Oral history has the capability of illuminating areas often hidden, particularly the history of the ordinary individual. Wills, testimonies and letters often approach the same areas but can be restricted to certain Delving in dusty archives has its own fascination and may often produce questions, some of which can even be solved statistically, but oral memories can put the meat on the bones of history. This account is mainly concerned with examining the experiences of some local individuals while being educated at Hallow school in the first part of the 20C. It formed part of the course work completed by Pat Clarke whilst completing her degree and was written in 1997.

Chapter One: Historiography

The village of Hallow, together with its accompanying history, has over the years been the subject for an assortment of published articles. These include magazine articles, extracts in guide books, entries in reference books and numerous newspaper reports. On the whole many of these sources are very similar, both in content and style - the material is invariable presented in a chronological order; starting at the Saxon period and finishing in the late nineteenth century; and they include many of the same facts: Hallow’s ecclesiastical history; Queen Elizabeth 1st’s acquaintance with the 16th century historian, John Habington who lived in the village during the period, and details of prominent individuals who have resided within the village boundaries during different periods of time.

Hallow’s ecclesiastical history is well recorded in several sources. Writing in the 19th century, a local author John Noakes included the village in several of the local guides he compiled about Worcestershire villages. Writing about Hallow, he not only describes aspects relating to the village’s physical appearance, but focuses in detail on its connections with the neighbouring village of Grimley and Worcester Cathedral. Grimley had during the Saxon period been given to the Church and had thus become an important annex to Worcester Cathedral. Noake’s describes Hallow’s somewhat subservient position to that of its neighbour, by writing ‘Grimley is the mother church’ ... ‘with that of Hallow depending on it ... ’ This particular theme, together with the villages’ extensive history- dating from the Saxon period through to the late Victorian era - is well documented in early 20th century sources. The Victoria History of the Counties of England 1913 makes reference to the many charities and endowments associated with the Church. One such endowment is the parish’s entitlement to money from ‘the income of the charity of Anna Bull for educational purposes.’ In her will, this lady gave £100 ‘ to purchase lands, the yearly rents thereof were to be laid out for the teaching poor children of Hallow and Grimley to read English and learn the Church Catechism.’ The £100 was duly invested in land at Leigh, which when sold realised an endowment of ‘£2, 886 16s. 1d. consols, with the official trustees, producing £72 3s. 4d yearly, of which two -fifths is applied for educational purposes in Grimley, two -fifths in Hallow, and one-fifth in the parish of Madresfield.’
Royal duties and the political exploits of members of the Habington family, who lived in Hallow during the 16th century; the demise of Sir Charles Bell, (distinguished for his work about the nervous system) who was staying in the village in 1842, together with details about prominent individuals who have at one time or other resided in the village (Mr Joseph Banks (known for the 50 shilling suit) and Mr Charles Wheeley-Lea, co - founder of Lea and Perrins sauce factory in Worcester) form the basis for more recent articles.

These later articles differ from the norm in that they attempt to combine the village’s history, with contemporary aspects, illustrating the personal achievements of certain members of the village community: the headmaster of the village primary school, and the local cobbler. The focus for these articles is not about historical facts, but on the community spirit, which the writer believes sets the village apart from that of Worcester; she stating, ‘to outsiders Hallow is seen as part of Worcester’s suburbia. But to the residents it is still a village with its own community and independent life. ’

The local newspaper has on many occasions featured the village of Hallow in its daily paper. These inclusions range in subject matter from general news, to more specific items which highlight aspects of Hallow’s more recent social history. An article about the tennis club which was started in the village in 1909 and is still operating today is typical of such an item. Other, and more specific pieces focus more on the individual; examining aspects about the individuals personal experiences of living in the village during earlier periods of this century. These, by using the individuals’ words to describe events and experiences begin to take on some of the characteristics of oral history.

