BAKEWELL: St Anselm’s pupils experience school life in 1888

St Anselm’s School in Bakewell celebrated its 125th anniversary by going back to the past.

Students and teachers at the school stepped back in time to 1888 to spend a day in the life of their Victorian predecessors – part of the school’s anniversary celebrations.

Dressed in traditional Victorian clothes, the pupils aged from 3 – 13 years began their day learning the strict rules of the Victorian classroom. Boys and girls were taught separately and used slates and chalk for lessons of reading, writing and arithmetic, the three R’s, in place of their modern day white boards and computers.

A lunch of Victorian stew and chocolate junket was followed by Victorian games in the playground, including chess, skipping rope competitions and hopscotch.

Many children were also charged with wearing the dunce’s hat throughout the day, the traditional Victorian punishment for talking and fidgeting in class.

Founded in the midst of the Victorian period by Mr William Storrs Fox in 1888, St Anselm’s School was established with the ethos to prepare its pupils for life, not just the next academic step. Over 125 years that vision has remained unchanged.

Alongside the more traditional Victorian subjects such as Latin and Greek, 19th Century pupils at St Anselm’s were also taught how to skin a rabbit, haymaking skills, fossil collecting techniques at the nearby Derbyshire quarries, and in biology, students were faced with using a real human skeleton.

Commenting on the event, headmaster Peter Philips said: “Our 1888 day was a roaring success. It was a fascinating experience for the children and staff to experience life in the Victorian era and have some understanding how children lived and learned at that time.”