The BWI Archives

1899 ~ An Overview from the Log Book


Ruislip Church of England School
Log Book 1890-1925
(General Introduction - Opens in a new window)

- 1899 -

The Revised Code of 1862, article 55(a), had required schools to keep a Log Book in which the principal teacher should make a brief daily record of any significant events (see Log Books). That for 1899 was kept by the School Master - Charles Edwin Ratcliffe until Easter, and his successor, Ralph Youens, from then to the end of the year.

Charles Ratcliffe made the decision to resign with effect at Easter.  His reasons are not known, though from his comments, he intended to leave teaching behind him, at least for a time.  His departure must have come as a significant disappointment to the Managers and their Chairman, Thomas Marsh Everett, since he had turned the school around, improving attendance significantly, ensuring the children were more alert and responsive to an educational environment, and bringing about an overall rise in achievement.

Ralph Youens took over the headship, along with his wife and sister-in-law.  

The Vicar announced the change of staffing in the April edition of the Parish Magazine: 


  We have also to announce the resignation of Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliffe and Miss Roberts, as teachers of our schools, at Easter.  They are to be succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. Youens and Miss Copeland from Combeinteignhead School in Devonshire.  The Schools will re-open after Easter on Monday, April 10th.

Attendance had slipped, even in the first quarter of the year.  Overall, the gains made on pupil attendance fell back somewhat. Of course the difficulties of reaching the school in winter by those living towards Northwood or Eastcote were ever present and excusable.  But mention of beating game, collecting blackberries and mushrooms, attending fairs, etc. all reappear in the Log Book, with irritation expressed by both the new Master and the Vicar.

In the July Parish Magazine, the Vicar set out to explain the position about employment in detail: 

My Dear Parishioners,
As I have received several requests from parents to release their children from attendance at school so that they may go out to work, I think I had better state through the Magazine that I have no power to give the permission required.  What “the Law” says must be obeyed, and none of us should attempt to evade the law, or to encroach upon it by acting upon our own views when they are not in accordance with it.  If you will look back to the June Magazine for 1898 you will find “the Law” as to school attendance there state.  It is briefly to the following effect: (1) Any child may leave school at the age of 14.  (2) No child may be absent from school to be employed by any one until it reaches the age of 11; but to leave school at 11, 12, or 13 years of age proof of age is required, and a certificate from Her Majesty’s Inspector that the child has passed Standard IV. (3) A child of 13 years may, however, leave school if it can produce a certificate from the schoolmaster that it has attended 250 times a year for five years.

From the foregoing statement it is clear that a child cannot leave school without some certificate either for H.M.’s Inspector if it be under 13, or from the schoolmaster if over 13, until it reaches the age of 14.  Notice to that effect was given out at the school in the month of May – that children wishing for exemption from school attendance must give in their names to the master, who would present them to the Inspector at his next visit;  but no application was made, and therefore no labour certificates (as they are called) were granted.  I can only repeat what by this time ought to be known by all parents – that they must comply with “the Law” as to obtaining exemption for their children, and that the managers have no power whatever in the matter.  In connection with this question I had better again inform the farmers and others that if they employ children under 14 years of age who have no certificate they are themselves liable to a fine of forty shillings for each offence.  There is no wish to strain the law against any one – whether children or employers of labour. All I say on the matter is this, as the law is law,  let us one and all endeavour to conform to it.  It would appear from legislation now being carried through Parliament that the age for exemption is to be raised to 12 years of age instead of 11 as at present, thus giving no release under any pretext whatever until a child is 12 years of age.  Thus the spirit of our legislators is to increase the time for compulsory attendance, and not diminish it.

Charles Ratcliffe had come to see the appointment of Miss Roberts to replace Miss Fitt as a poor one.  She had been put in charge of the Infants but failed to provide either effective control or teaching.  He blamed the falling off in attendance among the Infants to this lack of rigour. There must have been times when he regretted the loss of Miss Fitt, notwithstanding her frequent lateness!  Ralph Youens did not inherit Miss Roberts, she too left at Easter.  But he did inherit her pupils and found them a challenge.  He appears to have put Miss Medcalf in charge. He felt that they were improving over the spring and summer. However, the Inspector in his summer visit, noted that overall the Infant department needed improvement.  He also raised the issue that the Managers should have a mind to the appointment of a fully certificated teacher for the department (see introduction to 1898). It was be some time before this measure was implemented.

Ralph Youens had failed to copy the inspection report into the Log Book on receipt, usually around end August / early September; this was a legal requirement first embedded in the Revised Code.  In November the Vicar appears to have noticed that it was missing, and therefore copied it in himself.

