Former teacher and centenarian recalls mid-20th century school life in Naseby in 180th anniversary video
A former teacher and centenarian has created a YouTube video recalling fond memories of her time at a Naseby school, to mark its 180th anniversary.
Aileen Brooks taught at Naseby Church of England Primary Academy, which opened in 1843, alongside her headteacher husband, between 1952 and 1978.
From her home in Australia, the 103-year-old talks about school life before electricity and plumbing. She said: “There were several large oil lamps, now unused, deposited along the cloakroom floor and it was all the lighting the school had. Electricity had just been connected.
“Alas, the toilets were still in the dark ages. A row of buckets stood in the girls and boys toilets. The caretaker’s husband, Mr Prime, had the unenviable job of digging holes in the paddock and disposing of the buckets’ contents.”
Aileen goes on to describe the messy business of ink blots and snow day school dinners, recalling fondly the ‘happy school with a peaceful environment’.
Staff have created a ‘thank you’ video for Aileen, accompanied by the children singing songs for her.
Back on home soil, Aileen’s son and daughter joined over 350 visitors at the school, including past pupils, teachers and staff, to take a walk down memory lane.
Staff and pupils dressed up in Victorian costumes to set the scene of the school’s opening in 1843. There was raffle, Victorian arts and crafts while Naseby Brass Band performed throughout the day.
Classrooms became pop up ‘memorabilia rooms’ showcasing photographs of classrooms from Victorian times , oil lamp lighting and children sat in rows with easels and chalk.
Other highlights included a newspaper from 1929 when the Duke and Duchess of York visited the school to celebrate the future Queen Elizabeth’s third birthday, sharing cake with the school children. There were also handwritten pupil registers dating back to the Second World War listing evacuees.
Children and parents also enjoyed a two-tiered 180th anniversary cake made by baker and parent, Terri Morris.
Headteacher Louise Cook commented: “The event was a huge success and we really enjoyed celebrating our 180th anniversary with our village community as well as former staff and pupils, some who travelled a long way to visit us.
The staff and children all looked fantastic in their Victorian costumes, and we had such positive feedback from all our visitors. There were many moving moments through the day and it is a privilege to be here as headteacher to be part of this special occasion.”