One member of my extended "Owen" family was Timothy Morgan Owen Shelby (1859-1954). Although he was the seventh of eight children in his family, in adulthood he appears to have become the family's 'father figure'; he also took on responsibilities within the community. He was a devout Christian and very much involved in Church matters locally. He qualified as a teacher and in 1893 became headmaster of Brymbo Church School (aka 'Brymbo National School'). He oversaw the running of the school during a turbulent period in its history (1907-1912) when it metamorphosed into Brymbo Council School. He remained as headmaster until his retirement in 1933.
Based largely upon Timothy's entries in the School Log Books, the following is an account of the history of the school during his headship. The selected extracts from the log are concerned with such items as the annual HMI visits and reports: some of the serious epidemics in the area, which not only disrupted attendance but occasionally forced the closure of the school: educational reforms, such as the introduction of pupil medical inspections and of school meals. It aims to outline the development of the school during this period, to reveal aspects of local social history and to illustrate how some external events affected the school. Since genealogical research prompted this account, there are also extracts that shed light on aspects of Timothy's personal life or which concern other family members. (Timothy's uncle, Timothy Morgan Owen, was the school's HMI up to 1895: Timothy's future wife, Bertha Powell, was on the staff of the school (1899-1905), as was his niece, Charlotte Miriam Labron (1908-1919), who died tragically young (see '2-6 July 1923'): his son, John Vivian Shelby, was a pupil at the school (see '21-25 July 1919'): the log also alludes to several deaths within Timothy's family.) The account mentions, only in passing, some of the routine occurrences, such as: visits from the vicar or from the curate; the delivery of reports to the school manager or to the Education Authority: the paying in of the weekly school cheque: attendance percentages and visits from the attendance officer: the weather: the holding of progress examinations: less serious illnesses: the admission of new pupils, which seemed to be ongoing throughout the year.
Interestingly, the log is surprisingly reticent and matter-of-fact about the major controversy surrounding the period when the school became a Council School but the local newspapers were not; there is a separate section dealing with this.
School log extracts are colour coded, dependant on whether they relate to: school: major external events: family history
The school logs reveal that it was a long teaching year. There were about four weeks off in the summer, about two weeks off at Christmas and a long weekend off at Easter but there were other, brief holidays, such as for Whitsun, and the pupils were sometimes granted a day or a half-day's "good attendance holiday". The school year began at about the beginning of May. I believe there were only two occasions when corporal punishment was administered, both were before the turn of the century and both involved the whipping of two boys after they had played truant. In the early years, in addition to his other duties, Timothy would often be helping to train at least one pupil-teacher on his staff.
The item of paramount importance in the log appears to be the attendance figures which depended on the weather, epidemics of illness, the children being needed for planting or harvesting the local potato crop, local fairs, local "tea parties" [several were cited as lowering attendance but unclear if they were community or private events], local religious gatherings and, on at least one occasion, a problem in the coal pits. The attendance officer visited the school as a matter of routine and reported back to the Brymbo School Board on the percentage attendance figures for all the local schools; in 1900, on the basis of information supplied by that officer, the Board objected to the rate payers of Brymbo having to finance the education of children from outlying parishes.[Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register, 10 March 1900 (view)]
The number of teaching staff in the early years was three, in addition to the headmaster, and their absences were comparatively rare; such absences created considerably more work for Timothy. Occasionally teachers were borrowed from or lent to another local school and sometimes 'supply teachers' were made available.
10-14 April 1893: It being Dydd Llyn Pawb on Monday, the majority of the children went to the Pleasure Fair and a half-holiday had to be given in the afternoon. Up to Friday the attendance was very fair but in the afternoon a great number stayed away - owing to a rumour that they were all going to be vaccinated - and those who presented themselves were sent home.
[Current News (2017): In April 2018 Oriel Wrecsam plan to resurrect Dydd Llun Pawb (Everybody's Monday) - an almost forgotten tradition, unique to Wrexham.]
8-12 May 1893: Opened school with a very meagre attendance, many boys being absent attending the Annual Meeting of the Baptist Chapel.
A mother complained to me on Thursday morning of two of the boys - who were truanting - molesting her little daughter. In the afternoon, hearing one of the boys outside, I gave chase, caught him and severely thrashed him. The other boy has not made an appearance yet. ...
