Bringing past school days to life

A historic photograph is on display at Shipston Museum this summer – and you may find some familiar faces among the young pupils who gathered to be photographed in July 1954 outside what is now the Old School building on the Stratford Road.

This is all thanks to retired local commercial photographer Richard Sampson who recently discovered the picture among his files. ‘My ten-year-old son attended the school before it closed around 1980,’ he said. ‘I thought it might generate interest in the town, asking people to identify family or friends, sparking memories 70 years on.’

It seemed fitting to share this find in its anniversary year so Richard has donated the 4ft-long photo to the Museum where you can check it out for yourself. Maybe you will see some faces you recognise?

The discovery inspired the idea for a future exhibition about Shipston school – so start digging out those old photos to revive memories of past school days.

Of course, schooling in Shipston has a much longer history. Before the opening of this school in 1876, our town had two national schools: the girls and infants in New Street and boys in Sheep Street as well as smaller private establishments.

Those just about to start their summer holidays now may be thankful they are longer than in those early days when the Harvest Holiday was flexible depending on the weather and whether the crops were ready for reaping. There were additional leaves of absence for other rural reasons like acorn gathering, bark picking and hurdle making. This history is recorded in the 1986 Shipston-on-Stour from Old Photographs by Vivienne Griffin, librarian at Shipston for many years.

You can see the 1970 school photo at our Museum, weekends 12-4pm, Old Clark House, West Street, near the Council offices.

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