Hartismere School

Est. 1451. An outstanding coeducational secondary school & sixth form college and England's first academy

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Winters at Hartismere: extracts from the School Log Book of 1935 -1950

Bothered by the freezing temperatures of January 2016? Read about the winters of eighty years ago, and how people coped in Hartismere ...

1937 Jan 18th

Children commenced gargling their throat re influenza.

Jan 21st

Case of measles reported.

Jan 25th

Excluded all children who had not had measles. No. present 79 out of 227. PerCent = 34%. Exclusion by order of S.M.O. Jan 26th Mr Ford (the Headmaster) absent, sick. F. A. Thorpe in charge. Excluded 2 more children or receipt of statements by parents that the children had not had measles. No. present 71 = 31%.

Jan 27

Attendance 65 = 28.6%

Jan 28

Attendance 55 = 24%

Jan 29

[Mr Ford] Returned to duty today. Attendance 48. 20%.

Feb 1st

Attendance still low, owing to influenza. 113/227= 49%.

Feb 19th

Attendance has improved and the children seem to be recovering from influenza.



Very cold wind from NE. Freezing hard all day. Many children absent.


Cold continues. Many children absent but v. good considering weather.


Very deep snow. A good attendance though not enough to mark. Some of the children walked from Mellis, Occold and Thorndon to be present. The afternoon was spent in games, and breaking up festivities.


Jan 26th

During the last 24 hrs 2.6 ins rain has fallen. Many children unable to be present. Number present am = 58, pm 45 out of 224. Miss Capon and Mr Bird not present. Unable to get through the flood. Received wire from Mr Bird re absence. This dinner time I received word from Mr Hayward that the water on the Redlingfield Road was rising and he was afraid to wait till 4 to take children home so I let them go at 12.30 pm. Similarly allowed Daisy Pettit, J. Symonds and F Woodrow to go home on the Redgrave Bus via Palgrave as the Wash at Mellis was too dangerous.

Jan 27th

Attendance 105/224. This is due to the floods on the Hoxne and Occold Roads which have not subsided yet.

Feb 1st

Annie Stammers complained of feeling sick. In view of the case of S.F. (scarlet fever) in school, I sent her home. Feb 2nd Absence of teachers makes TT rather difficult.

Feb 3rd

Mr Bullen called: Reported Hartnell children are suffering from G Measles. Annie Stammers, Eric Abbott, Pamela Stevens, J and S Cracknell and G Pegg as suffering from “flu”.

Feb 5th

Leonard Palmer sent to Isolation Hospital. S.F. Lionel Rush “ “ “ “

Feb 15th

The greenhouse is practically completed by the boys. Dr H. Pedler, S.M.O. called re outbreak of S.F.

Feb 20th

Another case of S.F. removed to Isolation Hospital. (The scarlet fever epidemic continued through the spring term.) During September children evacuated from London due to the war joined the Hartismere children: the local children were in school 6 mornings a week, 8.30 am till 12 noon, and the evacuees were in school six afternoons, 1 – 4.30 pm. Towards the end of the Christmas holidays, the Headmaster reports:

Dec 29th

Mr Nunn caretaker collapsed this morning owing to extreme cold. I have to act as caretaker and keep the heating apparatus going. 1940

Jan 8th

School opened again after Xmas holidays. Admitted several senior evacuees from surrounding village schools.

Jan 17th

Attendance 74/270. Severe snow.

Jan 18th

Attendance too low to mark. Severe frost and snowstorm.

Jan 22nd

V heavy fall of snow. Only 63 present.

Jan 26th

Not been able to mark all the week. Attendance 31%. This is the worst week I have ever experience for weather in any school.

Jan 29th

A very low attendance 100/270. A gale has blown the snow from the fields into the roads. School buses could not run as the drifts are several feet deep. Miss M May unable to get to school as the Occold Road is impassable.

Feb 16th

The attendance has been poor all the week – snow, slippery roads and influenza. And again in 1947 …

Jan 7th 1947

School opened after Xmas vacation. Numbers very low owing to snowstorm and bad roads. [The weather continued snowy through January and February.]

Feb 6th

Snowing all day. It will be very difficult for several children to get home as this day’s snow has made the drifts worse than ever. This is the worst we have had since Jan-Feb 1940.

March 6th

Blizzard all night. Mr Watson unable to get to school. An exceptional snow storm. Attendance 61/210. This included some children who walked from Mellis, Thornham, Braiseworth etc. Only Tye’s bus ran. Two girls walked 8 miles from Botesdale.