Staff for 1893-94: T.M.O. Shelby - Cert. Head Master, John Richards - Cert. 1st Year Papers, Ennis Hayes - Ex P.T., J. Ernest Rogers - P.T. (1st Year)
21-25 Aug 1893: Attendance for the week was fair but it would have been better if the "strike" had not taken place. Many boys stayed away to pick coal. ...
5-9 Nov 1894: Usual progress this week. Problems are being taught [sic]Standards III & IV. Mr. Richards, Senior Assistant Master, commenced Private Study on Thursday. he intends to take Second Year's Papers at Christmas.
The classes are now arranged as follows:
Standards IV, V, VI, VII, The Head Master
Standards II & III, Mr. Thomas Ex PT,
Standard I PT.
Timothy's deputy being away on study leave meant all the classes had to be distributed between the three remaining members of staff: Timothy, a newly qualified Pupil-Teacher and an unqualified Pupil-Teacher. (Mr Richards passed his exam, thus becoming a Certificated Teacher. He would take over the headship of the Church School in 1908, when Timothy took on the headship of the new Brymbo Council School.)
Prior to the 1902 Education Act, teacher training was generally undertaken under a pupil-teacher system, supervised by the headmaster. After the Elementary Education Act 1870 training took place at separate establishments called pupil-teacher centres, with teaching practice taking place at elementary schools. Training colleges became available during the 19th century. At 18 pupil-teachers could apply for the Queen's/King's Scholarship Examination. Successful scholars had the opportunity of attending residential training colleges for two or three years.
10-14 May 1897: The new work has been well started.
The headmaster has in addition to Standards V, VI & VII, to supervise Standard II which at present is in charge of a boy aged thirteen.
Average [attendance] for the week is good.
21-25 March 1898: The headmaster was absent on Wednesday owing to a family bereavement. [It was the funeral of his mother.]
23 Oct 1899: "Miss B Powell (Date of birth Dec 25th 1879) commences as Article 68 in this school. [Bertha and Timothy would marry in 1905]
5-9 Feb 1900: Miss Bertha Powell is helping in the Girls' Department and the Second Standard is, for the time being, in charge of Head teacher.
19-23 March 1900: Miss Powell returned from Girls' School on Monday.
18-22 June 1900: .... Miss Powell is approved under Article 68....
29 Apr-3 May 1901: The educational school year has been prolonged to the Summer Holidays - upon H.M. Inspector's decision. The financial year ended on Tuesday and New Registers were commenced on Wednesday. It is intended to promote the children after the summer holidays.
2-6 June 1902: Monday was given as a holiday in commemoration of the Declaration of Peace in the South African War.
23-27 June 1902: June 26th was fixed for Coronation Day.
On Wednesday afternoon we closed for the rest of the week.
Unfortunately the king was ill and the Coronation did not take place.
Of course, in those days there were no media other than newspapers to enable the general public to share such Royal events.
4-8 May 1903: The Prince of Wales paid a visit to Wrexham on Friday to unveil a Memorial Tablet - in memory of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers who died in South Africa - in the Parish Church. A holiday was given.
2-6 Nov 1903: The collieries in the neighbourhood are working badly and some boys are absent picking coal.
19-23 Sep 1904: The percentage of attendance for the week was 92.2, with an average of 185.4. Our staff is not sufficient for this number but notwithstanding this, good progress is being made.
31 July-4 Aug 1905: We are understaffed at present, Miss B Powell having left on Monday. [She and Timothy married soon afterwards]
The Head Teacher in addition to Standards V, VI & VII has to take charge of Stand. II. Under the circumstances it will be almost impossible to make any further progress.
6-10 Nov 1905: The headmaster was absent on Wednesday owing to the funeral of a relative. [Almost certainly the funeral of Timothy's uncle, Edward James Owen.]
According to the Bishop of St Asaph [The Cambrian, 17 Jan 1908 (view)] "nine out of fourteen of the old teachers" opted to stay at the Church school at the end of 1907 but the school log shows there was a teacher shortage earlier that year. "Miss G.J. Jones, much to my regret, terminated her duties on Thursday afternoon [28 Feb 1907]" so the following week: "The Head Master in charge of Standard II in addition to Sts V, VI & VII.". In fact five weeks elapsed before a replacement was provided, in the form of a Supply Teacher; this did little to ease the situation since, just as the Supply Teacher arrived, a teacher fell ill and would miss the next five weeks of school.
25-29 March 1907: ... Was not able to complete the second periodical examination, owing to lack of teachers, the Head Teacher being unable to leave the classes under his care. ...
