Prior to Beckingham School being built in 1901 children were taught at the Old School on High Street. The Old School (known as the National School) was built in 1854 on a piece of land belonging to the Church of England. Records of schooling in Beckingham date back at least as far as 1731 but it is not known which buildings were used as schools. It is clear, however, that schooling was much under control of the C of E. The Vestry meeting of 1811 agreed to fund the
education of 10 poor children at the school. Pesumably the other 80 pupils had to pay for the privilege of being taught by one master and one pupil teacher in one large room.
The school closed after the Boards School (now Beckingham Primary School) opened and the building became the Church Hall and Sunday School until it was sold to its resident caretaker in 1975. The school room was also used, during the 1980s, for a Mums and Toddlers group and today is owned privately as a residential dwelling.
Board School (Beckingham Primary)
In the early 1900s it was clear that the National School was too small and needed enlargement. There was some hostility to the idea that the enlargement be funded out of public rates because the school was the property of the Church of England and this created a division between the Methodists and Anglicans. Eventually a poll was taken to decide whether the old school should be enlarged or a new school built which resulted in the School Board being formed and consequently the new ‘Board School’ being built.
Beckingham Board School was built in 1901 on a piece of land donated by the Watson family. The land was in Clappin Close which was an area between The Green and Institute corner. The school was designed in Gothic style using red pressed bricks and Ancaster stone dressings to the windows, entrances, quoins and gables. Within the spandrel panel of the main arches was carved in high relief ‘Beckingham Board School 1900′ out of red sand rubbers.
The roof is of slate and in the centre of the ridge of the main roof is an ornamental bell turret at a height of 40 feet from ground to weather vane. The original building was 49.5 feet by 18 feet and included boys and girls cloakrooms, an infants’ room and classroom, with a further large full width room that had a wooden partition to provide 2 further classrooms. The school was built to accommodate approximately 160 children with separate stone chip playgrounds for boys and girls divided by iron railings and outside lavatories.
On the east side of the school the headmaster’s house was built in a similar gothic style with bay windows on the front. The accommodation originally comprised of:- Ground floor – parlour, kitchen, scullery and entrance First floor – 3 bedrooms. Toilets were outside. Click here to view a copy of the original plans (large file).
The tenders sent in to be considered for the building of the school and headmaster’s house were as follows:-
Messrs Bee & Son, Beckingham £3097
Mr Rousell, Beckingham £2986
G Hopkinson & Son, Retford £2982
Brown & Son, Newark £2974
J Woods, Gainsborough £2964
Mr C Greenwood, Gainsborough £2631 12s
The Greenwood’s tender was accepted but it was reduced and even so the New Board School’s members we still ‘alarmed’ at the outlay. The architect of the school was Mr William Southall of Eyre & Southall (Retford).
The first spade of earth turned for the new school was in August 1900 and Mr J S C Watson attended the ceremony (in place of Sir F Milner who was otherwise engaged). Mr Watson was especially interested in education for the village (having already donated the land) and delivered a fine speech extolling the pride of having such a fine school in the neighbourhood. There followed refreshments and entertainment for everyone in the village and in the evening sports were provided for the children.
At around circa 1949 the canteen was built on the west side, removing two windows and fitting these on the front of the school, giving it a much more attractive and less foreboding look. With the canteen came school dinners which were prepared on the premises, prior to that children went home for lunchtime except those who lived in Saundby and Watson’s Shipyard who brought sandwiches.
In addition to the main school there was a wooden shed to the west which was used as a woodworking set. In 1954 when Misterton Secondary School opened the boys would travel to Misterton once a week for their woodworking lessons, and the girls went there for cookery.
In 1972, once the estate of John Surfleet was sold, Lot 2 was purchased to provide the school with a playing field and the new school extension.
This extension provided 3 new classrooms, an administration area and a wet activities area for painting and art classes and was accessed by The Limes with a direct pathway linking the 2 schools that ran alongside the Institute Allotments. The extension was started in November 1980 and completed in July 1981 and was built to blend in with the surrounding houses. The opening ceremony was formally opened by Mr Philip Stephenson, Chairman of Beckingham School Governors, and the headmaster at the time was Mr Wilson. Two pupils dressed as Victoria schoolchildren on the day.
The first headmaster for Beckingham School was Mr William W Arthur who was headmaster until his retirement in February 1933. On his retirement there was a special presentation of a Westminster chiming clock which had been inscribed and presented by an old scholar, Mr J Wilkinson. A speech by Mr F Gagg (chairman of the School Managers) referred to the good work Mr Arthur had done in the village during his 34.5 years as headmaster (formerly headmaster of the Church School) and he was highly thought of by scholars, teachers and friends.
Mr Arthur died in May 1936 aged 68. As well as headmaster of Beckingham School he was also churchwarden and choirmaster at Beckingham Parish Church and a member of the Parish Council and was held in high esteem by the village. His only daughter, Miss Vera A Arthur was headmistress of Walkeringham Junior School and she married Mr Richard Felton who was headmaster of Hyde Park Senior Boys’ School in Doncaster.Mr Arthur’s only son died at the age of only 36 years, he too had been a teacher.