We get our first recorded mention of an interschool football. (10/02)

Ralph Youens was to stay for many years and the high quality work eventually achieved by Charles Ratcliffe was to continue under his headship. Unfortunately, the Chairman of Managers who had appointed him, the Vicar of Ruislip, Thomas Marsh Everett, was not to see this: he fell ill towards the end of the year, and died the following February.  The school was on the brink of a new century, and much was to change.






Reopened with 161 children present.  There are 68 in my room, 44 in Miss Medcalf’s and 49 in Miss Roberts’ room.  The managers have, during the holidays, put a new window in one of the two dark corners of the room with the result that it is now the lightest part of the school.


About a dozen boys away ‘beating’ for Mr Cox.


In the Vicar’s hand:
Examined registers and found correct.  A wet morning – attendance consequently below average.  In Mixed School 100 – in Infant Department 36 – Total 136.

T.M. Everett


On roll 176.  Average 150.2. Percentage 85%

An unsatisfactory week owing to the lax discipline which generally shows after holidays.  The work also did not reach a high level.




I handed in my resignation of my post here as Head Master, to take effect on April 16th, or if the managers will agree, at the end of Easter week.. This I do entirely of my own accord, as I am leaving the profession for a time. 

Signed Charles Ed Ratcliffe.


I had to leave school at 2 p.m. today on urgent business connected with the last entry.  Mrs Ratcliffe in charge .

On roll 175.  Average 149.2.  Percentage 83%

A miserably wet week, and the attendance is very good when that is considered.  I regret to say that the work of the infants is not carried on with either energy or brightness.


On roll 173.  Average 133. Percentage 76

The average attendance in the Infants’ room is only 34 out of 56.  This is largely attributable to the teacher’s want of energy.  There is some [LB1:232] sickness, but it by no means represents the disgraceful difference between past records of attendance and this.  I have to wish to say hard things now that I am leaving the school, but a change should be made, the sooner the better for the children. I examined Standards I & II (under Miss Medcalf).  The writing has fallen off considerably, but the state of the rest of the work reflects the greatest credit upon the teacher.  Spelling & tables were remarkably good.


Miss Roberts away today, with, I understand, the managers’ permission.

On roll 173.  Average 132. Percentage 76

I do not quite understand the low attendance.  It is mainly in the infants’ room where there are only 31 present out of 56.  Have reported the whole of the irregulars (i.e. those who have low attendance) to the authorities.




On roll 173.  Average 141. Percentage 81

Rain has fallen most of the week, and the attendance is not bad if the weather is considered.  The boys won a football match against Ickenham School.  During the last few weeks the hedges around the premises have been trimmed, and look much neater. Diocesan Examination is fixed for March 9.  Nothing of note has transpired this week.


In the Vicar’s hand:
Aid Grant 1898-1899

On 7th November 1898 received Form 17A from the Education Department stating that a grant of £38 would be paid to the school account for the current year. 

The grant is made for the purpose of improving the school staff (including if necessary any improvements which have been made since the passing of the Elementary School Act) £6 increasing salaries (including if necessary any increase made since the passing of the Elementary School Act) £10, improving books apparatus and furniture, and £22

Entered by Rev. T.M. Everett.




In the Vicar’s hand:
Tested registers and found correct.  I notice in Infant Class 2 children aged 9 who, unless very backward, ought to be removed to Standard I.

T.M. Everett


With regard to the above perfectly fair criticism I have only to say that the children referred to have been tried in Standard I and found wanting; and that in our classification of the children, the sole principle that guides us is the good of the child.   

On roll 175. (3 added. 1 left)  Average 144. Percentage 82.

The new children are from Thomas Street Board School, London, a noted institution, but they are far below the level of similar scholars in this rural school.


Examined I & II with satisfactory results.  Vicar called in at 3.45 & spoke to boys about treading down the paths near ditch.

On roll 175.  Average 141. Percentage 81




A new fire grate has been placed in west end of main room.


On roll 173.  Average 141. Percentage 87

Have examined children for month ended February 28th,  and with the usual few excepted, am satisfied with the general attainment of the school.  The children are more forward than they were last year at this time.  I am gratified to find that in spite of the phenomenal attendance last year (average 152) it is equally high for the three quarters just completed.  Miss Roberts is leaving school when I do, viz at Easter.


I had to leave school at 3.15 & Miss Medcalf will take repetition in my place.




Diocesan Examination.  Registers not marked.  Children went home at noon.


Mr and Mrs Youens, our successors here, visited the schools.

On roll 172.  Average 140. Percentage 81

Routine work with satisfactory results.


On roll 173.  Average 138. Percentage 80

Ordinary routine.  Nothing of importance. 

There is a good deal of slight illness about.


Diocesan Report 1899

The school has this year passed a very good examination.  In Division I (Master’s) great care has evidently been bestowed upon the teaching of the catechism, in which the knowledge was intelligent and very generally diffused; there was a good knowledge shown of the facts of the scripture lessons, but the knowledge of their explanation was confined to a few, from whom, however, there was some excellent answering.

