The following appears to be extracts from daily records written by the headmaster of Kingswear Primary School.  They come from a roll of paper found on clearing out a loft at the school.  Also included were originals of various correspondence (some of which are copied here in italics).  During the time covered much of Kingswear parish lay in the district of Brixham.


The first extract is dated 1872 and the last 1971.  I am told that what I found was a display produced as part of the centenary celebrations for the School’s first 100 years.  If anyone has further information could they contact me at



August 13th, 1872

A boy named William Luly was admitted today. He is a servant at Mr. Seymour’s aged 12 and can only come half days.


September 13th, 1875.

Several of the country children have been absent today, although the weather is fine and harvest over.  The absentees are chiefly Coulton children belonging to Brixham parish.  The Brixham School Board has already been communicated with respecting the irregularity of these children; but they stated that their bye laws, not being completed, they could not yet take any steps in the matter.


January 11th, 1876

We were not able to reopen school yesterday, as we at first intended, on account of the state of the schoolroom; for the children and their mothers had tea in it last week and we could not procure a woman in time to complete the scrubbing of it until last night.  School, therefore, reopened this morning but the weather is intensely cold and the attendance small.


May 1st, 1876.

Two boys, named Western, who came to Boohay and were entered in this school on the 27th of March last, have been obliged to leave the place for want of a house.  So they have removed with their parents to Brixham until houses about to be built at Boohay are ready; which will be as soon as possible because Mr. Western, the father of these boys, is Gamekeeper to Mr. Llewellyn, the gentleman who has recently bought the Nethway estates.


December 11th, 1876.

A boy named James Hyne has gone to work as farm-boy on Kingston Farm.  He has not been very long at school and during that little time, has been very irregular, his home being more than two miles distant from the school.  He is now 10 years of age but has never made up a sufficient number of attendances to sit for examination.


January 16th, 1877.

We have today admitted a little boy, 8 years of age, named Richard Ryder.  He had previously attended the Dame School in the village and though, with regard to his arithmetic he professes to be in compound addition, he is totally ignorant of numeration.


March 26th, 1877.

We have today readmitted two little girls, named Annie and Jessie Rowe, and also admitted a younger sister named Lucy Rowe. The two elder once attended this school about 3 years ago.  But the parents, complaining of the want of cleanliness in some of the children who then attended this school, took their two little girls away and put them to the Dame School in the village.


April 10th, 1877.

Some of the country boys are absent picking up stones for the farmers or at some other work in the fields.


March 18th, 1878

Hitherto, the sweeping of the schoolroom has been done alternately by the elder girls; but this arrangement, having caused dissatisfaction to some of the parents, it was decided by a meeting of the Committee on Friday last that a girl be appointed weekly to that work and that, henceforth, 4d per week should be paid for the same.


March 4th, 1880

I find that a fourth standard boy named Knapman and a fifth standard boy named Foster have gone to the foundry to work this week.


June 23rd, 1880

The Attendance Officer called today and found that several of the elder boys were absent still, being employed in the hay-fields. This, it seems, is not illegal as so many weeks in the year in rural districts may be devoted to the ingathering of crops.


July 2nd, 1880

Thomas Luckraft did not play truant yesterday.  He was in the village during morning school but he had been sent to the blacksmith to have a horse shoed and then to take it back again to Brownstone.


March 8th, 1880

The Attendance Officer has been present today and left with the intention of calling upon the parents of Wm. Knapman who is being illegally employed at the iron foundry by Mr. Polyblank.


March 11th, 1880

Wm. Knapman, having passed Standard XII and, being over 10 years of age, is (according to the Attendance Officer's instructions) to attend School half-days and work the other half.


October 29th, 1880

The elder boys have fallen off considerably in their attendance. The Attendance Officer assures me there is no remedy because passing Standard III they need only attend half-days.


December 16th, 1880

Mr. Parry visited the school today and asked me to sign my name to a petition against the formation of a School Board for the parish of Kingswear, which I accordingly did.


Letter dated 26th August 1881

From the Brixham Board School, New Road

To the Education Department, Whitehall, London SW.

I am directed by the School Board to call your attention to the subject in respect of which an application was made in their letter to you of the 17th June last.