26-30 Aug 1907: Re-opened on Monday [after the Summer Holidays]. Miss Davies, Supply Teacher, was not available to assist us, so three teachers again had to manage the whole school. A draft of twenty-three boys came in from the Infants' Department and the whole of the classes were re-arranged.
Frank A. Lawson [one of three of the pupils who sat the entrance exam for Wrexham County School] won the District Scholarship.
Frank was one of four pupils who left to start at Wrexham County School in September, just as two new teachers joined Timothy's staff.
By 1907, the local Council were seeking to remove the Church's influence from the school and to run it as a Council School, whilst retaining the school staff. It would lead to the most dramatic period in the school's history. Timothy was forced to begin running the new Council School in circumstances he could never have envisaged: the original Church school continued to operate in its existing premises and on a voluntary basis, retaining staff who, it had been anticipated, would transfer with Timothy. It would attract pupils that would otherwise have enrolled at the new school and it meant that the new school had to occupy temporary accommodation. In fact, Timothy's school had to be split between two separate sites, one of which was far from satisfactory, and this would continue for several years.
The last pair of pages in the 1902-08 School Log appear after the 1907 Christmas Holidays and were in a different hand.
6-10 January 1908: School reopened this morning with 101 boys present, of whom 89 were on the Register at Dec 31st 1907.
St.I, 13: St.II, 12: St.III, 21: St.IV, 21: Sts. V VI VII, 34.
J. Richards* commenced duties as Headmaster.
Lessons were proceeded with in accordance with the Time Table (approved by H.M.I. Oct 22nd 1902)
Staff: J. Richards (cert.)
C. Lloyd (art.50)
A.V. Venables (art.50)
Edwin Matthias (art.50)
Mr. H.A. Tilby, Rhyl, also assisted ...
... Edwin Matthias (art 50) finished duty on Friday.
[* J. Richards, who had been Senior Assistant Master working with Timothy for many years, was referred to above (5-9 Nov 1894). The issue of his salary is mentioned in the pages about the school dispute, here. It must have been very difficult for these two colleagues to find themselves in different camps during the dispute.]
13-17 January 1908: On Monday Miss N. Williams (art.50) & Mrs. A.E. Owen (art.68) commenced duty.
Several new boys admitted on Monday, the number on the books being now 116.
A.V. Venables finished on Monday, returning to College. ....
The figures given here disagree with those quoted by the Bishop of St Asaph (see, e.g. this article).
A new School Log Book commences and its first entry is the only reference Timothy made, in the school log, to the events which are described more fully here:
6-10 Jan 1908: a new Council School (Boys') was opened on Monday morning in temporary buildings, the L.E.A. having declined to maintain the local N.P. School after Dec: 31st 1907.
Classes I, II, III, IV are located in two rooms at the Brymbo Workmen's Institute and Classes V, VI, VII in a classroom at the Infants' Department of the Pentre Council School
The staff consists of T.M.O. Shelby, Head Teacher, John P. Humphreys, Art.50, Amy M. Lloyd Jones, Art.50 and Chas. R. Williams, Supplementary Teacher.
Eighty-eight scholars were admitted ...."
These or similarly shambolic 'temporary' arrangements for the Council School would continue until 1912 with Timothy dividing his time between different sites though, when the school was short-staffed and Timothy was required to cover lessons, this was not always possible.
There were more visitors than usual in January, and they included the Chairman of the Education Committee, who had played a large part in attempting to close the Church School. Timothy was also busy in the first weeks, ordering further equipment for the new school.
At the end of January 1908, Timothy was having to cover for a colleague who had influenza; that teacher, Miss M A Lloyd Jones, resigned on 21 February. Then, a week later, the log records: "On Friday afternoon Mr G R Williams terminated his duties here to my regret."
2-6 Mar 1908: Several deviations were made from the Time Table this week as the Head Teacher has been working alone with Classes I to IV. No one has yet been appointed to succeed the two teachers who have left.
A supply teacher took over those four classes a week later.
1 April 1908: Miss M C Labron [Timothy's niece] was one of two members of staff to commence duties that Wednesday, she as a Supplementary Teacher, the other as an Uncertified Teacher.
6-10 July 1908: .... On Friday morning Dr W.Ll. Williams made a medical inspection of the boys over thirteen years of age. Nineteen boys were examined. No serious defects were found in any pf them.
Dr Williams returned at the end of July 1909 to inspect "those boys whom he omitted to inspect on his previous visit". The Education (Administrative Provisions) Act of 1907 required education authorities to see that all schoolchildren under their care received a medical inspection. It was not until 1912 that schoolchildren were given free medical treatment.
