Library & Archives Blog – Michael Stainsby Archive: Castleton School Logs

I have been gathering resources about Castleton School, as they are coming to visit in June, and discovered the ‘Michael Stainsby Archive’, which is a collection of files holding information on North Riding villagers such as Danby, Castleton, Lealholm and Fryup. Included in the files are parish council minutes, school logbooks, census lists, school inspector reports, notes on community life, churches and local history.

I picked out a couple of files relating to Castleton School and thought I would share some interesting entries. The following school log dates from 1874:

Behaviour issues…

15th June 1876

Thursday complaint having been made of stone throwing and using of catapults, the policeman calls to warn boys of the consequences attending the practice.

 The school numbers fluctuated at different times of the year depending on the agricultural calendar:

22nd August 1879

School very low in numbers. Castleton Agricultural Show. Hay making and an impression that the school will break up for Harvest holidays probably the cause.

11th July 1881

Children beginning to absent themselves on account of haymaking having commenced.

27th October 1881

Attendance still poor – potato picking.

24th October 1884

A better attendance this day than expected it being the chesse fair.

20th January 1885

Several absent yesterday afternoon on account of fox-hunt.

 Education and school matters took on their daily tolls:

26th January 1880

School really unfit for children to be in on account of the cold.

21st October 1880 – Inspector School Report

The discipline is good and the instruction has greatly improved since last year. The infants are nicely and carefully taught, and this is promising for the future of the school.

13th October 1881

The rain fell in torrents – penetrated the walls and poured through the roof.

17th October 1881

Closed on Monday as the room was too damp and wet for anyone to be in. Attendance poor – children afraid to come.

August 1883 – Inspector School Report

The Board are sorry to say has either been very remiss or very unsuccessful in the duty of enforcing attendance. It is hoped that matters will soon be placed on a more satisfactory footing. At the same time it must be remembered that the school has suffered a good deal from an epidemic of measles.

19th February 1886

Attendance still very poor owing to weather and sickness. Visited by the school warden. Sent a list of absentees to the warden – some sick – others couldn’t get their shoes on account of childblains, and some because the weather was cold and stormy.

 There was excitement around the local events:

28th May 1885

Gave half-holiday on Monday – Whit-Monday at the request of parents and children as they were anxious to see the opening of the Lawn Tennis Club.

The other file I have had a glance at features logs made from dates around WWII with brief mentions to evacuees that attended the school.

13th October 1939

This afternoon the school closes for North Riding teachers and children but remain open (officially) for the Hull Evacuees and their teachers.

The school during the winter months of 1940 were clearly have attendance problems due to illness and school maintenance/fuel.

16th February 1940

Weather is still severe. Many children suffering from colds and throat affections.

23rd February 1940

There are no less than four bad bursts and leakages in the water pipes on the premises.

8th March 1940

Two cases of influenza recurred this week. Doreen Prithero has been sent home with a temperature of 101.2 this afternoon, and her attendance was cancelled.

There was no fuel left in the cellar and the furnace is dying down. The correspondence has been notified and requested expedite fresh supplies.

12th March 1940

There is no fire this morning…

Later: Arrangements have been made to borrow a supply of coke from the church. I went down to the church with two boys and fetched two bays of coke to get the furnace started.

Three more bags of coke were brought this by Mr L Duck this afternoon. The furnace is going and things are normal. 

War preparations/procedures and more evacuees…

24th May 1940

School Correspondent and SEO visited. The Correspondent has arranged to source three load of sand free of charge for the school and it is hoped that it will be possible to obtain some boxes or bags in order to make the school cellar “bomb proof” in case of air raids.

31st May 1940

Two new evacuees from Commondale School on change of billet, were admitted.

3rd July 1940

An Air Raid warning was received through the Warden at 1.20pm. The children were sent to their stations and remained there till 2.45pm. Planes were heard in the vicinity but no bombs were dropped. Work was resumed at 2.50pm. 

School business continues in spite of war…

15th July 1940

Denis Flintoft, aged 11 years, has been awarded a minor scholarship tenable at the Whitby County School.

25th July 1940

Three boys left today on reaching the age of 14.

New power for the school!

7th January 1941

Electric light is being installed in the school.

15th January 1941

Electric light was used for the first time today.

Keeping warm in winter…

17th January 1941

The weather has been severe throughout the week. The school has never reached 50°F and lessons throughout the day have been interrupted by frequent spells of warming up physical exercises.

War procedures…

5th June 1942

The Chief Warden examined the children’s face masks during the week.

8th June 1942

The Chief Warden visited to supply boxes for gas masks and exchange defective masks and misfits.

Tank incident…

19th November 1942

This evening at 4.30pm an army tank skidded on the road which had a glassy surface and smashed down the double gates of the school demolishing the two pillars and about six feet of the boundary wall. Later three other tanks damaged the wall of the school and school house in three different places.

Last evacuee…

30th July 1943

George Barker, aged 13, the only remaining official evacuee has now returned to Hull.


It has been fascinating looking through a couple of files wishing there were more hours in the day to trawl further! This collection is available for anyone interested in reading about North Riding communities. We are open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4.00pm.

For more information contact out team:

Claire Marris Archive Development Officer