Notice has been given to this Board that the managers of the Kingswear Parochial Voluntary School will not admit the Brixham children at a less fee than 9d per child per week.

As the parents are for the most part agricultural labourers, they will be unable to pay such high fees and, as they reside more than 3 miles from any Elementary School, the children will not be attending any School.

The Board will be obliged by your informing them if they can legally pay any proportion of the school fees on behalf of the parents of those children.


Subsequent correspondence indicates that the Brixham Board could not legally pay the fees for the children to attend the Kingswear School, which was not under its control.  It would appear that the result was the building of a school at Nethway – see also letters dated 11th November 1885 and 12th July 1923.


October 3rd, 1881

Four boys presented themselves for admission this morning. They were J. Vinnicombe, J. Macnaught. and B. Macnaught, belonging to Kingswear, but until now attending school at Dartmouth, and C. Heal, an infant from the Dame School in the village.


February 1st, 1882.

In commencing the new registers, I have also introduced, not an original plan, but one new to this school; viz. that of calling the names and marking the presents directly on the stroke of nine and two o'clock. The children are in their places and the doors locked.  The absentees are marked and the registers closed at the usual time.  To distinguish late-comers from the others, the 9 o'clock presents are marked in red and the late children and those absent in black ink. This plan I have adopted because throughout the year I have never been able to completely eradicate the evil.  I have tried and adopted various plans but, owing to the deep root the habit has taken and in a great measure to the laziness or carelessness of the mothers, they have not succeeded.  Now besides the usual punishment of extra lessons, or in very flagrant cases a rap on the fingers, I shall read the names of the late-comers with the number of times late each week at the close of the singing lesson and before all the children.  I found it wonderfully successful this morning, there being only 2 late, but I am afraid the novelty of the thing has something to do with it.  I have tried to impress upon the minds of the children to try not to have a single black mark throughout the year.


October 2nd, 1882

I have also admitted two boys named William and Henry Cutmore.  They have hitherto been attending Mrs. Short's private school and I find they are very backward.


November 10th, 1882

There is no gas or other artificial light in the school and this evening I had to give the home lessons before 4 o'clock.


February 5th, 1883

I admitted a boy named Henry Butt today. He is 7 years of age and has just left a Dame School in the village.


April 20th, 1883

A Dame School in the village has been closed.  Several infants have been admitted today.  Their names are Sam Lawrence, Fred Mortimore, William Foster, Ernest Ryder, and Millie Howe.


Letter dated 20 January 1885

From the Education Department, Whitehall, London SW.

The Annual Inspection of the School is to take place on the 10th February at 9.20 o’clock.

“Assistant Teachers in your School who desire to be examined for a certificate must, either at the time of the visit of H.M. Inspector, or at a collective examination of Pupil Teachers, work an exercise in the needlework prescribed for fourth year Pupil Teachers.”

There was also a questionnaire to be completed regarding religious education.  This shows that no hymns were sung at the School but there were prayers morning and evening.  There were also Bible lessons with Old and New Testament on alternate days.


Letter dated 11th November 1885

Adverting to your letter of the 23rd October, I am directed to state that my Lords have been in communication with the Brixham School Board who have now forwarded plans of the school which they propose to build at Nethway for the children in the rural part of Brixham


March 25th, 1886

A deduction of one-tenth has been made from the Grant to the Infants’ Department on account of the failure of the Managers to provide the desks required by the Inspector last year.  H.M. Inspector adds that the Infant Room is not correctly measured.  Only part of the room is 16ft. 3in in length as there is an enormous fireplace for such a small room and it projects four or five feet into the room and is about six feet in length. 12ft by 12ft is about the size of the room.  It is much too small.  The room should be at once enlarged and a suitable gallery should be provided for all the children with desks and benches, at least, for the first class.

There are comparatively few infant names on the books of the school.  I am to enquire whether the Attendance Officer has directions to see that the Bye Laws are properly carried out.


Sept, 2nd, 1883.

There is an utter want of water here and has been for many weeks.  Information has been given to the authorities without effect.  On Friday, August 22nd, we were obliged to get water from a nearby house to clean out the offices.  I will report the matter to the Board.