27-31 July 1908: We broke up on Thursday morning for the Summer Holidays. As the National Eisteddfod is to be held at Llangollen this year during the week ending Sep. 5th, we were granted an extra week's holiday. School therefore is to re-open on Sep. 7th.
7-11 Sep 1908: [After the extended Summer Holidays]
We were unable to re-open on Monday owing to a great Singing Festival of the Methodists held at Llangollen. We therefore restarted on Tuesday ....
5-9 Oct 1908: The School Report (Organiser's Form) was forwarded to Ruthin on the 6th inst.
The Head Teacher continues to pay daily visits to the Upper Classes at Pentre.
29 March-1 April 1909: ... The Children's Act came into force on April 1st and the Head Teacher took the opportunity of explaining some of its salient features*.
The By-election in East Denbighshire necessitated a day's holiday on Friday.
[* Shopkeepers would be penalised for selling tobacco or alcohol to children and children begging was outlawed]
10-14 May 1909: ..... On Wednesday afternoon the Head Teacher was absent from school. ....
17-21 May 1909: The Head Teacher was absent on Thursday morning. This absence was due to his brother's death*, referred to last week.
[* This was Timothy's brother, Thomas Francis Shelby (1868-1909), who had died, unexpectedly, in Argentina.]
In October 1909, there were so many absences due to a measles epidemic that, on 22 October, an order was made by Wrexham Rural District Council to close the school until 15 November. On 13 November the closure was extended by a fortnight.
16-20 May 1910: On Thursday morning instructions were received from the Clerk to the District Managers to close the school on Friday, on the occasion of the funeral of his late Majesty Edward VII. This was done.
The Rhos Herald, 1st October 1910 reported:
THE NEW COUNCIL SCHOOL FOR BRYMBO.
THE TENDER ACCEPTED.
Eleven Tenders for the erection of the new Council School at Brymbo were considered by a Committee of the Denbighshire Education Authority, on Friday, and ultimately the lowest, that of Mr Robert Williams of Brymbo, for ₤7,900, was accepted.
The new building will provide accommodation for 430 elementary scholars, with departments for cookery, laundry, housewifery, manual training, and science The loan required for the purpose has already been authorised, and building operations will be commenced at once, as it is hoped to get the foundations in before the wintry weather arrives.
1910: Brymbo Council School Mixed Department
29 Aug-2 Sep 1910: The Boys' and Girls' Departments of the Brymbo Council School were opened after the Summer Holidays as a Mixed School, the Board of Education having given their consent to the amalgamation. The Bethel Schoolroom has been approved as a temporary building for the purpose of the amalgamation.
The Boys' Upper Classes remain at Pentre and the children who under ordinary circumstances would be transferred from the Infants' Department are retained there until the opening of the New School Buildings. [The staff list showed 2 certified teachers, 2 uncertified teachers, 2 supplementary teachers and a student teacher, in addition to the headmaster.]
27-31 March 1911: ... Head Teacher gave two lessons on The Census and The Census Forms to the Upper Classes on Thursday and Friday.
12-16 June 1911: ... On Wednesday morning Dr. Mrs. K.R. Drinkwater, after due notice, medically examined the boys (14 in number) and girls (16 in number) who were 13 years old. ...
Intrigued by the appearance of a female doctor, I delved further into her history and a page about her and her husband can be seen here.
5-9 Feb 1912: The Head Teacher met the Managers on Wednesday in the New School. The question of necessary furniture and pictures for the various rooms was discussed.
18-22 March 1912: There is considerable distress in the district owing to the Miners' Strike and an influential committee has opened a Soup Kitchen at the Workmen's Institute. Dinner has been provided every day during the week for all children who needed it and the number from this school who took advantage of the free meal was seventy. The dinners are much appreciated.
The managers take a keen interest in the movement.
'Soup tickets' continued to be distributed and the uptake rose to 90 the following week.
1-5 April 1912: Soup tickets were given out each day including Good Friday and Saturday. ...
Preparations were made for leaving our temporary schoolroom at the end of this week.
On Thursday at noon we broke up for the Easter Holdays.
8-12 April 1912: [After the short Easter Holiday]
Opening of the New Council Buildings, April 12th 1912.
