Contributions from the Children of the Local Primary School
They have drawn up a Timeline of the historical events that have happened in our area and undertaken research into various local landmarks, as shown below.
They have discussed the recent history of the school with Cynthia Rymer, a previous and much loved infants teacher who worked there, in a full- or part-time capacity, for no fewer than 40 years, beginning in 1951. Cynthia is very knowledgeable about local history and took groups of pupils for afternoon rambles, in order to learn about the natural and local history of our area, including the historic sites within Rylstone township.
Cracoe School Local History Project
As part of their local history projects, the class also researched the history of their own school, which dates back to 1853. They realised they had a fantastic primary evidence source in Cynthia, and each member of the class had two questions for the school’s former teacher. They were really excited to discover her stories.
One girl was shocked to discover that, ‘The children had a toilet that didn’t flush back in the 1950’s!’ Another was horrified to learn that the infants' room was only, 'five metres squared’. Having been mentioned as a necessary requirement during a 1952 inspection, Cynthia had to wait 54 years until the desperately needed extension to the infants' room was opened - by her - in 2006 (see photos).
Cynthia explained to another child that the school was freezing, with no heaters and that ice would form on the inside of the windows in winter; also that the dinners had to be transported to the school from another village and not cooked on the premises!
Somethings were better back then though, according to the young historians:
‘Cynthia told us that they had a school trip all the way down to London and they had LOADS of pets including snails, worms and guinea pigs!'
The positive benefits of this fact-finding mission were mutual. Cynthia admitted that the children, ‘have made my day!’ and the current Base Leader (Glenda Cumberland) is determined that, when the restrictions on visitors lift, Cynthia will be welcomed as a guest of honour into the school to see all the local history research that the children have done. They will also celebrate the fact that it will be 60 years since Cynthia joined the school staff.