Memories and personal evidence are the prime ingredients in a recent publication, which endeavours through its text, to illustrate aspects of recent social history of some of the villages in Worcestershire. The book was compiled by the Worcestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes to celebrate 100 years of existence. Though basically an exercise in nostalgia (which is now being emulated by other counties), the book manages to fascinate the reader with its detail. Hallow’s WI contribution to the book includes recollections from several members who recall their weekly attendance at Sunday School, seasonal hop - picking duties and riding in a motor car during the first half of this century.

These latter examples, although short in content reveal aspects about the village of Hallow not previously evident in the more formal type of literature; they focus on personal individual experiences, rather than on the impact of significant figures in influencing events.

Chapter Two. Twentieth century Hallow.

The rural village of Hallow lies two miles north of the City of Worcester, along the main A443 Worcester to Tenbury road. The River Severn which runs west of the City of Worcester passes along Hallow’s north-easterly border. The village is sedate, physically attractive and appears to be generally prosperous.

Local government census figures reveal that the population of the village has remained fairly even over the past 95 years, despite considerable council and private housing development. Recent figures show that today the population in the civil parish of Hallow is 1154 (with 959 on the electoral roll). The ecclesiastical census figures show that there are 2029 residents in the present parish of Hallow. 10 (Figs 1 & 2).

Hallow has both a civil and an ecclesiastical parish boundary. (Fig 3) A district once adjoining Hallow and known as South Hallow was annexed to Worcester City for purposes of local government in 1885. A section of South Hallow’s ecclesiastical parish was then transferred to the parish of St Clements in Worcester, the remaining section was retained and included, with that of Hallow; hence the differences in boundaries. This additional ecclesiastical section, which lies south of the village, and is included in the Worcester city boundary.

Hallow Village School 1915 - 1963

Hallow School circa 1920 - 30

‘ The school hasn’t altered a lot.’ Mrs Cook. (July 1996)
‘Hallow School, it’s changed now’ Mr Purchon (July 1996)

Chapter Three. 1915 - 1926.
The earliest reference to Hallow school are present in the memories of Mrs Cook who recalls starting school at about the age of four. Her memories of school include her experiences at the infant department which was adjacent to the main school building and independent from the main school. A statement of age form issued by the County council shows that she was actually five years old when was admitted into the infant department. The school admission register for this period reveals that she is recorded as entering the main school in 1919.

Mrs Cook ‘ I was four, I don’t think I went when I was three, we went early, ... you could go early in those days, to school ... we had little round chairs ... we didn’t do much and then you have a sleep, they put you, you could let your head go down ... just have a rest ... of course we had to go home to dinner, no school meals as you can imagine. The school hasn’t altered a lot, they had that one lot bit built on ... the infants was down there, ... there used to be a little hedge in the playground, we used to play round it, ... The infants and the girls played in the this one part and the boys played, you know where the front is ... we were mixed in school.’
‘ When we got into the bigger class ... they don’t used the school bell now, do they? ... No, about five to nine always the school bell went, oh gosh we ‘d run ... thought you was going to be late, got to get on your lines for 9 o’clock ... we went in, we used to have a hymn, all into the big room ... always had an hour of scripture lessons, always ... I don’t think they do that today. Every now and again Mr Moyle, who lived in the village, he used to come and take us in scriptures’ ‘ Then it was the usual reading, writing and arithmetic you know ... we didn’t do like they do today, but we did learn what they called the three R’s, that was our basic, did a bit of sewing when we got into class 3, only what you say stitching, no machines or anything, did feather stitching, buttonhole stitching things like that. ... There was a cookery room, but you had to be in Standard six or seven before you went in there ... but you just did scones or a few little cakes

‘ All we did, they calls it today P.E. we called it drill in those days. It was only this in our days (demonstration - hands up in the air). The only game we every had was well ... it was just before I left school, we had this teacher come, well her name ... Doris Brooks ... she came to Hallow school, well she started netball.
Mrs Cook’s evidence is most interesting for its detail about school life in the early part of this century. Her memories of the school bell - used in the days when watches and clocks were a luxury- call the children to school five minutes before the start of lessons. The children being able to hear it in the middle of a small nucleate village of the time. Nowadays the children who attend Hallow school are brought by their parents; a few walk to school, but the majority arrive in cars.

