Pupils go back in time to celebrate

Pupils and teachers from Singleton School celebrate their 150th anniversary by dressing up.  Pictured L-R are Reece Smith, Kate Taylor, Charlotte Clayton, Holly Bithel, teacher Karen Haigh and Henry Bullen.

Pupils and teachers from Singleton School celebrate their 150th anniversary by dressing up. Pictured L-R are Reece Smith, Kate Taylor, Charlotte Clayton, Holly Bithel, teacher Karen Haigh and Henry Bullen.

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Pupils past and present helped to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of a village school.

Children at Singleton Primary School stepped back in time as they explored a Victorian classroom, donned costumes from the era and browsed old photographs and newspaper cuttings.

The celebration day took staff and pupils back to July 17, 1863 – when building work officially started on a new school for Singleton on the instruction of Preston cotton mill owner Thomas Miller, who owned the Singleton estate.

Mr Miller had asked for the school to be built on land at Church Road that year.

His daughter, Henrietta Mary, laid the foundation stone using a commemorative silver trowel, a Boxwood mallet and a Rosewood level.

The occasion, 150 years ago, was marked by staff and pupils who enjoyed an assembly led by the Rev Martin Keighley.

The school was then opened to members of the public to allow them access to an exhibition put together by the Singleton History Group.

It included old photographs, newspaper cuttings and school reports from the 1940s and 1950s which were on display in the old hall.

A Victorian classroom was also mocked up by Singleton History Group, and pupils were dressed in Victorian costume and clothes representing the decades since 1863.

Coun Maxine Chew, who represents Singleton at Fylde Council, said people had travelled from all over the country to see the school.

She said: “There were quite a lot of older people, some in their 80s, who had never been back to the school since leaving as children.

“They were thrilled to have seen each other for the first time in years. We had people from all over, as far away as down south.”

Pupils learnt how in its early days, the school could accommodate 100 pupils in two classrooms.

It was heated by coal fires, and in a log book, the headteacher noted on many occasions how the children were so cold they took turns to stand in front of the fire to warm themselves.

During the day, the pupils also took part in maypole dancing, and put on a performance of Olivia, based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.