June 25th 1886

The fireplace in the Infant Room is to be removed.  Backs are to be placed to the gallery and new desks ordered.


Head Master’s Monthly Report dated 11th March 1887

I wish to draw attention of the Board to the fact that £5-13-0 has been lost in grant this year, viz. £2-9-0 for Sewing in the Mixed School and £3-4-0 in the Infant Class.  Also that there are 20 children in the 1st Class Infants to be prepared for examination.  A good teacher will be required to obtain a satisfactory result.


May 2nd, 1887

Miss Smith has been re-appointed as Infant Teacher at a salary of £20 per annum.


August 17th, 1887

Owing to the overcrowded state of the Infant Classroom, I am directed to refuse admission to all infants under the age of 5.


June 25th, 1888.

Mrs. Underhay informs me of her intention to keep Henry at home whenever she pleases and "risk it” as "Half-Time Labour Certificate” is withheld on the ground of his never having yet passed any standard whatever in arithmetic and at 10 years of age.


Letter dated 7th January 1889

I beg to submit tender for the erection of an Infants School Room, boundary wall, etc. at the Board School, Kingswear for the sum of £245-0-0.  Signed John E Short.


May 20th, 1889

The parents of S. Lawrence, Underhay, Cowling, & S. Ryder refuse to pay the Regulation Fee and cause much annoyance; but I do not exclude any scholar for non-payment.


Letter dated 7th September 1888

To Percy Hockin Esq, Kingswear School Board

In reply to your note with reference to my children’s education, I beg to inform you that my youngsters go through a course of teaching daily and I am satisfied that they are obtaining a better education than if they were sent to any school in this district.  As an evidence may I mention that one of my boys (12 years of age) does part of my reporting to the Western Morning News, writes shorthand and can box the compass, while my youngest one (3 years of age) can correctly say the alphabet and can count up to twenty.  Signed R. H.Reid.


Sept 27th, 1889

I addressed the children and presented to Miss Smith, who leaves to be married, a handsomely chased Tea Pot, Biscuit Barrel and Album.  She was overpowered with emotion at the wholly unexpected present.


November 14th, 1899

Had conversation with Rev. F. Walker (Chairman of the Board) at noon on the subject of Compulsory Attendance again.  The Act a "Dead Letter", he fully admits, and the parents know it.


May 19th, 1890

Notices regarding "Scale of Fees" in future posted in the village by the Attendance Officer informed the School of its coming into effect next week and hoped no unpleasantness or misunderstanding would arise.  Application has to be made to the Board for any remission of Fees.


May 27th, 1890

New Scale of Fees came into operation this morning.  About a dozen in A section alone had to be returned home for the additional penny.  Their parents refuse to adopt the scale framed by the Board (really in the interests of the parents generally) except in cases where the payment is less than before.


December 8th, 1890

Glazier replaced broken windows (one in large mixed room & 3 in Infant Room), broken during blasting operations of building contractors.


Letter dated 26th May 1891

To Kingswear Board School

Adverting to your letter of the 12th inst. I am directed to inform you that the staff enumeration in your letter of the 17th April, namely, a Principal Certificated Teacher, and Assistant Teacher (Art. 50), a Teacher approved under Art. 68 and a Pupil Teacher is for the purposes of Art. 105 sufficient only for an average attendance of 110.


May 28th, 1891

Infants clambering up the pathway and stumbling in the mud to the school excite my pity and indignation.  For more than a year past the grounds and pathway have been in a discreditable state, although I have constantly drawn attention to them.


January 21st, 1904         Monthly Meeting of  the  Managers

Applications for an increase in salary were received from Mr. Wedlake, Mrs. Ferris and Miss Thomas.  The Master, having been in the School for 13 years and the school under his tuition always earning the highest grants, Mr. Farmer proposed that his salary be increased to £140 per annum.  Unanimous. 

