ELEMENTARY schools sprung up all over Britain in the 1830s.
It all happened in the aftermath of Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 and the Forster’s Education Act in 1870, when the Catholic community formed “elementary” schools in the country. An uphill struggle ensued for a number of years as the authorities struggled to raise money and standards.
But in Hartlepool, Hart Lane school was founded.
And as Hartlepool man Ged Hall explained, it had a big impact on his life and on his family tree.
Ged said: “My mother Winifred, whose maiden name was Leonard, was newly qualified in 1934 and was one of the teaching staff from the foundation.”
She clearly fell in love with the new school and stayed there for so long, she taught generations of family.
Ged added: “She loved Sacred Heart school so much she stayed for 38 years before her retirement.
“I currently have a place on the governing board at the school so the connection is still there, and I was taught by my mother in the 1960s.”
He told us how two teachers were there at the founding of the school and they were Ged’s mum Winifred and a woman called Stella Thompson.
Ged does have some information on his mum’s colleague. He knows that Stella lived in Clairemont Drive in Hartlepool but he would love to know more about her and is appealing to Family Roots readers to help.
Ged was about five years old when he started in the reception class and told Family Roots: “It was very interesting. It raised a bit of a suspicion among classmates.”
From that school, Ged moved on to St Francis Primary School where he went through his 11-plus exams.
He eventually went to Oxford University where he studied modern history. “The college I was at was the same one as David Cameron,” said Ged, although the two were a few years apart when they went there.
He added: “Mum was at Sacred Heart from 1934 to 1972.”
She eventually left to look after Ged’s dad George who, through ill health, was unable to work after 27 years of age.
Ged’s mum died on New Year’s Day in 1984 and his father passed away three years later, just before Christmas in 1987.
Now, Ged is self employed and runs his own accountancy business which is based in Hartlepool.
He shared his story with Family Roots in the hope that someone will remember either his mum, or Winnifred’s fellow teacher Stella Thompson.
Perhaps there are former pupils out there who would be willing to get in touch. We would love to hear from anyone who can help us - and Ged - to find out more about that era at the school.
Get in touch by contacting Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org