Archive Item of the Month – May 2012

On 24th May the St Paul’s Practising School Old Boys’ Association held their annual reunion in the Archive Room. The Practising School was located in what are now the Clegg and Bodley buildings at FCH, and local boys were educated there from 1854 to 1951, when the school closed and its pupils were moved to Elmfield School in Cheltenham. Students at Cheltenham Training College (which became St Paul’s College at what is now FCH campus in 1921) practised their teacher training skills on these local school children.
The Old Boys’ Association was reformed in 2007 thanks to the efforts of local historian and old boy Ron Prewer. The Association meets once a year in the Archive Room, where old pupils are able to browse the archive documents held on the Practising School, look at displays compiled by archive staff, and catch up with fellow pupils.
Our archive item this month is one of the school journey log books that were lovingly compiled by teaching staff from the Practising School after their annual trip away to exotic climes such as Lyme Regis or Paignton (University Archive reference UA7/1/47).

From 1929 to 1938 and 1948 to 1956, final year boys at the Practising School (and later Elmfield School) went on the school journey which lasted for a week. Often there were enough pupils to run two trips over consecutive weeks. Parents of the pupils had to pay for their son to go on the trip, although there were hardship funds available for those in need to ensure as many boys as possible had their week by the sea.
The trips were intended to be educational as well as recreational, and the boys visited various sites of historic or natural interest and completed planned activities. They also had plenty of opportunity to paddle in the sea and play on the beach.
The school journey logbooks compile a written report of the trip along with being a photographic and artistic record. Some log books have an accompanying art supplement including work done by the boys (who were on average 14 years old). The conditions of these are so good the work looks like it was done yesterday rather than up to 80 years ago.
The log books also include a guide book for the journey that was given to each pupil (although some of these are now sadly missing), and comments from people such as the Principal of St Paul’s College, the governing body of the school and external inspectors who were shown the log books.
The Vice-Principal of St Paul’s College from 1924-1945 (A. H. Mann), said the benefits of the trips were great and included fresh air, good food, regular sleep and beneficial recreation and he was convinced that “there will come a time when the community will recognise the great value of these journeys and will take steps to make them accessible to all children”.
For more information on the Practising School and the associated records we hold please visit our website http://insight.glos.ac.uk/departments/lis/archives/Pages/StPauls.aspx
List of school journeys:
1929 – Sandown, Isle of Wight
1930 – Sandown, Isle of Wight
1931 – Lyme Regis
1932 – Sandown, Isle of Wight
1933 – Hopton, Great Yarmouth
1934 – Lyme Regis
1935 – Lyme Regis
1936 – Westward Ho!
1937 – Sandown, Isle of Wight
1938 – Lyme Regis
1948 – Sandown, Isle of Wight
1949 – Lyme Regis
1950 – Paignton
1951 – Puckpool, Ryde
As Elmfield School:
1952 – Seaton, South Devon
1953 – Westward Ho!
1954 – Paignton
1956 – Seaton, South Devon
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