Mrs. Ferris, having been in the School 7 years and been Senior Assistant and the two teachers who took up their duties in November 1903 and January 1904, having a salary of £50 per annum.  Mr. Farmer proposed that Mrs. Ferris salary be increased to £50 (sic) per annum.  Unanimous.  Mr. Courtiour proposed that Miss R. Thomas Salary be increased to £6-10 per annum after one year as Monitress.  Unanimous.  A letter be written to the Secretary that the Managers request that their propositions be accepted and the Increases granted under the circumstances.


Specification for cleaning the School dated 1st August 1905

  1. The large schoolroom and the infant room to be well scrubbed out every alternate Saturday.  The new schoolroom and the old class room to be well scrubbed out every alternate Saturday
  2. Every afternoon after school is over all the rooms and offices to be well swept out and every morning before school opens all the rooms to be well dusted.
  3. Water closets to be washed out and looked after every afternoon to be kept very clean.
  4. Windows to be cleaned inside every week, grates to be kept well coated with blacklead, fires to be lighted when required by the Master or the Managers and every night at nine o’clock the stoves to be filled with fuel so that they will be burning all-night.  All material will be provided by the Managers, all dusters to be washed by the Cleaner.
  5. Ashes and sweepings to be carried outside the school gates in time for the ashes cart.  The empty vessels taken back to the school coke cellar as soon as emptied, three times a week.
  6. All brushes, dusters, pails etc. will be provided by the Managers.


January 1st, 1907.    Special Meeting of the Managers

Mr. Courtier proposed that the work be carried out according to the M.O. Health's and the Architect's letters as follows.  Burn candles, wash all woodwork including windows, dados, desks and floors with solution of Carbolic Acid.

Walls: Substitute DURESCO as per the Architect’s letter instead of limewash.  Limewash with Carbolic in it in the lavatories.


December 3rd, 1908     Monthly Meeting off the Managers

A member stated that he had heard that the gallery in the Infant Room would be done away with.  The Master said that the County Inspector Mr. Moyle visited the School on November 27th and said he should report on it.  The Inspector also said that the School was one of the best in the county.

The Correspondent said he had seen the Vicar as to the money which was in his and the Churchwarden’s hands for the letting of the schoolrooms.  He would hand the money over for the lamps to light the paths.


Letter dated 31st October 1910

To the Education Committee

Requests permission to install electric lighting in the School instead of purchasing new oil lamps.  Letter claims that electric lighting is now in nearly every building in Kingswear and is also used for street lighting.



Cookery Syllabus - Course 1



Suggested work


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Boiling. Table laying.

Boiled meat or rabbit. Vegetables.

Rules for boiling.


Scullery work. Importance of cleanliness.

Washing up. Clearing of utensils, dishcloths etc.

Various methods used,



Boiling salt meat. Choice of fish.

Boiled bacon. Fish. Vegetables. Sauce.

Rules for boiling salt meat and fish, and for choosing fish.


Construction and management of ovens.  Testing heat of ovens.

Examination of ovens and flues.  Macaroni cheese.  Scones.

Properties, ingredients in making of baking powder.



Irish stew & Hot Pot.  Bone stock.

Rules for stewing.



Lentil or vegetable soup. Ginger bread.

Value & economy of soups.


Revision of stewing.

Brown meat or vegetable stew with dumplings.

Economising fuel.



Bacon, eggs, liver, milk & bread fritters. Rissoles etc.

Rules for frying.


Suet pastry.

Meat & potato pudding.  Meat roly-poly. Potatoes in jackets.

Rules for cooking vegetables. Storage of food.



Suet pudding.  Rock cakes.

Comparison between boiling and steaming.


Roasting & baking.

Meat & gravy.  Baked & boiled potatoes.  Greens.

Rules for roasting & baking.


Using up scraps.

Hash.  Mince. Scrap bread pudding.




Fruit tarts or turnovers.  Cornish pasties.

Principles and preparations for short-crust.


Children’s diet.

Rice pudding.  Mould.  Stewed fruit.

Proportions etc. for milk puddings.


Invalid Cookery.

Steamed fish.  Beef-tea.  Gruel.

Serving of food for invalids.


Batter making.

Baked & steamed batters.

Principles of batter making.



White bread. Tea cakes.

Various kinds of flour & yeast.



Brown bread.  Scones.

The wheat grain.



A stew & a baked pudding or baked meat with a steamed and boiled pudding.