Mrs Cook recalls starting each school day with a hymn followed by an hour’s scripture lesson. Aspects of this are comparable with present day format, whereby schools generally start each day with a whole school assembly. She mentions a Mr Moyle who came to the school to teach scriptures, it is possible that he was the vicar at that time; the Schools voluntary status may have influenced this. Generally this meant that religious instruction was in the control of the foundation Governors chosen in accordance with the trust deed of the school. Church involvement is still evident in the 1990’s with the present vicar of Hallow acting as chair of the Governors and regularly conducting morning assemblies.

Being allowed to have a sleep during the day whilst in the infant class is totally alien to today’s educational climate. Children in infant classes today follow the same subject based curriculum as their older contemporaries. Her recollections of the curriculum appear to indicate that long after the Revised Code had disappeared, ‘Standards’ and teaching of the three Rs, still held sway as a major educational influence; there is still an emphasis on the basic’s in our present National Curriculum.
Concerns about health education had begun to change the curriculum at the beginning of the century. This may have been fostered by the concerns about the lack of literacy and the poor physical condition of the recruits during the Crimean war. It is illustrated by Mrs Cook’s memories of enduring ‘drill.’ Her recollections of the introduction of netball at the end of her school career may also indicate changes in pedagogic methodology.
There is early evidence of what we call design and technology lessons, with Mrs Cook being taught to cook and sew. Unlike today these lessons were an essential part of the curriculum for girls, who like Mrs Cook came from a working- class family. As such, she was not expected to follow a career, but gain employment so that she could contribute to the family income. Mrs Cook had the rare opportunity to develop these particular skills by attending a domestic science college after she left school; from here she gained employment with a local well known Worcestershire family.

The prolonged school holidays due to seasonal harvesting could be viewed as an alternative to present work experiences, now undertaken only by secondary pupils. In the early part of this century, and particularly in rural areas, these holidays were an important part of family life as well as being a major source of income. Mrs Cook recalls how the whole family, even her younger sister worked alongside her mother to earn money so that the family could be provided with winter clothing. School log books from this period and later, reveal that the school was closed for quite lengthy periods during the year to coincide with the seasonal picking of peas, potatoes, fruits and hops.

Mrs Cook further recalls that the school was also used as a general meeting place for clubs, societies and the occasional entertainment. Nowadays the school is used purely for educational purposes, the parish hall and scout hut being the venues for all other purposes. Sunday School was also held in the school, with the children attending up to three times during the day. Apart from equipping children with faith, religion and the services that structured a Sunday, the Church through the Sunday school provided treats, outings and social activities that shaped the lives of both adults and children during this period. Mrs Cook, in her evidence describes in some detail attending a picnic organised by the Sunday School.

Chapter Four. 1924 -1933.

Mrs R - centre row, extreme right. Mr Wilde - front row, extreme left.

This rather solemn group of children are the infant class at Hallow school, around about 1926 -1927. There is no school uniform as we know it today, their clothes be g typical of the period: functional for country children and perhaps illustrative of family social backgrounds. The girls are wearing smocks to protect their day clothes, which during this period might have extended to just one day dress and one Sunday best dress. The boys wear short trousers; long trousers being wore only by older lads. Their boots are tough and meant to last, thus they could be handed down to younger family members, until they were no longer usable.

The boy sitting in the front row, second from the left with a bulge on his chest, is not deformed, Mrs Rogers recalls him hiding his lunch from the photographer!

Admission registers for this period show that Mr Munslow and his twin brother started Hallow school in 1924 and left in 1931. Mrs Rogers (nee Haines) and Mr Wilde both entered school in 1926 and left in 1933. It is interesting to note that they are recorded in the register as entering school on 1st April 1926; from this day the infant/nursery school ceased independent existence and became part of the main school.

