Church Street School - July 1914

These excellent and evocative pictures of the school have survived as part of a folio of photographs which includes a dated boys' class group.
As the photographs are bound as a folio, it is thought likely that they are all dated to July 1914.
Also part of the folio is a photograph of the staff, signed by all those shown.

Church St and Church Lane

Although this picture, showing the entrance to the main section of Church Street Schools on the left, is part of the folio dated July 1914, it must have been a particularly wet and grey summer's day !

The main building on the left, part of the original Board School development which opened in January 1883, was built to provide infants' classes on the ground floor and girls' classes on the first floor. The single-storey boys' school can be seen behind the caretaker's home (in the centre of the picture)

The lane is Church Lane which crossed between Church Street and Middle Street with some older housing on the side opposite the school. The basic shape of the entrance to this lane, now the entrance to the carparking areas, together with the main building and caretaker's house, have been pleasantly retained as part of the apartment complex that now occupies the site.

On the right of the photograph, with an address of 25 Church Street, are the premises then of F O Lanes & Co, grocers, but operated in earlier years by Joseph Pears. This business had been taken over by the Lanes family several members of which had moved to Beeston in the years preceeding 1901. The family originated from Kirton in Lincolnshire where William Lanes operated as a butcher up until his apparent death in about 1875, aged about 45. Charlotte Lanes, his widow then moved to Essex where she operated a laundry for nearly 20 years. By 1891, her son, Frederick Osborne Lanes, then aged 20, was working as a grocery assistant in Stamford. By 1901, Frederick and his younger brother Henry James had each moved to Beeston with their respective families, as had Charlotte along with her daughter Florence. Frederick operated the grocery business, Henry worked as a commercial traveller in the flour trade, living on Cromwell Road, while Charlotte settled first on Glebe Street and later at 6 Park Street (which, significantly, she named "Kirton Holme"). By 1911 - and therefore well before the date of the photograph - the grocery business was moved to 7 Chilwell Road and was still there in 1920. This may explain the "For Sale" that may be seen on the wall in the photograph.

By the early 1930s, the business at Chilwell Road had been acquired by Joseph G Hands who operated thare for many years; in a later form it operated as "Hands Café".

In a further twist to the story, it is interesting that Charlotte Lanes' long-term boarder - at both Glebe Street and Park Road, in turn - was Alice M Greensmith who came to Beeston in November 1898, from Tiverton, Devon, to take up the position of Deputy Head of Church Street Girls' School and became its Head in June 1909 until she retired in 1930.

Church St classroom

This picture shows a typical classroom at Church Street, apparently within the Boys' School. The desks are the long type, with an iron frame and an integral bench seat, each of which accommodated a row of perhaps six or eight boys - often totalling fifty or more in the class. Arranged along the partition is a collection of preserved butterflies or insects with other illustrations designed to develop an interest in nature studies. The wall on the right has pictures which look remarkably like scenes of old Beeston (even then ?) and overhead the gas lighting stands ready to provide illumination during the darker months of the year. It is in rooms like this that knowledge was gained to serve for a lifetime; it was perhaps rather bleak by present day standards, but it was certainly progress and most came out of it with at least a basic education which had not always been available in the then not-so-distant past.

Thanks to Richard Sutton for offering these pictures and the others in the folio. The folio is from the collection of his late parents, John and Marjory Sutton
and is likely to have come previously from the household of Frederick and Elsie Coe (née Paxton), who appear in the staff photograph.

Comments and further input are welcome

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