In Division II (Miss Medcalf) there was bright accurate and intelligent answering, and the good order and reverence are very creditable to their teacher.  Fuller explanation of the catechism and of some of the Old Testament lessons might be given.

In Division III (Miss Roberts) kind and bright teaching has been given with good effect; the repetition work was reverent and distinct and the answering from the elder children very accurate and orderly”

Mark for each Division Very Good

Signed J.N. Newland Smith Diocesan Inspector




Received a wire calling me to town ‘at once’.  Being unwilling to absent myself from school all day, I am only taking half the day, viz this afternoon.




On roll 173.  Average 134. Percentage 79%

I do not remember falling below 80 per cent before.  The upper school is very good but the Infants are only half of them present.


Miss Roberts left the school today.  The children & Miss Medcalf presented me with a tankard as a token of their regard.


School closed for Easter Holiday Thursday noon.  I shall not therefore reappear in school as my notice expired on April 8th, , and the school reopens on the 10th .

On roll 169.  Average 132. Percentage 80 nearly




In the Vicar’s hand:
Attended at re-opening of school after the holidays and introduced new teachers to the children.

T.M. Everett

9 a.m.  In Mixed School 98 present
            In Infant Class   59     
                        Total   157


I Ralph Youens Certificated Master assumed charge of this school from today i.e. 10/4/99

School staff
                 R. Youens                   Certificated Master
              Mrs Annie Youens       Art 68
              Miss Ellen Copeland    Art 68
              Miss Medcalf              Art 68


Infants have spent much time during the week in being taught order and obedience (prompt). Considerable improvement since 10/4/99


In the Vicar’s hand:
Tested registers and found correct.  A very wet day – only 102 in morning and 97 in afternoon instead of annual average 150.

T.M. Everett




Mrs Youens and Miss Copeland now have the Infants under reasonable control.


The Infants will take their lessons according to the times of the Time Table in Infant Room & Recitation 11 to 11.15 as in the principal room.  Those in the principal room will take lessons in the following order:-



Arithmetic Reading Writing





as on Time table



Writing &c




This is done with a view of altering the Time Table as the present arrangement hardly works satisfactorily.  The time for Scripture & Registers remains unaltered.

Considerable difficulty has been experienced with the ‘songs’ especially Infants, (no books appear to be left behind) and in case of older children some seem taken from sources not readily accessible to a new teacher for example ‘borrowed copies’.




Standards III to VI attended service this am  Registers closed 9.15


Standards III to VI attended service this am  Registers closed 9.15

Attendance affected by ‘Garland Day”


Registers closed at 9.15 school dismissed at 11.15 today (Ascension Day)  Holiday in the afternoon.


In the Vicar’s hand:
This afternoon Holiday is usually taken – it being the Annual Pleasure Fair in the village with the attractions to the children of Swings, Roundabouts, Shooting Galleries etc.

T.M. Everett


In the Vicar’s hand:
It rained heavily as children came to school, consequently attendance is lower than usual, there being upwards of 20 absentees in Mixed Department and in Infant Class only 31 present out of 67 on books. Tested registers and found correct.

T.M. Everett




School visited today by H.M.I both morning and afternoon.


The attendance today 139 & 124 much smaller than usual.  A fair at Pinner is accountable for many absentees.


Holiday on White-Monday.  Wednesday being the Queen’s birthday we sang ‘God save the Queen’ at 12 o’clock, a few words suitable to the occasion having been spoken.  Rose Woodman taken on as temporary monitor from May 23rd inclusive.


The new work of the year is proceeding satisfactorily.


Registers closed at 9.15 am
School dismissed at 11.45 am
<Registers?> Closed at 1 pm
Dismissal at 3.5 pm


Haymaking commenced this week.  Attendance much the same as usual.




Average for this week 150.9.  The attendance officer visited yesterday.


The attendance is very poor today viz 107 on roll 178.
It is owing to a local treat to children.


In consequence of the very backward condition of the Infant class last year the present Standard I forms anything but a good class.  However there is considerable improvement in this Standard which is, for the present in charge of Miss Copeland, with a few of 1st Class Infants.

Work as usual this week, and the attendance rather lower.  With regard to this point, it is undoubtedly a serious drawback to the school.  Children frequently do not come to school till a late age, when they ought to be able to read & write &c.  With regard to absence, any flimsy pretext is offered as a reason in many cases; in fact placing school last in [LB1:244] stead of first would seem to be the rule with the irregulars (i.e. those pupils with poor attendance)


Received this evening lists of Poetry, Geography & Object Lessons, submitted to, & approved by H.M.I. see inside of cover of Log Book (end) (no longer extant).


