Bradwell Infant School, on Church Street, welcomed its first pupils and staff in July 1872 and as the anniversary has approached, their modern-day counterparts have been inspired to dig into the past and learn all about local history.
Their work culminated in a day of festivities on Wednesday, July 13, which included a service of thanks to celebrate the long partnership with St Barnabas Church, which was attended by all staff, pupils past and present, and many parents.
Headteacher Geoff Wharton, overseeing one of his final duties before retirement, said: “The highlight was the planting of a young Joseph Rock rowan tree in the churchyard by special permit.
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“Reverend Louise Petheram blessed the tree which was specially selected for its autumnal colour and yellow berries, loved by birds as winter food. The marker post was generously donated and supplied by Pennine Woodworking.”
The celebrations continued in the school grounds, where children performed Victorian rhymes, songs and dances, and a time capsule was buried with the request that it be unearthed in 50 years time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the school.
Geoff said: “Included in the capsule were photos, current coins, a letter, school commemorative booklet and an image of the newly planted tree, which should be much bigger by then. It is hoped that some of the present pupils will witness the retrieval of the time capsule in 2072.”
Parents and visitors were then invited into school to look around and talk to the current staff and reminisce about days gone by, aided by cream teas and a collection of log books and photo albums dating back to 1872.
There was also the chance to admire the foundation stone, first laid by MP Augustus Arkwright in 1871 and recently restored by Hamilton Stone Masons.
Geoff said: “Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the rich and colourful history of our wonderful and unique village school. The commemorative booklet is available to purchase in Bradwell Post Office at a very reasonable price.”