Left: Beckingham School 1910 – Mr Arthur(l), Mrs Arthur(r)
Right: Beckingham School winners
West Lindsey Musical Competition 1912,
Challenge Shield and Banner
(Mr Arthur – centre)
Other headmasters/headmistresses that have served at Beckingham School are as follows:-
Mr Williamson 1933 to 1941
Mr Linegar 1941 to 1952
Mr Kingston 1953 to ?
Mr Burgon ? to 1967
Miss Chauner 1968 to 1968
Mrs Robson 1968 to 1970
Mr Wilson 1970 to ?
Miss S Wilson ? to 2003
Mrs Moore 2003 to 2021
Mr Peter Phillips 2021 to present
Please click here to be directed to Beckingham School website.
Prior to the canteen being built in the late 1940s children generally went home at lunchtime except those who lived in Saundby or at Watson’s Shipyard. These children would bring sandwiches. The canteen extension was built onto the left side of the main building, removing 2 windows and fitting 2 new windows on the front. Looking at the picture of the school today (top of page) it looks much less imposing than it was and the windows on the front make it much more attractive. Once the canteen was built, school meals were cooked on the premises and were proper meals ie did not include items such as turkey twizzlers! They were generally enjoyed by the children – treacle and cornflake tart with custard being one of the favourites! The first cook was a Miss Warne, followed by a joint effort from Mrs McGlashen and Mrs Brumby.
Discipline was strict and punishment was usually the dreaded cane or ruler. Miss Mosley was a teacher who was particularly feared for her sternness, but Mr Linegar (the headmaster) was the one who handed out the punishment to those that deserved it.
One particular incident recalled by Geoff Proudley was the time when a number of children were very late back to school after a game of Fox and Hounds. Mr Linegar (headmaster) had lined the children up for their punishment by cane when, just in time, the Foxes (Patrick Doughty and Richard Adams) returned from their hiding place in Beckingham Wood. The punishment on that occasion was not administered!
Mischief Night one year resulted in Mr Linegar’s gates being taken down and hidden to a safe place (across the road). It took all morning for the gates to be eventually found and restored to their rightful place – the culprits were never found.
Subjects included Needlework (knitting included), English, Reading, Spelling, History, Geography and Arithmetic and Nature. At one time there was a woodworking shop to the side of the school. This closed, however, and the boys travelled to Misterton once a week to continue their woodworking classes whilst the girls travelled to Misterton to learn cookery (the boys always liked to sample the baking on the return). Their transport consisted of a slightly unreliable bus that frequently broke down and was nicknamed Hurdy Gurdy’s Rubber Band Bus! More life skills were taught up at The Hall on Low Street. Prior to Peter and Margaret Mason’s purchase, The Hall belonged to the Selby’s who allowed 8 or 9 allotments to be tended by the school children who grew vegetables. There was also potato picking locally which allowed the children 3 weeks holiday – those that did not go only got one week holiday, and although it was hard work it was a nice change from being in school.
In addition to Miss Mosley (who cycled all the way from Misterton) and the headteacher, Mr Linegar, were Mrs Waller from Bole who taught the lower class and Miss Woodliffe who taught the Juniors. Miss Woodliffe cycled daily from Clayworth (unless the weather was too bad then she walked!)
There was also a Mrs Maden who was the caretaker. Mrs Maden was responsible for stoking up the fire each day and tidying up. She would put the children’s coats round the fire to dry in bad weather and during school holidays would go into school to give the floors a thorough scrubbing ready for the new term.
Until the Village Hall was built in 1948 all school sports/Sports Day and Village Fairs etc were held on a grass field to the left of Thistle House. Beckingham regularly played cricket and football with Misterton and Walkeringham. Stuart Twidale played in the Cricket Club until about 1966 and played with Hermann Cuckson (now deceased), Geoff and Mike Proudley.
Occasionally outings were organised for the children to be taken to Watson’s Shipyard to see the launching of vessels. This was always an exciting trip for the children. But one outing that was very special was the trip to The Festival of Britain in 1951. (visit Museum of London) The trip involved about 20 to 30 school children and meant a stay overnight at a school in Penge.
The Festival of Britain was to commemorate the Great Exhibition of 1851, but it was also intended to cheer up the people of Britain in the years after the Second World War.
After the Festival closed on September 29th 1951 everything was demolished except the Royal Festival Hall, which still stands on the South Bank site today.
Class Photographs 1890 to 1935
Beckingham School 1890
Beckingham School c. 1910
Beckingham School 1925
Beckingham School 1928
Beckingham School 1934
Beckingham School 1935
Class Photographs 1960s
Beckingham School 1961
Beckingham School 1966
Beckingham School 1968
1968 – Mrs Guy’s Class
1968 – Mrs Long’s Class
1968 – Mrs Robinson’s Class
Class Photographs 1970s
Maths Class 1977
Class Photographs 1980s
July 10 1981 – New Extension
Netball Team 1983
Football Team 1988
Class Photographs 1990s
Beckingham Primary Class 1991
Junior Class 1991
Class Photographs 2000s
Class 1 – 2006
Class 2 – 2006
Class 3 – 2006
Please contact the website if you would like any details regarding any of the school photographs shown, or, if you have any photographs you think may be of interest to the History Group (all original photographs will be returned after copying), please do get in touch.
