View Full Version : Daft basic questions!

25-04-2009, 10:29 PM
Can anyone tell me please whether it would have been likely/possible or even normal for someone born after the 1914 Act, which raised the school leaving age to 14, to leave at 12? I am SURE my Grandad (born 1916) said that he left school at 12 to work in a bird cage factory in South East London.

Would a single school in those days cater for children right up to 14 (or 12 in Grandad's case!)?

Also, am I right in assuming that a child - or at least a working class one - would attend the most local school?

Finally (for now at least!), if that assumption is correct, has anyone any pointers as to how to identify where the nearest school/s were to a particular area circa 1928 (in this case, Camberwell, London) and where/if I could find any school records for my Grandad and his siblings? I know where my Nan went to school, it was the same place as her mother and as my own mum, but know nothing of Grandad's education. All I do know is that for a man who left school so young his intellect, spelling, maths and knowledge were staggering.

As I am sure many of you can understand, there is so much I wish I had asked my wonderful Grandad when he was still with us... and so much more I wish I could share with him now.

Thank you.

25-04-2009, 10:35 PM
My dad born in Lewisham, Kent always told us he went to work at age 14 (apprenticeship age) could very well be true BUT he also told us that he walked 3 miles to school through more snow than they got in Ontario. That I never believed! I don't think they get much snow if any in Kent and there are schools within a mile of any neighbourhood! :D

Age 12 and working could be possible if he could get away with lying about his age eg his size, but I always thought a parent signed permission papers to denture children into apprenticeship?

Perhaps some good minds will shed some light on this?

25-04-2009, 10:51 PM
Thank you both. V Wells, I have family in Ontario and I know Kent well... and I don't believe that there was ever more snow in Kent either!

If I recall rightly, Grandad had to work as his mother was ill and often bedridden (though she lived til 1949 but from what Grandad said of his father maybe hers wasn't such a daft ploy!). He gave the impression that his work was full-time. He didn't stay there long but went on to be a runner for a photographic company which took pictures at sports events and remembered Stamford Bridge (Chelsea FC) as being heaving with 60,000+ crowds. He told me this in the 1970s when I was bemoaning that my team could find neither support nor the net. After working for the photographers for a short time he found his niche as a master butcher.

That link Finbar... our kids REALLY don't know how lucky they are!

26-04-2009, 12:05 AM
our kids REALLY don't know how lucky they are!

My brother in law was in the Police Force, and for a short time he went round schools talking about the work of the police. A bit of history was involved - old uniforms and accoutrements - and one of the things was a very small pair of handcuffs, not for the apprehension of young criminals but for handcuffing children to machines in the mills when they had tried to abscond. My grandfather did start work down the pit when he was twelve, but he was born in 1883, and my grandmother born in 1886 went into service as a kitchen maid age 13


Peter Goodey
26-04-2009, 6:57 AM
has anyone any pointers as to how to identify where the nearest school/s were to a particular area circa 1928 (in this case, Camberwell, London) and where/if I could find any school records for my Grandad and his siblings?.

The London Metropolitan Archives have maps showing school catchment areas. At least one edition has been digitised but I think it may just be on their intranet. After identifying it, the school records are on the catalogue. This is a fairly straightforward job.

I realise it's a bit far for you so if you're not planning to visit, you'll have to get someone to do it for you.

Chasing Caseys
26-04-2009, 8:21 AM
Spangle, you could also try Peckham Library http://tiny.cc/here246 (long link shortened) as it looks like they hold some of the local family history information.

The core of the collection is the local government records of the area, the civil parishes and the metropolitan boroughs. Some of the records of the former civil parishes go back to the 16th century.

They include vestry minutes, taxation records and poor law records. We also hold copies of London County Council, and London school board minutes. Some local organisations have also deposited their records including businesses, some non conformist churches and early schools. We also hold, on microfilm, copies of records held elsewhere, most notably census returns and parish registers.

Good luck

Colin Moretti
26-04-2009, 8:22 AM
SOG has published An Index of London Schools and their Records which lists schools alphabetically by name and also has them listed by postal district. Each entry gives the address, date(s) of opening and closing, any changes of name, the LMA call number for the records (where appropriate), the records that survive and dates they cover.


26-04-2009, 9:12 PM
Gosh, thank you all. I certainly intend to go back home to London in the summer and shall be in Peckham, paying my respects to my Nan and Grandad and wandering round the park there again so the Library is a great start. I'll also weave the LMA into my ever-increasing list of places to visit.

What's more I shall look out for the book too. It will be particularly interesting to read given that it concerns schools in my own city. Thank you!

06-05-2009, 2:34 AM
I have a collection of several birth certificates of my ancestors and one thing I notice is that they were obtained at the age of 14. I figured it had something to do with having to prove their age when they went to work. Maybe I am wrong about that but seems quite likely to me.

06-05-2009, 7:10 PM
I think they needed them too if they were starting an apprenticeship.

My father was formerly adopted at the age of 16 having been taken in by an aunt and uncle as a baby but needing his certificate to start his apprenticeship