Mr Munslow I can only just remember being in the infants, don’t remember lesson, I can remember falling over in the playground and cutting me knees and elbows badly...I can’t remember lessons until I got into the senior school.’

‘I can remember some of the lessons I did; some of the essays I wrote ... Can’t remember actually the essays but I know I must have done pretty well because she read it out to the class ... Maths I was hope-less at; geography I was good at; history mediocre ... we never had science ... a lot of the subject they have today we never had ... we used to go walks a lot in our day, we’d go for miles walking across meadows, down lanes, hedgerows and all this caper.’

‘ Something that stands out in my mind and I get anger about it now, very anger inside. There used to be a school master, Spencer Lewis and he absolutely abused my twin brother, absolutely whipped him, he was only little and he absolutely whipped him ... he was alright with me, but for something my brother said, he was very forthright my twin ... he absolutely whipped him. He screamed, my twin ... they can’t do it now. Every time I think of it I’m angry!
Mrs Rogers. ‘I remember going to school, walking up the village, and my great - aunt was a teacher, she used to take me by the hand when I was very small ... my aunt was an infant teacher.’
‘ We had some nice teachers ... my mum’s cousin, he was excellent, Arthur Clay; everybody loved Arthur... he was so nice and so gentle with everybody, very firm but gentle and a good teacher because he became assistant head, eventually to Mr Lewis ... Mr Alderson, we couldn’t stand him, he was awful ... when you’d got your head down, writing or doing something and he would come behind you and have a look and he would grab your head and pull it back to look up at him. Oh it did hurt ... it was horrible but he had a habit of doing that ... we didn’t like him.
‘I always hated arithmetic, as we called it then, hated arithmetic, my best was essays, I could always write a good essay and I always had good marks for essays. Not much good for the writing, but the content was always very highly marked.
Mr Wilde ‘ I had the cane, in the infants, now that was unusual! It was on Ash Wednesday and we went to church, marched down to church, when the service was over I was very keen to get in the front rank, I ran through the churchyard, consequently, when I came back to school I had the stick off Miss Harper; that was the first time I had the cane. The second time, I was in the top - I was a prefect. Unfortunately I lifted up the lid of the school desks and happened to drop it when Mr Lewis and Mr Stallard was in conversation, it sounded like a bomb going off. I was called out of the class and had the cane, two on each hand.
‘ Just drifted up to senior school with the rest of them. There was Mr Alderson, Mr Clay, Mr Lewis was headmaster over all the school. I got on very well when I got up to the senior’s. I was house captain of Lea House; there was Lea house and Perowne House.
‘ I don’t remember any special lessons, the only thing; I was very good at painting. In the painting exam, was myself and a lad named Geoff Bishop, the headmaster couldn’t decide who’s the best out of the two, so he sent both of them to an artist in Birmingham. I’d done a gladiola, Bishop had done a fuchia - fuchia very bad, difficult colour to get, and it wasn’t quite, so I came top. I spent months and months doing history charts, doing the lettering. I used to do those in the scripture classes in the morning until Mr Stallard objected; they stopped me then.’

‘ Woodwork master was W. H. Thomas and I had to make a drawing (a plan - an elevation) and I got 10 out of 10 for drawing, and when I made the actual, it was a jam spoon in sycamore, he gave me 10 out of 10 for that. When I was due to leave Mr Lewis said if I like to stay on, as long as I got to school before 10 o’clock it would be alright. What they had in mind, I could never understood, course it was out of the question, because once you left school you were out to work. They never explained why they wanted me to stop on. I got on very well at school; very happy memories ... very pleasant episode.’

The curriculum, class management and the relationships between staff and pupils are all illuminated in these joint accounts. Corporal punishment is remembered vividly by these individuals, sometimes for its harshness, but more often for the seemingly slight misdemeanours that occasioned it. A headmaster is remembered for his intemperate caning of a small child, whilst another male teacher is recalled for his cruel habit of pulling hair. Even our present Secretary of State for Education might flinch at such treatment, despite her apparent enthusiasm for the return of corporal punishment.

