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Lescudjack School's First Headmistress 1915


Staff member
Written by J. S. Ellis, (Headmistress, Girls' School, 1915-1938) Credits Ray and Rhys Owens

The Lescudjack School took the place of the old Wesleyan School in Chapel Street, which had been condemned by H.M. Inspectors, because of its lack of Recreation space. Since the Wesleyan Authority was unable to meet the expense of rebuilding, the Penzance Education Authority was obliged to supply the new building, and the Lescudjack Council School was the result.
The old Wesleyan School was mixed—Boys, Girls and Infants—under one Head Mr. Barratt, but the new school provided three separate Departments each with its own Head: Boys, Mr. Barratt; Infants, Mrs. Birch; Girls, myself.
The new school was officially opened on 12th February, 1915. On the afternoon of that day the Boys and Girls of the Wesleyan School were lined up in Chapel Street with the members of the Staff. They were marched up to Lescudjack and were assembled in the Hall, where they were addressed by the Mayor and welcomed by the new Managers, who were gathered on the platform. They were then dismissed and the Wesleyan School as an Education establishment ceased to exist.

On the following Monday morning 15th February, 1915, the scholars of the old school reassembled in their appointed Departments and re-organization began. My first morning was almost entirely occupied with admission business. I can't remember the number on Roll to start, but we formed four very comfortable classes, and work went forward very smoothly and pleasantly.
We were very proud of our school. Mr. Drewett was the architect, and he had modelled it on good schools he had visited in big towns and Cities and its design was much in advance of any other school in the County at that time. The accommodation for the Heads and for the members of the Staff was especially appreciated. These rooms were planned to be furnished with suitable chairs and carpeted floors, but the economies caused by 1914-18 War made anything, but the bare necessities impossible. The heating too was far from satisfactory and supply of fuel was limited, but in spite of these discomforts we were well pleased with what we had.
The schools now have a much wider scope of interest than in my time. The Infant School children were promoted to the Senior Department at the age of seven years and the leaving age was fourteen years.
Scholarships were awarded to successful pupils between the ages of eleven and twelve, and only those girls, whose parents were anxious to obtain further education for their daughters, sat for the examination.
We had no dinner duties. Country children brought their lunch and on rough, rainy days were allowed to eat it in the little upstairs room adjoining the Staff room. The school caretaker was obliging enough to give them an eye and they were sent out when they had finished their meal.
Morning milk was introduced sometime before I left, but at first only those who wanted it were supplied and they paid for it.
Cookery classes started about ten years after the opening of the school, and the Classes were held at a Centre in Chapel Street.

I wonder if it will interest you to learn that during our first year at the School a Company of Yorkshire Recruits was in training on the Recreation Ground, in full view of our playground. A stuffed sack, suspended from a cross-bar for bayonet practice, greatly intrigued my niece and the children generally, and she insists that I mention it. Also I frequently heard the tramp, tramp of a soldier down the corridor, come to beg chalk chiefly, and sometimes drawing pins.
Soon after the soldiers left, the Recreation Ground was dug over and vegetables were planted there, and it was sometime after the War ended before it was restored to order.
I must mention my corridor. It gave me great pleasure to walk its length and to stand on the steps at the end and " view the landscape o'er "—lovely country views from all the side windows and a glorious expanse at the end.
The Treneere Estate was planned for development, but work did not start until the year after my retirement, so I was allowed to enjoy it to the end, for which I was very thankful.

Lescudjack Starting Staff 1915
Boys': Head, Mr. Barratt plus 4 Assistants.
Girls': Head, J. S. Ellis plus 3 Assistants
Infants': Head, Mrs. Birch plus 3 Assistants.
Boys' Assistants: Mr. B. Wright, Miss Eddy (from Old Wesley an) plus 2 ? new members.
Girls' Assistants: Miss Cooke (old Wesleyan) plus Miss Phillips and Miss White, both newly appointed.

Infants' Assistants: I think that Mrs. Birch brought all the old members of her Wesleyan Staff forward with her. I can't remember their names.
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