Work as usual this week. The attendance of older boys is less than usual owing to haymaking operations at which they assist.


In the Vicar’s hand:
Tested registers and found correct.  Several of the older boys away – haymaking – In spite of protest, parents are lax in conforming to the law and seem to act in defiance of what is right by sending children under age to work.  This seriously affects the average attendance which ought to be [?] higher grant it is

T.M. Everett




In examining Standard I I am pleased to notice further improvement under Miss Copeland, although the lack of Infant Room groundwork is so apparent.


The school closed this afternoon for the Summer Holidays ie 5 weeks.  Re‑assemble August 21st 1899


The school has been washed & scrubbed & walls and ceilings swept, during the past week.

School staff since May 23rd 1899
       R Youens             Certificated.
       Mrs A Youens      Art. 68
       Miss Medcalf        Art. 68
       Rose Woodman    T.M. (Temporary Monitor)


In the Vicar’s hand:
Tested registers and found correct.  First day of school after the Holidays.  Some 30 children absent from school.

T.M. Everett


Miss Philpott Art 68 assumed duties [LB1:246] as an Assistant today August 21st. Rose Woodman T.M. left today


In the Vicar’s hand:
Tested Infant registers and found correct.  42 present out of 58 on books.

T.M. Everett


Work proceeding as usual with the exception of that of a number of children who attend very irregularly.  Were the attendance at all well looked after, much employment of unqualified children could be stopped.  Blackberries and mushrooms are the attraction of some.


Attendance somewhat less this week.


Attendance not improving


In the Vicar’s hand:
As many as 50 children absent from Mixed School today.  Only 71 present a Circus at Uxbridge is the excuse given.  Exhortation and advice with regard to the regularity of attendance induce no  result [LB1:247] when any inducements to pleasure presents itself. 

The school master informs me that he has no means of punishing absentees hence compulsory attendance is a dead letter – and every school interest so far.  It is, to say the least of it - strange that the law can be thus openly defied.

T.M. Everett


Work as usual this week


Miss Copeland & Mrs Youens absent in consequence of a brother’s death.


Attendance considerably improved this week.


Fires commenced this week.  Attendance about the same


Attendance 146/178


The attendance officer who has been ill visited this week for the first time since the Summer Holidays.  Attendance this week 150-3/178       [LB1:248]

Am working from a rough draft of a new ‘Time Table’ to test its applicability.


In the Vicar’s hand:
Tested registers in Mixed School and found correct.  A wet morning.  Many children absent.     Water out in places across road to school from outlying districts.  Only 84 present

T.M. Everett


In the Vicar’s hand:
In the afternoon examined registers in the Infants Class and found correct.  21 Infant girls present out of 23 on books and 24 boys out of 30.

T.M. Everett


Copied in by the Vicar:
July 8th
Form 170A

Annual Report 1899 (not previously entered)

Mixed School. “This school is taught on original lines and with conspicuous success. Singing from notes must improve

Infants’ Class.  “This class was in an unsatisfactory condition, both as to the teaching and the order at the first visit of inspection, and although improved at the second visit the general result is only pretty good.  Considerable improvement will be looked for next year.  The accommodation is insufficient for several months in the year.  The Managers would do well to consider the advisability of appointing a certificated teacher to so large a class.”

A.Medcalf, A. Youens, and E. Copeland are recognised under Article 68 of the Code.”


  In margin, at right angle:
Entered by Correspondent November 9, 1899





Several boys of school age &c engaged today beating game, during school hours.


Repetition of last entry.  With regard to illegal employment the authorities act as if paralysed.  School closed during the afternoon of November 15th


Registers closed at 1.30 pm. School dismissed at 3.30 pm this afternoon.  This will be continued during the shortest days; as many children have long distances to go home.


Many boys illegally employed beating game today.


Work as usual this week.


School visited by the Attendance Officer this week who took names of irregular children (i.e. those with poor attendance).


Small attendances today, 103 & 94. Weather very cold & slight fall of snow.




The attendance of the whole week bad owing in great measure to severe weather.


We are taking arithmetic, writing and recitation this p.m. instead of sewing and drawing, owing to a very dark afternoon.


The Vicar, Rev. Thomas Marsh Everett, fell seriously ill during December.  He resigned his position in a letter to the parish dated 9th February 1900, and was to die on the 21st. Initially his absence from the parish was covered by the Rev. W.S. Williams who had previously been Senior Curate of St. Mark’s, North Audley Street. Rev. Williams made the following entry.

Examined the registers and found them correct.
December 20th 1899           W.S. Williams


Registers closed at 9.5.  Higher Standards attend church services at 11.15 this a.m.  Broke up for Xmas Holidays 2 weeks 1 day.






First uploaded: 30 December 2020
Last revised: 10 February 2021