Other members of the staff are remembered with affection or respect. Rewarding children with praise for good behaviour and producing competent work is much more in keeping with today’s educational philosophy. It seems also to have, at least in part, been part of yesterdays techniques. Mr Wilde’s artistic talents were undoubtedly acknowledged (and exploited), he illustrating history charts which were used to enhance the school environment. This activity was met with disapprove by the visiting vicar, who perhaps felt that Mr Wilde should be involved in more meaningful tasks, such as learning the scriptures.

Curriculum subjects are much as we see them today, though the content and approach would have in some cases been quite different. Its interesting that Mr. Munslow does not distinguish his nature walks as being science lessons. The lack of a wider scientific education was perhaps more related to resource limitation than to the value society gave it.

Mrs Rogers - back row, in the centre wearing a white veil.
Mr Wilde - back row, next to Mrs Rogers wearing a white helmet.

Mrs Rogers and Mr Wilde recall that the infant teacher Miss Clay was a member of a local amateur dramatics group, and was keen that the children should share her interests. As such, she was instrumental in the children being involved in many plays and pantomimes; these often being performed in the village at various events; fetes and gang shows. (these photographs being two examples of many.) Photographic evidence of other schools, and the experiences of my parents and in - laws who attended school during the same period, show that this was not unique to Hallow school. As today, teachers’ enthusiasms helped to broaden the educational experience.

Mrs Rogers -back row, fifth child in from the right. Mr Wilde - front row, far right, sitting down.

Chapter Five. 1932 - 1949.

Mr Webb and Mr Pratt also have recollections of Mr Thomas the woodwork teacher who regularly visited the school to teach the boys woodwork. Entries in the admission registers for the period show that they entered Hallow school in 1932 and 1938 respectively; both remaining until they both reached the age of fourteen. 17

Mr Webb ‘ Started at the age of five. I remember me sister taking me up there for the first time. You went into Miss Clay’s class the first, she was a little old lady who never took her hat off ... I looked around the classroom, looked in the cupboard. I said what’s that stick in the cupboard for? she said, “that’s for naughty boys,” so she said, “ you can look up!” I was warned before I started. Mr Clay was a big tall fellow, he left long before I got up into his class, thank goodness. Then there was Miss Marshlane, you had a slapping on the arm or you had the ruler. Mr Lewis was the head master, who kept out of his road I’II tell yer!’
Mr Pratt ‘ It was getting a bit crowded at our house, so mother had me off down to school. I started school at three years of age. Back in Miss Clay ’s class, ... we used to have little sand trays out; play in the sand; then in the afternoons after lunch, they used to turn the forms up- side - down and hooks on the corner - hook a canvas on the form and sleep in the afternoons. That was down in the infants ... Progressed from Miss Clay’s class to Miss William’s class, she came on the bus everyday, she was always dressed in black and she wore a fur. Went from Miss William’s class, moved up into Miss Marshlane’s class ... I didn’t enjoy school full stop! ’
‘ W H Thomas and his woodwork, if ever you cut yourself, didn’t matter if you’d chopped your hand off, he’d just catch hold of the bit that was left. Thomas would drag you up to the “ Golden Rule” read the golden rule - keep your fingers above the teeth of the saw and behind the chisel. Blockhead was all you got out of him, and you might have that wrapped around your head - a block! Given piece of wood, another rule - plane the face side of the wood, mark with a pig tail, then you get the square and marked the top side of the wood, plane the face edge then, mark with a cross, plane off waste wood. All these rules, he’d got them all up; he was quite a scribe really ... marvellous tradesman.’
It seems that routines in the infant department had hardly changed in twenty years - Mr Pratt’s experience was similar to Mrs Cook’s, he also recalls taking a nap whilst at school and enjoyed fairly non- structured activities such as playing in the sand tray.

