Walking to school in the 1930’s

Published in Personal History

My granny was talking to me about walking to school when she grew up in the 1930’s. She walked 3miles to school everyday bare footed on the summer time, with 2-3 sods of turf in her hands. She was accompanied by her two brothers and her sister who were also bare footed carrying, sods of turf.Sometimes crossing other peoples fields to take short cuts. This was risky as the farmers used to get mad as they would make there cows run. And the farmers were very cross.

They also carried a bottle of tea which was left beside the open fire which they drank at their lunch break.

At school they would line up outside the door where they cleaned there feet on the mat and their turf was put into the plastic box they had outside the front door. When they went into the class room they were greeted by a warm fire which was lit all day. The teachers were extremely strict there and if you were caught messing in class or talking to another student you would receive punishments.

At the end of the school day they walked the 3miles back home. She said ‘after a long day at school its very tiring to walk even five minutes home never mind 3miles!’ As you can imagine the roads were terrible. There were pot holes and it was just a rough surface. It was very dangerous in snow as the ice on the road was very slippy.

On wet days they tried there hardest to keep the sods dry going to school because if they were wet they wouldn’t light in the fire. This would also make the teachers mad so it was a challenge to keep them dry and not themselves!

Granny often talks about one winters evening as she made her way home from school, her friend asked her would she like if she would like to call into her house which was on the way home to see the new doll and clothes that she got in a parcel from New York. Granny lost track of time and soon it was dark.

As she was leaving her friends house she saw the light of a bicycle coming towards her, it was her mother searching for her. They had searched the fields and drains on the route she took to school looking for her. Her mother was annoyed at her for delaying after school. But also delighted that she was okay. She had only then realised that she had been there for 3hours without telling anyone where she had gone.

Now a days we don’t take into consideration the value of mobile phones, cars internet, or central heating. You can let your parents know if your going to be late or where you are and that your safe very easily, back then you had no means of communication only post and telegram.

Orla Nicholson


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