Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Dashwood timeline

20160304_094338Now that we’ve reached the 1960s in Dashwood’s history, it is a good time to put things in context. While changes happened at our school, what was going on in the rest of the world? We made some decade markers from 1900 to 1980 and started to fill in the details on a timeline on the wall.

But first, someone asked, why is a century called the twentieth century when all the years begin with 19? To understand this it helps to
think that in the first century, the years ran from 0-99. Then in the second century, they ran 20160304_092814
from 100-199. In the third century, the years ran from 200-299. So the years began with a two even though it was the third century.

It’s a bit like realising that in the eleventh year of your life, for example, you go from being ten and one day, to finally being 11 – when you enter your twelfth year of life!

Starting in the decade of the 1900s, the timeline soon showed that Dashwood’s foundation stone was laid – in 1901. There were medical inspections at school, and the heating was fixed!

20160304_093717In the 1910s, World War one broke out.  Happier times were ahead in the 1930s with the coronation of George VI in 1937 (for which the children of Banbury received souvenir spoons).

But all too soon the Second World War had begun, and Germany invaded Poland. Rationing came in and evacuees came to Banbury in the 1940s. Pearl Harbour was bombed by the Japanese in 1941 and America joined the war.20160304_093737

At school, headmistress Bessie Charles resigned and David Proctor arrived in 1943. After the war ended, and evacuees had returned home, Banbury’s population had reached 18,000. In the 1950s Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.

The 1960s saw happy times – England won their first and only World Cup in 1966 – and Mr Underwood became headmaster in 1968. 20160304_093745

And what did Banbury have to look forward to in the years to come (which we haven’t yet finished reading about?) Well, for one thing, the birth of all the members of Book for Breakfast!

Second World War Banbury

P1450508How did World War Two affect Banbury – at home and school? We reached the Second World War in our book about Dashwood’s history this week.

One chapter recounted the experiences of Banburian Annie Meadows, who attended Dashwood as a child and then as a teacher. She was given the task of settling the evacuees who arrived in Banbury with local families, and she took in two boys herself.

Another chapter talked about the precautions and changes at Dashwood itself during the war, from air-raid shelters on the playground, to the arrival of evacuees in the classroom.P1450555

So what were the effects of the war on home life and school life? What was the evidence we could find from the book, and from our archive materials? The Book for Breakfast group members split into two teams to find out.

At home, the team pointed out that blackouts would have been frightening. P1450545Everyone had to have blackout curtains in their rooms to stop light spilling out and giving away the location of the town. Money was tight, and it must have been hard for Annie to ask families to take in the evacuees. The government only provided money for their food, and the children ended up being in Banbury for three years.

At school, the team noted that ‘overcrowding was still such a problem’, because of all the evacuee children. In fact, pupils only went to school on alternate days to ease the pressure. It P1450526was very cold during winters and ‘the water in the toilets froze’.  There was ‘tape over the school windows’ in case of flying glass if a bomb fell. Children ‘had to wear gas masks on their backs’ and ‘had to practice putting on gas masks’ just in case. The school took ‘many precautions against air-raids’ but in fact ‘there was only one air raid near Dashwood, in 1940 at the gas works’.

The team found a newspaper cutting that showed the local people who attended a huge party on Dashwood’s playground at the end of the war. With many people in fancy dress, the photograph includes the grandmother of a pupil who went to Dashwood sixty years later.

1945 Fancy dress VEday