St. Joseph’s Catholic School was opened on March 15th, 1899 and celebrated its 110th birthday on 15th, March 2009.
On 15th, March 1899 one hundred and forty children between the ages of 4 and 13 years of age were registered at the school.
Today in 2009 one hundred and six children are on roll. The school celebrated its anniversary in the Parish of St. Joseph’s in a service of thanks giving concelebrated by Fr. Anthony Hastie (Parish Priest) and Fr. Ronald Richmond. Pupils and staff, past and present together with parishioners, reflected on the significant role of the school in the local community. Fr. Hastie spoke highly of the school’s outstanding contribution to community cohesion and highlighted some of the social history which emerged from the old school log book which recorded the events from 1907 to 1912.
The congregation was moved by stories of children unable to attend school because they had no boots and outbreaks of Measles, Whooping Cough, Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria as well as one child dying after a fortnight’s absence.
On a lighter note children had an afternoon off school because a circus came to town and a week off for the Coronation of King George (16th. to 23rd. June 1911).
Children from the school prepared bidding prayers which reflected the past, present and future of St. Joseph’s and the school children carried the offertory gifts which included the 1899 admissions register , 1907 log book and current school photograph. After the service everyone was invited to the school for refreshments, tour of the school and a slide show compiled of old photographs of the school and pupils from 1904 on wards.
Well over one hundred visited the school and reminisced about their time at St. Joseph’s and commented on the changes made over the years. On the 16th.March children and staff arrived in school dressed as if the year was 1899.
The children stepped back into time and soaked up the history of the school. Working in rows, writing on slates and generally being perfectly well behaved …. just in case! Some parents even suggested that caning should have been brought back for the day …. to make sure that the traditions of the school were properly remembered!!!
Some classes had PE lessons based on activities children would be expected to do back in 1899. History lessons reflected the changes in the school, school life and the community of Murton.
At the end of the day the children were all presented with a commemorative medal (produced by the Royal Mint) which will hopefully be a cherished keepsake and a reminder of the long and colourful history of St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School.
A selection of pictures for you to enjoy:
Images from 2009
Images Prior 2009