It is possible to draw comparisons with present day nursery type activities where sand along with water play form an important part of early learning. This perhaps demonstrates that child centred use of play activities to aid learning were already beginning to be generally accepted, and are not a modern initiative.

As in the previous chapter, punishment or the threat of it still formed part of school life. Its interesting to note that Miss Clay who was obviously a well established teacher, and having taught at the school for many years still felt the need to use a stick to instil appropriate behaviour.

It was a belief in extending education that lead to the older boys receiving woodwork lessons and the older girls having cooking lessons. This gender division is fast disappearing, with girls and boys experiencing both types of activities in schools today.

Mr Thomas is remembered on two accounts, first for his apparent lack of compassion when a pupil injured them self. Secondly for his carpentry skills, which were much admired by the boys. He appears to have taught in several schools in the area; an elderly friend of mine, who attended another local school, describes him in similar terms to those of these two individuals. Mr Wilde has fonder memories of Mr Thomas having had a happier experience ... or a tougher skin!

The staff of Hallow school. circa 1930’s

unknown Mr Clay unknown
Miss Clay unknown Mr Lewis Miss Williams Miss Marshlane

If these individuals were all full time members of staff then the pupil teacher ratio would be more generous than that of today. The inclusion of part time teachers may give a misleading impression

In an age when primary teaching is rapidly becoming a female preserve, this photograph from the 1930’s presents a stark contrast, with an equal divide of men and women. Salaries for men may have been more attractive in those days, perhaps subsidised by the lower pay rates of their female colleagues.

The respectable appearance of the teachers clothing contrasts with that the children are wearing in the previous photograph. Perhaps, as in certain areas today, they are used to claim middle class status, giving the wearer respectability and authority.

Chapter Six. 1949 - 1963.
A most detailed and vivid account of Hallow school is presented by Mr Purchon, who moved into the village in 1949, in order take up a position as a teacher at the school. At this stage Hallow school was still an all - aged school, with children leaving at 14 years old. Mr Purchon recalls there being a head teacher and a staff of four: two infant teachers and two other teachers who taught the slightly older children, as well as several teachers who came in to teach specific subjects at different times during the week. Mr Purchon joined the school to teach the 11 - 13 years range; with the Head teaching the children in their final year. His evidence is rich in detail: the daily routine for himself, the staff and the children; as well as some of the events and circumstances that shaped school life in the village.

Mr. Purchon ‘ Everyone had to teach, there were no free periods or anything like that, you taught all day long. In Hallow school, its changed now. in the main hall there was a partition that came across. ... I was in one half and the juniors, 9 - 11 was in the other half, ... in the morning the screen was drawn back and all the children were in the hall for assembly, we had hymn and so on. The vicar used to came in once a week to take the assembly. Then after that, the screen was pushed back and we started - started normal lessons, which were always R.E to begin, and then we had a timetable which was mainly Maths, English and general things... and so on. ‘

Mr. Purchon may be surprised to find that primary teachers generally still have no free periods. The partition which was once a common feature of many local Victorian schools has long since been removed. Were they a modification to adapt these large rooms after the demise of the monitorial system? The conservatism of the education system is clearly demonstrated, in that a quarter of a century after Mrs Cook left school, the pattern for morning lessons seems much the same

‘ No visual aids at all, eventually after a number of years a man used to come from the County and bring a cinnie, and we used to have all the school to watch the film on the cinnie. The vicar here had a slide screen, and he used to bring that in. No visual aids apart from maps, blackboards and diagrams, which we did ourselves. I can’t remember having anything that was supplied by the local authority ... no facilities for laboratory work, ... eventually in my room they put a bench ... with a calor gas and I had Bunsen burners ... that was an exception ... the children weren’t allowed, or didn’t have any facilities for doing their own experimental work they just had to watch ...

The lack of resources, described by Mr Purchon no doubt influenced the breadth and depth of the curriculum he was able to teach. Science in particular appears to consist of children watching and listening, totally alien to today’s hands on approach.

