School Staff – 19th century

With the 1861 census we have the first mention of a schoolmistress living in the School House. Louisa Good, aged 27, unmarried, born in Devizes, was noted as the schoolmistress in residence. ` A school log book, for this period, states that she was assisted by L.A. Keane, a pupil teacher, and a changing succession of monitors. Louisa Good stayed in post as headmistress until she married Edwin Lever in the mid 1870s. After her marriage she went to live in Hart’s House in the High Street, now called The Firs, leaving the schoolhouse vacant for the next headmistress.

Georgina Fussell, unmarried, aged 22, born in Bradford on Avon, took up this position on 3rd January 1874. Lilian Reade, Bessie Lever, Ellen Coombes, Harriet Thompson, May Hibberd, Annie Keene all feature as Georgina’s assistants at varying times during the ensuing twenty-two years of her headship. She needed all the help she could get, for payment by results was still very much the order of the day. Every year the children were examined in order to ‘pass’ in their respective standard. The size of the following year’s financial grant depended on how many passes the children achieved.

Georgina Fussell could be said to have given her life to the school, for she died virtually still in post in 1895 at the age of 43 and is buried in our churchyard, with a tombstone now difficult to read, as you can see above.

Edith L. Turner became the headmistress of the school on 23rd March 1896. She and her husband, John, designated a ‘paid monitor’, became the resident teaching staff of the school. Bessie Lever was still a teaching assistant at this time, but she resigned in 1899. Rose Read, who later became Mrs. Harry Foyle, then joined the teaching staff.