Reunions began in May 2002 when Evelyn Leggott (nee Pipe) joined Friends Reunited and was able to contact some of the people that she went to school with between the years of 1945 to 1951.
For the first reunion 6 ex pupils attended: – Jacqueline Murray (nee Phillips), Joan Farrow (nee Curtis), Hazel Paddison (nee Cox), Mary Cawte (nee Shuttleworth) and Evelyn and her sister Ruth Croft. The current headmistress arranged for them to visit the school and see what changes had
occurred since they left. They were pleased to see the toilets had been moved inside! The bike shed had disappeared, one of the classrooms had been converted to a computer room and the two senior rooms were now merged into one room, which was now being used as a gym/dining room. Of course, since Evelyn and co left a new building to the school has been built (1981) and this is accessed from The Limes estate. The new building houses 3 new classrooms (including the pre-school section).
Since this first get together there have been yearly reunions – and the numbers attending have grown each year. In 2003 12 ex pupils attended, 2004 – 19, 2005 – 37 and 2006 38 attended (not including wives/husbands/partners etc).
As time has gone by and more people attend, the reunion includes ex pupils from other years, not just the year Evelyn attended. Evelyn has since passed away but the reunions are still being held each year and it is with great thanks to her that they continue.
Beckingham School Reunion was once again organised by Evelyn Leggott (nee Pipe) and her sister Ruth and took place at The Peacock Inn in Gainsborough. The event was from 2pm to 4pm and there was a wonderful buffet laid on. This year record numbers attended (49 ex pupils excluding parthers) and a fine afternoon ensued.
Amongst the guests this year was one of the former teachers, Mrs Adams (nee Woodliffe) who lives in Beckingham and had brought along the scroll that was signed by all the pupils and presented to her when she left the school in 1947. Miss Woodliffe, as she was when she was teaching at Beckingham School, had lived in Clayworth and used to cycle each day to Beckingham. If the weather was poor, she walked. One of Miss Woodliffe’s main memories was of the fantastic coal fires that the caretaker, Mrs Maden, used to light each morning and if one imagines the long cycle ride/walk Miss Woodliffe had had to endure each day one would understand what a welcome sight a roaring fire would be.
Talking to the people present everyone had a few memories to share and on the subject of the floods of 1947 quite a few candid recollections came to mind for many. Evelyn Leggott who had lived at Marsh Farm on Old Trent Road had to move out of their house and her and her family moved in with Hazel Cox (her best friend) and their family at the Station Cottage. Hazel’s father was a signalman at the time and the house was a 2 up and 2 down house – so it was quite a squeeze accommodating everyone. Evelyn’s main memory is of coping with the noise of the trains going by at all hours of the day and night and she especially remembers falling out of bed one night when a train went by!
Chick Brumby (nobody seems to know his real christian name) remembers further back when he was rescued by a horse and cart during the floods of 1940.
Chick Brumby also had a lovely tale to tell about a Jack Boyd and Vick Wallhead. Jack Boyd was a local character and used to be the village gravedigger, even though he had only one leg. It was under some dispute as to whether he ever actually dug any graves because his pockets were usually full of sweets which he generously handed out to the local lads – and who just as generously dug the graves for him. This particular story with Jack Boyd was when his good friend Vick Wallhead was very poorly and laid up in bed. Jack decided to pay him a visit and Vick’s mother sent him upstairs to his bedroom but, on seeing Jack turn up (complete with spade) Vick made a complete recovery in a matter of moments.
Towards the end of the afternoon a bouquet of flowers was presented to Evelyn for all her hard work in organising the event and this was presented by Stuart Twidale. Everyone looks forward to next year’s reunion which it is to be hoped will take place in June 2008 at The Peacock.
Beckingham School Reunion was held at The Peacock Hotel in Gainsborough on Saturday 7th June.
As usual the event was organised by Evelyn Leggott and her sister Ruth Croft with a buffet provided for those that had travelled some distance. Numbers attending this year were 40, which was slightly down on last year (43) (Click here for comparative years) but still a good number considering only 6 attended the first reunion in 2002! Click here to view a list of ex pupils who attended this year.
The Peacock is always the venue and Evelyn tries to organise the event for the first week in June each year. Next year the reunion will be held on June 6th and efficient as always Evelyn had printed cards to remind everyone.
This year, despite there being less people, 11 new ex pupils attended and included in the total of 40 on the day was ex teacher, Mrs N Adams (nee Woodliffe). Mrs Adams lives in the village and brought in the signed poster that all the children had signed when she left the school in 1947. In 1947 most people worked locally and it was due to a move to Everton that Mrs Adams was forced to give her notice in. She had already cycled from Clayworth since 1943 but Everton would have been a little too far in bad weather!
It was suggested (towards the end of the afternoon after some people had left), that next year to have a voluntary collection to give something back to today’s pupils at the school, maybe for a treat at the Christmas party, for some books the school may need, or whatever the teachers/staff may think would be beneficial to them.