Weak points.


Infants feeding.

Cleaning of bottles.

Composition of milk.  Storage of milk. Medification of cow’s milk necessary for infants.


Approved H BIDELEUX.  July 7th 1914.




June 14th, 1923.

School closed all day by order of Education Committee to enable teachers to attend a mass meeting at Exeter re salary question and "lockout".


Letter dated 12th July 1923

There are one or two articles of furniture at the Nethway School belonging to the Committee and I have asked General Llewellyn, who has purchased the Nethway School, if he will so good enough to arrange for the transfer of these things to Kingswear School for the time being.  Will you please instruct the Head Teacher to arrange to store the furniture until arrangements can be made for its transfer elsewhere.  It includes two desks or tables and two fireguards.


October 25th, 1923

Headmaster away today in London on Parish matters, as Chairman of Parish Council.


March18th, 1926

Mr. Saltmarsh, H.M.I., visited the School today.  Advised partitions for the new room


September 3rd, 1928.

During the vacation the old main room has been divided into two rooms.


October 1st, 1931
Commenced Milk Scheme for Children.


August 3rd, 1933

I resign my post of Headmaster today after having held office for forty two years, and very happy years they have been.  I thank my Staff for the efficient manner they have assisted me and I thank the Managers of the School for the kindness and courtesy they have always extended to me.  Signed W. R. WEDLAKE.


March 23rd, 1934

142 eggs have been sent from the children to Dartmouth Cottage Hospital.


April 9th, 1934.

Arrangements are being made for a third of a pint of milk to be given each day to — —, granted by the Medical Department.


April 16th, 1934.

Two boxes of primroses have been sent today to schools in Bermondsey and Hanwell.


October 1st, 1934

The new Milk Scheme has been adopted today.  49 children bought milk at 1/2d for 1/3 pint.


April 1st. 1935

A conveyance is to take children in the Brixham area, who have been attending Kingswear School, to Brixham School beginning today.  The names of twelve children have been removed from the registers.


October 10th, 1938

The work of asphalting the yard and school paths began today.


August 15th, 1946.       

I received a letter from the Secretary, Mr W. E. Philip, referring to the death of Mr. Wedlake, Correspondent to the Managers.     


Apr 24th, 1942.

20 children have now to receive free milk.


January 12th, 1945

Pupils collected 430 books for the Red Cross Book Campaign.


Oct 14th, 1946

The provision of school dinners began today.  20 children partook of the meal, which was sent from the school canteen at Brixham, and consisted of:- Corned Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Salad, with Baked Raisin Pudding and Custard as a dessert,  Mr. Armstrong, Chairman of Managers, Mr. Melville, Manager, Mrs Melville J.P. and Councillor Mrs. Knott sampled the meal and pronounced it excellent.


February 24th, 1947

The Supervisor of the Brixham School canteen informed me that it would be impossible to send dinners today, owing to the slippery conditions of the road.  I opened the emergency rations and the children enjoyed the meal.


February 5th, 1948

Mrs. Bligh cooked the first meal on the premises today. 24 children and four adults remained to dinner.


Sept. 6th, 1951.

A serving hatch has been made between kitchen and dining room,


June 6th, 1958.

The demolition of our playground wall began today.


October .27th, 1958

Mrs. Farleigh has taken up her duties as Cook/Supervisor of our canteen.


July 6th, 1959

New floors are to be supplied by Messrs. Tribble in August.


September 11th, 1962.

School reopened today.  Mr. B. Godber in charge.   Number on roll is now 54.


October   3rd, 1962.

The Harvest Festival Service held this morning.  Proceeds (£4-10-2) sent to the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief.


March 16th, 1967

A Parents' Meeting was held this evening.  Following a talk by a representative of the ScholIs Foot Comfort Service on the care of children’s feet, the meeting discussed the possibility of a school uniform.  It was generally agreed that, although a full uniform was not desirable, there should be some guidance as to colours.  A list of the colours suggested will be circulated to all.


September  8th, 1968

Harvest Festival Service held this morning.  Rev. Redfern gave the address.  After school the produce was sold to parents and friends by the children.  As a result £7-14-0 was donated to the “Save The Children Fund”.


