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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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In the early days of education for all, attendance was a huge issue. Schools were financed by the government according to the number of pupils present over a year - a financial package that included the salaries of the teaching staff.


Brixham Church School (or Brixham National School as it came to be known) was founded in 1820 to provide free education using two ancient endowments. Girls entered their upstairs schoolroom from Windmill Hill - boys approached the lower floor from Bolton Street. In 1902, a new Act of Parliament brought the school under Local Authority control, funded from local rates.

After 1902, the two schools came to be known as the Church of England Boys' School and the Church of England Girls' School. Infants attended a separate school known as the Lower Brixham National School. 


The original Brixham National School (whose Prize Day this was), was supervised by an elected Board of local people who had the power to intervene in almost every aspect of the school much to the head teacher's annoyance. However, in the matter of school attendance, these frequently conflicting sides came together as one. The various School Boards of a town jointly contributed to the wages of an Attendance Officer, always referred to locally as "The School Board Man" who roamed the streets after the school day had begun, collecting up truants and recording evidence to use against parents for future prosecution.


On this particular day in 1901, the proceedings began with an explanation by the presiding Chairman of the basis on which Brixham schools awarded prizes -  a small number were awarded for oral knowledge of the Scriptures, examined by the local Vicar, and for general classroom work, but the entire occasion was really a celebration of the number of times each child had been present during the past year thus securing financial stability for their school during the following year.


Medals, prizes or certificates were awarded and this had led to some mutterings among parents. The mutterings had obviously reached the Chairman's ear for, as he explained, some parents thought their children ought to receive medals on account of their being home for just half a day on account of illness but, he explained, medals could not be awarded under these circumstances because the words "Never absent" were embossed on them.

Miss F. E Perry was head mistress of the school at this time. The majority of the girls below were aged  between 6 and 12 in March 1901. The 1901 census return is a useful guide for researchers and, for example, reveals that Nellie Goad was 11 and Lena Mortimer was 9.


Scripture Prizes:

Ethel Mountain; Winifred Knight; Sarah Gempton; Polly Bartlett; Lottie Lowe; Alice King; Hilda Withycombe, Clara Hoare; Ellen Tucker; Ethel Bellamy; Annie Whiddon; Hilda Saunders; Florence Bellamy; Grace Salisbury.

Scripture Certificates:

Agnes Scoble; Lily Howard; Louisa Symons; Lydia Graham; May Ash; Ada Hazelwood; Susan James; Bessie Scoble; Daisy Lowe; Florence Wadling; Meta Newbery; Helen Small; Louisa Oakford; Eva Brim; Kate Gatzias; Florence Harris; Margaret Putt; Mabel Oakford; Clarice Mudge; Susie Mitchell; Mary Locke.

Prizes for general work:

Lily Howard; Annie Jourdain; Ada Hazelwood; Caroline Hart; Margaret Putt; Rhoda Blackmore; Nora Mahoney.

Medals and prizes for girls never absent from school:

Agnes Scoble; Sarah Johnson; Blanche Mitchell; Louise Symons; Nellie Goad; Bessie Scoble; Kate Wyatt; Florence Widdicombe; May Ash; Blanche Claxton; Annie George; Ellen Phillips; Elsie Baker; Alice Crees; Meta Newbery; Hilda Sydenham; Alice Scilley; Louisa Tuckerman; Tryphena Vass; Annie Chanter; Jessie Luscombe; Louisa Oakford; Winifred Winter; Elsie Maunders; Kathleen Northway; Elsie Lovis; Polly Pollyblank; Susie Mitchell; Lily Avery; Elizabeth Cole; Lena Mortimer; Olive Shepherd; Hilda Hockings; Susie Lovis; Elizabeth Connor; Violet Baker; Elsie Johnson; Louisa Mitchelmore; Ethel Sydenham; Kathleen Burman; Alice Northcott; Mabel Oakford.

Prizes for girls absent once only:

Lottie Meyers; Mary Dart; Elsie Parsons; Florence Hoskings.

Absent twice:

Margaret Tozer; Kate James; Hilda Radford; Lily Scriven; Lily Dart; Alice Weymouth; Mary Locke; Barbara Shepherd.

Absent three times:

Martha Hazelwood; Edith Locke; Gladys Cronin; Isabel Tarrant.

Absent four times:

Edith Hockings; Annie Lovell; Lavinia Turner; Edith George; Emily Bulley; Nella Binham; Dollie Knowles.


Alice Stookman; Ethel  Mondon; Ethel Ellis; Alice Clatworthy; Susan James; May Lovell; Olive Holland; Ida Jackman; Florence Wadling; Daisy Lowe; Caroline Hart; Ina Green; Elizabeth Ryder; Emma Tabb; Florence Harris; Annie Luscombe; Winifred Hockings; Elsie Matthews; Edith Hardy; Eliza Tooley; Elsie Widdicombe; Kathleen Cronin.


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