‘The only play area was the playground, the fields at the back didn’t belong to the school then. For games we had to come down to the fields (by the village hall) ... but we had to come down everyday to the parish hall for dinners, for meals, no facilities in school and so at 12 o’ clock, first of all the infants were lined up and marched down in two’s and then when they had got out of the way the seniors and all the juniors were lined up and somebody who was on dinner duty had to bring them down and see them in the parish hall and stay with them and of course the staff had to come down, we had a table at the side where we used to sit and have our lunch with all the children ...’)

‘They had longer dinner hours then, they don’t have long dinner hours now, we used to have dinner start at 12, and school starts at 1 30 pm and then it finished at 4 o’clock for everybody ... they only have half days at school nowadays!

Changing times are clearly shown here. The shorter dinner hours Mr Purchon refers to are a response to a reversion to Victorian values; school meals are no longer provided, with sandwiches taking less time to eat. Mr Purchon also recalls some of the exploits of Mr Thomas the woodwork teacher, who was remembered by former pupils.

‘His name would come up of course, because he had a real old banger car and he used to go home for dinner, everyday there was a performance of the big lads pushing the car to get it started.’

‘He was quite a character and another thing that happened ... is that the room that was used as the woodwork, was also used as the domestic science room, so when the domestic science teacher was there the woodwork benches were covered with white, big white boards and when the woodwork master was there, they were all removed, put away, but he was an awkward so and so and he used to leave glue pots on the cookers, oh, there was always a bit of a riot on Thursday morning when the domestic science teacher came, because the place was all messed up.’

‘The one thing about Mr Thomas, his handwriting, blackboard writing was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, it was absolutely perfect, wonderful and of course he left that on the board and when he came next time it had all been scrubbed off, so you would hear a bit of fuss about that.’

May Day dancing on the village green circa 1950’s.

Apart from style of clothes and the style of the pram in the foreground this photograph could be mistaken for one taken earlier this year. This scene from the 1950’s is typical of the school’s May Day celebrations in the 1990’s. It is only the format that is slightly different, there is no church service, this is held in school, the children still enjoy tea in the village hall, which is then followed by the dancing on the village green.

The impression of ancient tradition is however belied by Mr Purchon’s evidence. This event is not a celebration for the traditional May Day bank holiday, but is a celebration for the village church of St James and St Philip.
‘ Soon after we came here we had a change of vicar, Mr Reynolds. He and his wife started May Day celebrations in the early 50’s. We were a big part of the dancing because we used to have all the children from school on the green, with a piano on a lorry and we used to sing May Day hymns... ’ (Tape 6 Side A)

‘ May Day was a day apart because we started by all the school going to church and having a service, then we used to come back and have tea in the parish hall and then they were all brought over here for the dancing and the singing. After that we had a concert in the parish hall, it was a full day.’

The building of a new secondary school in the area, during the 1960’s resulted in the reorganisation of educational provision in this area. Mr Purchon, together with the children aged 11 years transferred to the newly opened high school at Martley in 1963 - he was the only member of staff to leave Hallow at this point. Prior to his leaving, Mr Purchon had taken over the responsibilities of the head teacher, who had been taken ill. He remembers being actively involved in the reorganisation of Hallow into a primary school and recalls some of the experience.

It is also interesting to note that the 1944 Education Act did not immediately herald the end of the elementary school. In this instance it took many years to reorganise Hallow as an all - age school into a primary one, catering only for children up to the age of eleven. Secondary education at the school until this time being supplemented by a series of visiting peripatetic teachers such as Mr Thomas.

‘Quite a problem, preparing the new school which had nothing in it at all, no books no nothing, and I had got to provide new materials and books for the department I was going in there ... and at the same time closing Hallow down as a senior school.’