Glorious weather favoured the opening ceremony which was performed by Lady Morgan in the presence of a large and representative gathering.[Dignitaries were listed]
After the children had sung "Oh God our help in ages past", Miss Williams, daughter of the buildre of the school, presented Lady Morgan with a silver key suitably inscribed. Lady Morgan opened the school door, saying, "For the education of the children of Brymbo, for the advancement of Wales, for the prosperity of the British Empire, and for the glory of Almighty God, I now declare the school open."
A public meeting was then held in the large central hall which was densely packed.
The hymn "Arglwydd iesu dysg i'm gerdded" was sung and the Rev. Gwilym Thomas offered prayers.
[After speeches and the hymn "hen wlad fy nhadau", tea was served in the classrooms to the visitors and children.
15-19 April 1912: The children re-assembled at the New Schools on Monday morning. Standard I were admitted into the Mixed Department. The boys numbered 11 and the girls 12. During the week we admitted, besdies these, twenty-four children.
Mr S.G. Hughes was present to welcome the scholars into the new building on Monday morning at 9 a.m. He hoped they would be very happy in their new rooms.
The school quickly settled into a routine, initially with more visitors than usual and with new equipment still arriving. Plans for a new garden were initiated.
Pupils were continually being admitted and others were leaving the school but the following entry highlighted the issue of the school leaving age. At the time, the school leaving age was 12; it was not until the Education Act 1918 that education became compulsory from age 5 to age 14 and part-time education compulsory from then until age 18. However, the medical examinations were for pupils aged thirteen. The implication is that there were pupils up to the age of fourteen at the school. An article in Llais Llafur, 28 March 1914 (view) shed interesting light on the variations in the leaving age that existed, on Supplemntary teachers and more:
The idea seems general that English children are required to attend school till they reach the age of 14, and are taught by qualified teachers. There are still many areas where the statutory leaving age is 13, and some where it is 12. Moreover, in many schools children may be, for nearly half of their short school life, in the care of 'supplementary' teachers. These are persons whose only qualifications are that they are (i) over 18, (ii) re-vaccinated, and (iii) approved by His Majesty's inspector.
6-10 May 1912: .... Two children were admitted on Monday and two left on Friday afternoon. They were fourteen years of age. ...
10 June 1912: ... Notice was received on Thursday that Dr. Katharine R. Drinkwater would visit the school on Tuesday the 18th of June to medically inspect the children over 13 years of age. ...
The Head Teacher left school at 2.30 on Monday afternoon to attend the funeral of his father-in-law.
The doctor was unable to visit then as she was ill. She examined 12 boys and 13 girls later that month.
28 April-2 May 1913: The Weslyans held a "cymanfa ysgolion"* on Monday afternoon and school was closed in consequence. ...
['cymanfa ysgolion' is an assembly of Sunday schools for catechizing, singing of anthems, etc., followed by an evening service. These were held annually and are mentioned several times in the school log. As with similar gatherings, for example by the Methodists, the school is closed to allow some of the children to attend.]]
19-23 May 1913: One of our girls was buried on Wednesday afternoon. She, Elizabeth A Roberts, suffered from inflammation of the brain. Teachers and scholars sent a wreath.
2-6 June 1913: Dr. Katharine R. Drinkwater held her medical examination on Monday morning. Fifteen boys over thirteen years of age and fifteen girls of the same age were examined and in addition he eyesight of 4 boys and 6 girls was tested.
[It became increasingly common for pupils to be sent to a specialist for further eye tests after a school medical examination.]
30 June-4 July 1913: By Thursday's post we received from the Organiser a copy of H.M. Inspector's report upon the instruction in Gardening. It reads as follows:
"The garden is part of the school premises on a gentle slope above the playground, divided from the public road on two sides by a high brick wall and from the playground by a low wall of stone.
The school is new and the garden is "made" ground. A visit of advice and consultation was paid on the 1st May 1912 when plans of laying out and cropping were discussed with the Head Teacher and agreed upon and also the extent of possible correlation.
These plans have been followed and carried out as far as time has permitted. The Head Teacher, his Gardening Assistant, and the boys are enthusiastic and more has been achieved in the time than was anticipated.
There are 14 plots each about 30ft by 10ft in charge of 14 boys. There is a plot for raising seedlings, for transplanting, a border round the high walls which is being prepared for a collection of herbs, fruit, propagation beds, etc. Then there is a flower border topping the low wall. A collection of perennials is being formed in this, interspersed with some annuals and wall plants. There are some large tubs, painted a suitable colour, in the playground, planted at present with summer bedding stuff. Eventually, they are to be furnished each with an ornamental shrub.
