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Pupils dress up for bicentenary

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

  • Say cheese for the camera. Pupils celebrate Mells School's bicentenary

  • The boys up to no good in their flat caps and waistcoats

  • The pupils enjoy a bowl of broth

  • Skipping is as popular today as it was in the 1800s

  • In period costume in celebration of Mells School's bicentenary

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MELLS First School has celebrated its bicentenary.

In 1813, Mells Church of England Girls School opened on Mells Green. The boys school was in New Street, close to St Andrew's Church.

The school remained all girls until the turn of the century when it changed into a mixed primary school and later changed to a first school.

Records show that the second wing was built around 1900, with new classrooms added in the 1980s and most recently in 2012.

The day of celebrations started with children and staff arriving in costumes typical of the 1800s.

The boys and girls were separated, entering through different gates, sitting separately and then completing a day of activities, again typical to those from the 1800s including making toys, woollen dollies, peg dolls, pomanders, kites and playing with hula hoops and skipping ropes.

The children were shown the record and punishment books and enjoyed these immensely. Some family names appeared, some more than once, to the great delight of many children.

Business manager Jennifer Thompson said: "The children thought that the punishments were extreme compared to the incident – strikes on the hand, slippers and canes on the bottom were common place and occurred daily."

The children had porridge for breakfast and ate broth and bread for lunch. The head teacher had requests for broth on a regular basis.

She said: "This was a truly fantastic day. Our children have learnt so much about our own school history and in a way which means they will never ever forget it."

The school commissioned a commemorative plate made by the children and containing every child and member of staff's thumbprint. It will remain a record of the bicentenary for years to come.

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