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Victorian Teachers of the Woodhouse Eaves National School

by Evelyn Brown

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The first known schoolmaster and mistress were William and Sarah Winterton. They lived in the school building with their two sons and their servant, Hannah Stubbs, daughter of Jonathan Stubbs, the blacksmith.
1840s: Mr Jarratt became schoolmaster, assisted by Mary Woodfield. We know nothing more about them except that they, too, didn’t stay long!

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1841 document listing William Winterton as schoolmaster

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The Herrick almshouses

Late 1840s: ‘Chelsea Pensioner’ George Crooks of Westminster, retired Master Sergeant in the 3rd Regiment of Foot (aka ‘The Buffs’), took over, with his wife Ann

1860: Bedfordshire-born William Pettitt (26), his wife Elizabeth, their two young children and William’s sister were the first occupants of the newly built schoolmaster’s house opposite the school. They were assisted by Ann Preston, daughter of a Woodhouse Eaves slate cleaver.
William and Elizabeth had four more children, then, after he was widowed, he remarried and had a seventh child! He retired December 1895 after 35 years.

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Sketch of schoolmaster's house, 1860

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Jesse Gibson in military uniform

January 1896: Jesse Gibson, ‘the Gaffer’, appointed headmaster. Born in Walsall, he was a schoolmaster in Chertsey, Surrey for at least 10 years. He was assisted for a time by Catherine and Helen Stubbs, daughters of village blacksmith Joseph Stubbs.
Jesse wrote a fatherly letter to the schoolchildren every Christmas, the last one in December 1914, before enlisting as a First Lieutenant in the National Reserve: ‘My Dear Young Friend, This is the most difficult letter I have ever had to write…’.
He died from illness on 7
th March 1919, in the Military Hospital, Leicester.

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Jesse Gibson's letter, 1914