The boys read a book on gardening and the Board of Agriculture Leaflets in Class. The practical work is well correlated with writing, arithmetic, drawing and some woodwork.
Meteorological records are kept. There are only 6 hoes. More are wanted for the number of boys because hoeing is so important an operation and it is desirable that all should be constantly employed. There is no land tape for measuring provided by the Authority."
The garden proved to be a huge success, with regular lessons not just on cultivation but also using the garden as the focus for arithmetic, drawing, etc. Visitors came to look at the garden on a fairly regular basis, either to offer expert advice or to admire it. Its popularity with the pupils helped to maintain good attendance figures.
16 Jan 1914: Copy of H.M.I. Report
School inspected on 16th, 19th and 20th Jan 1914.
"This school after meeting in inconvenient temporary buildings for a long time was finally housed in the present admirable premises in April 1912.
The Handicraft & Domestic Subjects' rooms, the asphalt playground, the school garden, the shelter in the basement, the bright and commodious classrooms with their excellent framed pictures, the large central hall, which is so helpful in promoting the corporate life of the scholars, all combine to bring the school thoroughly abreast of modern requirements.
Mixed Department. This Department is worthily fulfilling the true functions of an Elementary School. The tone and discipline are of the best kind and there is total absence of harshness in the relations between teachers and children. The Head Teacher and his staff work harmoniously together, the work proceeds most smoothly and the children's attention is easily secured and retained.
The syllabus of work is particularly wide and well balanced and many details testify to the Head Teacher's forethought in arranging for the due co-ordination of the ordinary class subjects with such practical subjects as Gardening, Woodwork, etc. In view of the important local industry this seems to be a school where Metal-work might advantageously be taken.
The notes of lessons and records are all satisfactory, the written exercises are duly checked, the assessing of marks at the periodical examinations is done with great care and was in accord with the impressions left by the scrutiny of the work inspection. There is a proper sequence of methods and gradation 0f work from the lowest to the highest class. The various oral lessons heard, though varying in vigour and interest of matter were lucid and suitable and were not confined to a mere imparting of information but aimed also at leading the pupils to see the why and wherefore of things. Untidiness and poor handwriting are very rare in any of the classes and though an occasional weak speller or halting reader is to be met, these two subjects are also creditable throughout the school.
The children manipulate reasonable figures with pleasing accuracy and the oral arithmetic of the upper classes is distinctly good and short methods of calculation are very well known. The greatest unevenness of attainment is to be found in Standard II which is a large class consisting of children promoted from the Infants in two drafts at long intervals during the last educational year.
Now that the senior pupils are learning to make use of their excellent school library it will no doubt be possible to allow more scope in future for individual efforts in composition and for imaginative expression. The practice of rejecting slipshod answers in the oral lessons even from Standard I upwards is of great assistance in developing the power of expression.
The attention paid to the mending of garments is a useful feature of the course in Needlework. A sewing machine for the use of the oldest girls would be a valuable adjunct.
Not one of the subjects in the comprehensive scheme of work has been neglected and the satisfactory nature of the work generally can only have been attained by devoted and persistent efforts."
12-16 Feb 1917: The Head Teacher made a special appeal for support for the War Loan. the amount expended in buying War Savings Certificates this week was ₤164.12.6.
19-23 Nov 1917: ... On Thursday morning the Rev. T. Talwrn Jones and Mr. S. G. Hughes called and suggested we should have a holiday to celebrate the great British victory at the Battle of Cambrai - fought on Tuesday - and we decided to close school at noon on Friday.
4-8 March 1918: As the L.E.A. had concented to the closure, school was closed for the whole of the week except Monday, to enable the Teachers to take charge of the Rationing Scheme for butter and Meat in this District.
The public applied for the Application Forms at the School and the whole of the Staff was engaged in correcting and filling up the same.
10-14 June 1918: The attendance was good up to Wednesday afternoon when we closed for the rest of the week, so that the Teachers could help the Public to fill up their Forms of Application for the National Ration Books.
21-25 July 1919: The results of the late Examination for entrance into Wrexham County school were published. John V. Shelby [Timothy's son], was second on the list and was awarded the District Scholarship.
10-14 Nov 1919: Tuesday, the 11th Inst., was the first anniversary of the Armistice. The children were assembled in the Central Hall at 10.55 and at 11 a.m. stood still for two minutes in silent homage to the men who died, and in thanksgiving for the peril passed. The King's letter had been read to the scholars prior to 11 c'clock. The effect of the silence was solemn and impressive.
