When I took on the task of creating a library at Stradbroke Primary in 1985, several books pulled from dusty corners bore the distinctive oval stamp of Wingfield Primary School. By this time the school had already been closed for nearly 20 years and now only the the house name 'The Old School' remains visible to tell passers-by that it was there.
There are many former schools scattered around this area, indeed the Waveney Heritage Centre was Brockdish Primary School until 2016. Depending on the use that has been made of them, some are easily recognised - being the classic red brick Victorian school design with one or more large windows in the gable end, but others have been completely redesigned, rendered and painted.
From the time Wingfield school was established to the time it closed, the population of the village had roughly halved. The 20th. century saw an inexorable move towards town living. The building of secondary modern schools after the Second World War meant that the 11-14 year-old age band was removed entirely from the Elementary schools. Cheaper road transport meant children could be bussed to larger, more economically viable schools. The system of federation has been introduced in the last few years to allow the sharing of expensive resources.
But how did so many small rural schools come to be built in the first place? In her talk
local historian Rosemary Steer will discuss 'the different types (and varying quality!) of elementary schools that sprang up during the 18th and 19th centuries'
Rosemary's talk is on Sunday 27 January 2019 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm at the Waveney Heritage Centre, Brockdish. The green link above will take you to the bookings page where you will find more information too!