Tom James was a residential pupil at Wennington School.  Here, he discusses the 'make do and mend' attitude of the community.


I became very self-reliant, and I mean we had to be, you know, we were a school. We did not employ domestics as such, we had people who did the washing up – the kitchen washing up, not the – yes they did during the lunch break they did the plates and things after lunch, they washed up after lunch, and washed up kitchen utensils. We employed staff in the kitchen, but we had no cleaners, or outside cleaners, we had at one time an odd-job man and the odd-job boiler man, who kept the boilers stoked and sort of did little bits around the house and things like that, but all the cleaning and decorating and land management was done by the school.

You know, we cleaned, we washed up after breakfast and after supper, we maintained the school woods, felling trees as they needed to be felled and clearing ditches, and I remember when one of the bridges was washed away, myself and another boy, went down and felled trees, and re-built the bridge, over the ditch, that went through on one of the paths, you know, made it out of logs, put logs across it, and turfs in-between the logs, and then earth and more turf over the top of it so that, you know, it would last for another ten or twelve years. You know, under John Swift's guidance, we re-built the sewage system. The school, during the term, built the concrete shell, and then during the summer vacation, after the Old Scholars' Reunion, a lot of people stayed up for the first week, carrying on building the sewer.



(Interviewed by Dr. Craig Fees.  Recording Ref: CF765 ©)

Additional information