The school similarly commemorated Armistice Day every year thereafter.
15-19 Dec 1919: Miss Labron and Mr S M Jones left us on Friday. ... I much regret their departure. All the scholars were assembled in the Central Hall on Friday morning and, on their behalf, the Headmaster presented Miss Labron, who is getting married, with a case of fish knives & forks, and a trinket set. ...
We broke up at noon on Friday for the Christmas Holidays.
9-13 Feb 1920: One of Class V girls, Olive A Edwards, was taken to the Fever Hospital, Wrexham, on Sunday afternoon. She has Diptheria.
16-20 Feb 1920: I regret to state that Olive A Edwards died from diptheria. Her funeral took place on Wednesday. Teachers and scholars sent a wreath.
Another little girl, Matilda Williams, was taken to the Fever Hospital on Sunday last.
Diptheria is spreading in the neighbourhood, and because of this all children suffering from sore throats have been excluded.
The following Monday, a nurse came to examine the throats of all those who had returned from absence the week before and all those with fresh instances of sore throats. Dr. Lamb, the Medical Officer of Health for Wrexham Rural District, also called in that day and he closed the school from noon the next day until 15 March.
21-25 June 1920: There was a further decline in the attendance partly owing to sickness. Scarlet Fever is responsible for the absence of three children and Diptheria for three.
23 Aug-3 Sept 1920: School closed by order of the Medical Officer of Health of Wrexham Rural Sanitary Authority on account of Diptheria & Scarlet Fever.
When the school re-opened a week later, the Wrexham Rural MOH visited to examine children's throats and to take swabs from several of them, as well as from the teachers.
15 Nov- 24 Dec 1920: The school was closed by the Wrexham Rural MOH, initially for a fortnight but this was extended to Christmas Eve due to the prevalence of Diptheria.
7-11 Feb 1921: Head Teacher left school on Tuesday morning at 10.30 to visit a sick sister. He returned before noon. He left school on Friday afternoon at 3.35 to attend a funeral. [Timothy's sister, Sarah Ann Shelby died in 1923 (see below), probably from TB and may have been ill then. No member of Timothy's immediate family died in 1921.].
18 Feb-4 March 4 1921: The School Library was enlarged this week by thirty five books, some of them being the gift of the Head Teacher and Scholars, but the major portion was provided by the proceeds from an entertainment given by a few of the girls a few weeks ago.
16-20 May 1921: Monday was Whit Monday and school was closed for that day. Our usual Whit holiday has been postponed on account of the free meals* which are provided every day. Nine applications to sit the forthcoming Scholarship Examn for entrance into Wrexham County Schools, were sent by Monday's post. The attendance officer called on Wednesday. Dr. Lamb visited on Friday afternoon.
Edith Cunnah, St. I, was taken to the Fever Hospital on Saturday afternoon; she has Diptheria.
* The 1906 Education Act entitled local authorities to provide food for poor children, financed out of local rates, but by 1912 only 50% of authorities were doing so.
30 May-3 June 1921: A few cases of Mumps were reported this week. Amy Peake, suffering from Diptheria, was taken to the Isolation Hospital on Friday.
Nine children, five boys and four girls, sat the Scholarship Examn for entrance to Wrexham County School, on Friday and Saturday. Two girls sat the Examination for Intending Elementary School Teachers.
13-17 June 1921: Another little girl, Jennie Davies, of St I, has been taken to the Isolation Hospital and her sisters have been excluded. Seven children have been absent all week because of Diptheria.
Report by H.M. Inspectors on Inspections on 21st Dec 1921 and Jan 26th & 27th 1922.
"The tone and discipline remain excellent and reflect much credit upon the Head Teacher's personality and influence. The children seem very happy in school and are anxious to please and excel in their work. Listlessness and apathy appear to be rare among them.
A comprehensive and well-balanced scheme of work is followed and the teaching, on the whole, energetic & interesting.
Like others in the district, this school has suffered of recent years owing to prolonged closures for epidemics. In addition, some of the more experienced members of the staff were replaced by younger assistants who were handicapped by their lack of experience but who have been steadily improving in teaching efficiency and in confidence. In spit of these drawbacks a very praiseworthy standard of work has been maintained though there is considerable unevenness of attainments in the lower classes more especially in Standard II, the less gifted scholars finding difficulty with Arithmetic & Spelling. It is to the credit of the school that careful attention is devoted to the more backward children and that the classification is judiciously contrived for this purpose.
