School days

School days are a very special time - and in rural areas they take on a character all of their own. Where mining and farming both mold the shape of a community it affects every aspect of daily life. The books below look into how the children were impacted as they went through school.  Compare how schooldays have changed from our for-bearers day to what they are today.

I was lucky enough to get access to the old school logbooks, and some gave an interesting insight to how the children were being taught.  Todays children would wonder just what was going on in years gone by.  How times have changed.


* If you wish to purchase any of my books and they are to be sent overseas please contact me first as

they might incur extra postage.



All Saints National School - 1869-c1972

All Saints School, Cockermouth - For this book much of the information was gathered from School logbooks, local newspapers, Whitehaven Archives and ex-pupils. During my research I managed to obtain pictures of every Head Master that taught in the school. The Cockermouth school, which started life with one teacher and one monitor, John Bolton aged 14, opened its doors for 140 children on the 11th January 1869, until its closure in c1972. The school was supported by All Saint’s Church.  

£6.75 incl. all charges


Fairfield School - 1925-1949

Fairfield School Cockermouth - only had logbooks from 1925 to 1949, so old newspaper cuttings gave us what happened before and after those dates. In order to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee in 1876, William Lancaster Alexander, who was the Governor of the school at that time, paid for the building of the Girls School that was near the church. He was also responsible for the brick shelters that were in the playground.  This school took part in many local activities, including raising money to save Wordsworth House. The children and teachers also corresponded with the HMS Melbreak Cockermouth adopted ship in 1939-45.

£6.75 incl. all charges

Lorton School - 1809-1902

Lorton School, Lorton - In all, over 100 years of its history has been covered in this book.  Taken mainly from school logbooks and the information gained from the records of the School’s Treasurer, W.L. Alexander who, together with his brother-in-law John Wilson, ran the school for over 50 years. It appears that when they took it over in about 1860, the school was struggling to survive. From then on until today its reputation has gone from strength to strength. I visited the Lorton  school quite a few times during my research in 2002, and it had a lovely atmosphere, where you could feel the history of the school. William Lancaster Alexander's portrait is now hung in the new school extension.

£6.75 incl. all charges

St Joseph Roman Catholic School - 1877-1984

St Joseph School, Cockermouth - Closed down in 1892, St. Joseph’s was re-opened in 1904 by Father Fishwick.  He had taken over a rundown Cockermouth church and school and did a very difficult but successful job of reviving them both.  Before 1892 the school had 33 teachers in a 15 year period. On many occasions there was only one teacher for 70 children. In the main the children had come from poor backgrounds, and difficult to teach. In the early days it wasn’t easy to persuade the children to even go to school and this was only a very small school, with the one room sometimes divided into two if they had enough teachers. After Father Fishwick took over things changed for the better, culminating in the school moving to its present premises in 1965.

£6.75 incl. all charges

The History of Allhallows School,

Fletchertown 1855-1990

Allhallows School, Fletchertown - George Moore, who had already begun to pay for improvements to several local schools, wrote of the poor schooling in Cumberland. 

" It is difficult at this distance in time to appreciate the appalling conditions of village schools" which was graphically illustrated in Samuel Smiles book “The Life of George Moore the Philanthropist (1806-1876)” who was born in Mealsgate in the nearby parish of Bolton.  Many old photographs and names are included in this book. At one time the Fletchertown school held over 300 children.

£6.75 incl. all charges

The History of Welton School: 

The school that closed on 31st December 2011

Welton School - When I was asked if I could put together a book about the life of Welton Primary School, Nr Dalston,  I met people that feel so passionately about the school closure, that it has been a pleasure to try and discover as much as possible about its history. I have been assisted in this by several ex-pupils who have written to me with their stories. Some have now moved away from the district, but still have fond memories and wanted to be involved in the project. I was also contacted by ex-teachers, cooks, cleaners and many others. I have tried to include as many of their letters as space allowed. 

£6.75 incl. all charges

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