July 7th, 1969.

The children who are due to be admitted in September were invited to school this afternoon.  I gave a short talk to their parents about school organisation etc., while the children visited the classroom.


March 10th, 1970.

Meeting held this evening to discuss “Sex Education” B.B.C. film strips were shown with accompanying tape-recordings on "Where Do Babies Come From" and “Growing Up".  These will be shown to the Upper Juniors.


April 14th, 1970

Children’s School Dinners went up from 1/6 to 1/9 today.


July 6th,   1970

Managers' Meeting held this afternoon.  Two new managers, Mr. B. Bovey and Mrs. Vallance both parents, take the places of Mrs. Wiggins and Mr.  Hearn.


February 15th, 1971

Today was D. (Decimalisation) Day the first day of the introduction of the new decimal coinage. Dinner Money was paid in 35 new pence.



There are also four photographs of the Kingswear County Primary School’s summer fair.  They are not dated but the “rose queen” is Julia Roberts with attendants Maria Chapman and Susan Edwards and pages Paul Ferrand and Shane Gibson.  The rose queen and her attendants appear to have entered the Dartmouth Carnival and won Third Prize.



Peter and May Watts, now living in Brisbane, have sent me the following observations.


March 8th 1880  There are several 'Knapman' families in and around Kingswear.  We feel that it is quite possible that the 'William Knapman' referred to used to be the father of a man of the same name who lived in Westerland Terrace.


October 3rd 1881  We are in no doubt that 'inter alia' this refers to one 'Charlie Heal' as we knew him who, at a later part of his life, owned a shop in 'The Square' immediately adjacent to the ferry slip.  Charlie used to sell general goods and also cut hair but as a young lad I wasn’t keen for him to have a go at mine as he reminded me very much of Mr Pickwick!  


12th January 1945  This extract from the records really did bring back a few of May’s memories.   It seems that a Miss Hayward was the Headmistress at that time and both May and a girl called Margaret ROWE (now Mrs FABIAN) were sent out to see what books they could get for the Red Cross.   After calling at various homes in Lighthouse Beach Road they called at one house (on the right hand side just before one reaches the corner where the lighthouse used to be.  (It had a small garage perched on the edge of the road affording an excellent view of the river.)  It seems that the owners turned out to be a couple of missionaries having recently returned from Africa because of the war and “Wanted to do their bit back in England”.  The girls were invited indoors and invited to tell the occupants the reason why they wanted the books etc.  It transpires that they were not only given a good number of books but before the books were handed over the ex-missionaries insisted that all four of them kneel down and say (somewhat lengthy) prayers for the eventual recipients of the books.


August 15th 1946  Mr Wedlake was well known to the CRISP family and May recalls him quite well.  During the war a large number of evacuees arrived in Kingswear, many of them with their mothers and not from the choicest of homes in the East End of London.  They also had a couple of their own teachers from the same schools/areas.

At that time both May and a boy called Michael SHORT were both appointed by Miss Hayward (Head Teacher) and instructed what to do in times of emergency, i.e. air raids.  Their instructions were quite simple; Miss Hayward would simply shout “Emergency Children!".  Whereupon all the kids would leap to their feet and May and Michael would then lead all the kids down the path to the air raid shelter in Lower Contour Road.  It seems that one day one of the (dare I say it) one of the 'Foreign' teachers started to attack Miss Hayward with a pen – one of the old type with a sharp nib).  Miss Hayward shouted "EMERGENCY!"  May immediately escorted all of the girls, and Michael all the boys down to the shelter and then immediately fetched Mr Wedlake.  Poor old chap rushed up to the school still wearing part of his night attire and fixed things up.  I am told that the teacher never came back and could well have finished up in a psychiatric institution.  


October 14th 1946  Both May and I knew Mr Armstrong quite well.  Mrs Melville who gave me a glowing reference which stood me in good stead when I went off for a seagoing career.  Her husband, (Captain Melville) as he liked to be known, was known rather as the “Rent Collector” for Totnes Council.


October 27 1958  Mrs Farleigh appointed as Cook/Supervisor.  She was actually May’s eldest sister.