150 Years of Learning in Marldon Village
2015 marked the anniversary of 150 years of a village school in Marldon. The original school, down by the church in the old centre of the village, opened in 1864 for its first school year.
With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Marldon PTA, the school foundation governors, the parish church committee, the village hall committee, the local history group and the parish council, we were able to celebrate in style!
A small team of volunteers from the village came together to develop and run the project and raise the funding, which amounted to just under £10,000.
A programme of activities was put together over the summer term for the school children and the wider community. Just over 900 people joined in the celebrations and events and we made a film to share what we have done.
We held a scanning day to gather new photos, press cutting and memories to add to a new archive about school life in the village. The local history group put together an exhibition of old school photographs which was really interesting. Material gathered on this day was added to make a new exhibition which was held in the Village Church and visited by just under 400 people. All of the school children were taken on a history walk around the village by volunteers and had a chance to drop in on the exhibition and find out more about what school life was like in the past. We also had a collection of memorabilia including the old school registers, log books, punishment books and even the old school bell!
There were other activities for the villagers to take part in including a history walk led by members of the local history group and a time traveller’s treasure hunt for families.
We worked with SoundArt community radio to record stories and memories of school life now and in the past. Children from the school visited the village lunch club to talk to the older members of the community about what school life was like when they were young. The recordings form an important and touching part of our new archive and can be heard here.
Every class in the school took part in creating music or drama performances to be shown at the celebration garden party. Two artists, Sara Hurley and Hugh Nankivell, spent time in each class helping them to develop their performance pieces, based on old school stories, memories and experiences. We also worked with a mosaic artist to make a beautiful commemorative mosaic which has pride of place on the front of the school. It was officially unveiled by the Bishop of Exeter at the Garden party.
For one of the days in the project, we turned a classroom into a Victorian classroom for the day. Each class had a lesson with the schoolmaster, complete with costumes and slates! The children were able to see just how different life might have been in the old school, compared to how it is now!
Celebrating in Style!
Over 400 people came to our Anniversary Garden Party in a marquee on the school field. The guest list included staff, pupils, members of the church clergy and parish representatives, past and present. We even had six of the schools head teachers!
The children shared the performances they had been working on and guests enjoyed looking at the exhibition of their work and old photos whilst sharing stories and memories over tea and cake. It was a great event and a brilliant finale to the project.
We would like to thank all the volunteers, staff and funders who helped make this project possible.