The oral evidence collected for this study revealed little of any dramatic historical significance; as one individual remarked “ nothing much happens here in Hallow “ Yet the oral evidence that was gathered, and particularly that used in this study, is informative history. It uncovers aspects about the past which are often hidden and perhaps viewed by their participants as irrelevant or unimportant. As Paul Thompson (1976) states ‘Oral history is a history built around thrusts life into history itself’... it brings history into, and out of the community.’

I had intended, perhaps naively, for this to be a wide ranging oral history of the village. The process of producing it led me to examine the value and process of oral history and this is reflected in my essay. It certainly illustrated a major problem, that of the infinite nature of oral history. There always seems to be an additional person to be interviewed and more questions to be asked of those already interviewed.

The reverberations do not stop there. Some of the questions raised cannot be answered satisfactorily by oral evidence; what was the real nature of the curriculum? What were the teachers’ salaries? Why are all the lady members of staff, single? These can all be resolved by interrogating written evidence.

The inter-reliance of oral history and formal history perhaps then demonstrates the validity of oral history. Each type of history has the capacity to pose questions and in turn, to solve the riddles that other forms of history present. This would seem to indicate that they are not discreet but only facets of the same discipline.

Presenting the evidence has introduced a dilemma - to what extent should the words be allowed to speak for themselves? When does comment become intrusion? What proportion of comment and evaluation is required to ensure that this project is a valid historical exercise? Perhaps the main use of such evidence may be to provide a resource for the future. Primary source material which future generations can use empathically to balance the evidence of major events, statistics and records.

Chapter One
4. 1988
Primary Sources.
Mrs Ethel Cook - verbatim. -Tape 1
Mr Geoffrey Munslow - verbatim. -Tape 2
Mrs Joan Rogers - verbatim. -Tape 3
Mr Stanley Wilde - verbatim. - Tape 4
Mr Peter Webb - verbatim. -Tape 5
Mr David Pratt - verbatim. -Tape 5
Mr Fred Purchon - verbatim. -Tape 6

Hereford and Worcester Records Office, (County Hall)
Hallow School Admission Register 1903 -27. Ref 10912 / 4.
Hallow School Admission Register 1923 - 62 ref 10912 / 4.
Statement of Age Forms 1916 - 1920. ref 10912 / 4.
Log Books 1863 - 1935. ref 10912 / 1 -3.

Secondary Sources.
Blythe, R. (1969). Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village. Allen Lane: The Penguin Press.
Caunce, S. (1991) Amongst Farm Horses: the Horselads of East Yorkshire London: Longman.
Gray, F. (1994). Bexhill Voices.
Falmer: Centre for Continuing Education University of Sussex.

Collingham, F. (1983) ‘Remembering days when horses pulled the plough’ Worcester Evening News. 1st September 1983.
Writer unknown (1975) ‘Sam remembers the good old days’. Worcester Evening News. 10th March 1975.
Cooper, M. (1951 - 4). The Story of Hallow. Warwickshire and Worcestershire Life Magazine.
Vol. 1. 1951 - 4. No 3. Pages 67 - 69, illus.
Noake’s, J. (1848) ‘The Rambler’ in Worcestershire or Stray Notes on Churches and Congregations.Vol 1 Worcester.
Noake’s, J. (1868) Noake’s Guide to Worcestershire Longman and Co. London.
Headley, J (1981) Hello Hallow ! Warwickshire and Worcestershire Life Magazine. Vol. XXVII. No.1 March 1981. Pages 36 - 41, illus.
Hickman, S. Sander, M.Stafford, J. (1985) Hallow Village Pack.
Kelly’s Directory of Worcestershire. (1904) pages 124 -5 .
Pryce, M. (1983) The club that’s switched on...Worcester Evening News. 9th March 1983.
The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Worcestershire.
The University of London Institute of Historical Research.
Reprinted from the original Edition of 1913.
Dawsons of Pall Mall. London. 1971.
Worcestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes (1995)
Worcestershire - Within Living Memory Published jointly by Countryside Books, Newbury and the WFWI, Worcester. Pages 36, 47, 152 - 154.