The Reading & Recitation are in most cases very creditable and the sweet singing of the upper school deserves particular mention.
The Authority's Gardening expert reports favourably on last year's work in the school garden. In the higher standards interesting lessons are given on the more salient episodes and characters in European History. Drawing is not among the best of the school subjects here."
20-24 Feb 1918: The Managers held a special meeting on Wednesday afternoon. They decided to grant a day's holiday on Tuesday next in accordance with the King's wish. Princess Mary is to be married on that day.
Wednesday afternoon. Mch 1st is also to be a holiday in commemoration of St. David.
23-27 April 1923: Acting under instructions from the Education Office, Ruthin, school was closed on Thursday, April 26th, the wedding day of His Royal Highness the Duke of York.
His Majesty the King had expressed to the President of the Board of Education a desire that a whole holiday should be given in all schools that day.
2-6 July 1923: The Head Teacher was absent on Monday morning attending the funeral Of Mrs. C. M. Morgan who, a few years ago, was a valued member of the Staff [She was his niece, who, as Miss Labron, had taught at the school from 1908 until 1919; both she and her husband had died from TB.]
29 Oct-2 Nov 1923: On Friday we commenced at 1 p.m. instead of 1.30 to enable a hundred children to attend, at the The Parcian, Wrexham, the Welcome Ceremony to the The Prince of Wales on his visit to lay the Foundation Stone of the new infirmary - the Wrexham & East Denbighshire War Memorial Infirmary.
From the end of 1923 until August 1924, there were a series of messages that some might say were fairly typical of certain educational administrative bodies:
5-9 Nov 1923: By Thursday's post a communication embodying the following resolutions was received from the Education Office, Ruthin.
"(1) That the present arrangement with regard to School Terms be discontinued.
(2) That for the purpose of School Attendance the duration of a School Term in an Elementary School shall be a calendar month, and that a child attaining the age of 14 during a calendar month shall be entitled to leave at the end of that month.
(3) That the foregoing resolution comes into operation on the 1st Dec 1923."
12-16 May 1924: By Wednesday's post a communication stating that the Resolution of the Committee, received on Nov 8th '23 with reference to the School Terms, had been rescinded and that the school year should be divided into four terms ending 30th March, 30th June, 30th Sep and Dec 31st
25-29 Aug 1924: By Friday's post a communication was received from Ruthin Offices stating the Board of Education have objected to the School Year being divided into four terms for attendance purposes.
The latest regulation states that the School Year is divided into three terms as follows:
First term: From the first day School resumes after the Christmas Holidays to the day preceding the Easter Holidays (both days inclusive)
Second term: From the first day the School resumes after the Easter Holidays to the day preceding the Summer Holidays (both days inclusive)
Third term: From the first day the School resumes after the Summer Holidays to the day preceding the Christmas Holidays (both days inclusive).
24 Oct 1923: The Head Master's sister [Sarah Ann Shelby] died on Wednesday morning and in consequence, after making arrangements for the opening of school, he was absent until 11.55 a.m.
8 February 1926: Extract from the H.M. Inspector's Report after his inspection on Jan 28th & 29th:
"Among features deserving of mention are the widening scope of the work in Composition done by the Senior pupils and the increased amount of reading of the best English classics suited to their age, thanks largely to the substantial additions made some time back to the school library, the efficiency of the work in Physical Training, the school having won last year in competition two challenge shields offered for country dancing by the Local Education Authority. Since the issue of the last report the equipment has been improved by the provision of a school gramaphone and a treadle sewing machine.
A National Savings Assn is to be established without delay."
3-7 May 1926: The General Strike brought about by the Trades Union Congress on Monday did not affect our attendance adversely. ... Mr. J.M. Edwards, Schoool Correspondent, called on Thursday, and we have discussed the possibility of having to provide meals for the children, if the strike was a prolonged one ....
10-14 May 1926: On Wednesday the welcome news was received that the "T.U.C." had decided to terminate the general strike in order to resume negotiations with the Government on the dispute in the Coal Mining Industry.
25-29 Sep 1933: On Friday afternoon the Central Hall was filled with children and parents and several presentations were made to the retiring Headmaster.
During the week information came to hand that Rosina Jones and Harold Davies had been awarded Free Special Places at the Wrexham County School.
I, T.M.O. Shelby, resigned the Headmastership of Brymbo Mixed County School on Sep 30th 1933.