book (1902-1928)

The following extract is from the log book of Creekmouth School 1902 – 1928:

‘A half day’s holiday given in consequence of poor attendance when a circus pays a visit. The School closed at mid-day.’ (17 October 1902)

As this was a village school, attendance could also be affected by the pea and hop picking seasons, as well as outbreaks of diseases like scarlet fever and mumps, which spread easily amongst the close knit community.

Photograph of pupils from Creekmouth School circa. 1910
Class photograph showing pupils from Creekmouth School (circa. 1910)

Creekmouth Village formed a school for the village children in the 1870s by combining three houses into one building. In the late 1890s Barking School Board forced it to close and the children had to walk the two miles to Westbury School in Barking. After almost ten years of the village children having to walk two miles along a muddy river track twice a day to get to and from school, it was decided that Creekmouth Village really did need its own school. Creekmouth Village School was opened, in association with Lawes Chemical Company, in 1902. It was reorganised into Infant and Junior Departments in 1925. However, the School closed in 1928 due to low attendance figures.

See our catalogue for a full list of school log books held by the  Barking and Dagenham Archives and Local Studies Centre.

This item can be viewed by appointment in our Reading Room. For further information on visiting see here.

The above article was written by Kirsty Parsons, Archive Volunteer.