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Trull School c 1908

Trull School c 1908 Taunton Somerset

Four generations of my family attended Trull School so I have a mix of memories and history for you. The school was built in 1875. The image shows the school as it was c 1908 before reconstruction in 1915.

The original school was enlarged in 1876 to accommodate 160 children. Harry Whale became head teacher after joining the school at its opening and stayed for forty years. Harry’s grave is near the yew tree by the path through Trull church yard.

Initially children left school at age 13 though this was raised to 14 after the First World War.    When I first went to school at Trull the leaving age was 15 and in 1956 children aged 11 to 15 were transferred to new secondary schools in Taunton. That heralded the dreaded 11 Plus exam which I deliberately failed as I did not want to go to Huish’s. My onward scholastic career continued at Askwith about which I could tell many a story. I had to cycle the three miles back and forth to South Street every day from Trull running the gauntlet of the whistle blowing park keeper in Vivary. Cycling in the park then was not allowed.

Our family home for sixty years as on the corner of Mill Lane so I had a very short walk to school. Mostly I remember Mr Townsend probably because he was so unlikable. He had us reciting the Catechism frequently. At least that’s how I remember it being called though I don’t know why we had to do it. 
I remember us trouping over to see his house being built in Wild Oak Lane. (Hartknoll).

My earliest memory is receiving my Coronation mug at the old village hall in Pook Lane. That was, I suppose, 1953 when I was six. Trull did not have mains water until the 1950s so there was a well in the playground. I must admit I don’t remember it.

Until 1962 the water remained unheated. The girls and boys toilets were in a building at the rear and separated by a high wall. None of the early school ‘conveniences’ were a problem for us youngsters. We had a privy at the bottom of our garden and hauled in the tin bath once a week with the water often shared. A single coal fire 
‘heated’ all of our house.

Next to the school was the village allotment now in Trull Meadow. Every firework day we built a huge bonfire with tractor tyres from the farms and oil from the Corner Garage. My father had an iron cannon which I sought to fire. The whole thing blew up creating the largest explosion Trull ever heard. Shrapnel went through our neighbors roof.

Milk was on hand at school. My teacher kept sugar in a bottle for me as I did not like it. In turns we became milk monitors and ink monitors. The latter kept in large bottles which we decanted into the individual desk inkwells.The broken knibs on the pens made good darts. Inky blotting paper messy missiles.

We played ‘Aero’ in the play ground chasing around in linked groups to catch others. On Mayday we performed maypole dances though I really never got the hang of the ‘Spider’s Web’.

After school I trouped off home running my hand along the top of the church wall until I could reach it no more.

I have an old photo of Harry Whale in Trull Meadow with the children. Many well known Trull names are there. Doble, Sparks, Oakes, Warren etc. In the 1970s Trull School was again remodeled costing £72,000.

Children are no longer absent ‘scaring birds’ nor do they leave to go to work at 13 though they would have missed much schooling for domestic and harvesting work. Oh, I can now reach along the entire length of the top of the church wall.

Tempus fugit.

By Nick Chipchase

One Response

  1. I remember you Nick I am sure your dad drove a big dark red removals lorry, I remember Townsend I hated him he hit me a few times across the forehead with the edge of the ruler, I not sure but I think the game you refer to as aero I think it was called aerial I can remember playing that it was brilliant, I can also remember the winter 62/63 when the milk used to be frozen. Good and bad memories.

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