Hertfordshire Children

in War and Peace 1914-1939

David Parker

University of Hertfordshire Press, 2007

ISBN 978-1-905313-40-2

This is a well  researched and detailed book which will throw a light on how the First World War, and the subsequent peace, affected the education of the parents and grandparents of many of us. When I wrote the book The London Gunners come to Town I looked in some detail at the immediate impact of the war on local schools and my first reaction was too look in the index. There were many entries under Hemel Hempstead, including the following sub entries: Absenteeism from schools, Army camps, Boxmoor CC Mixed School, Central School, Local occupations, Nonconformity, Secondary Schools, Status as an Elementary Authority, and Technical Institute, with more entries under Hemel Hempstead Education Committee.  Other towns were equally well covered. A check on some of the entries made me want to read further. I have been caught that way before with library books which are too big to read at one sitting - and ended up paying fines. I have therefore put the book on by "Books to Buy" list and may report further at a later date. In the meantime I give the contents list, and also the list of illustrations. It contains a significant amount of useful information and is a must for anyone researching a school history who wants some relevant background on this period, and some ideas as to where they might find direct references to the their school.

From the Cover

David Parker's new book is a social history of Hertfordshire from the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 to the outbreak of the Second in 1939, with a particular emphasis on the development of education and attitudes towards the young. The period in question shows the people of Hertfordshire going through astonishing change as war and social upheaval convulsed the county.

Being so close to London and yet possessing extensive countryside, during World War I Hertfordshire became virtually one vast training and transit camp. The county also endured German raids. Families and schools suffered significant hardships, and an engrossing story of social trauma and economic turmoil unfolds. The twenties and thirties saw Hertfordshire emerge from Victorian values into the modern world as urban prosperity boomed and rural depression deepened. These were decades of vivid contrasts and significant tensions across the county as rival social groups, political parties, employers and unions strove to make their voices heard.

Among the subjects looked at in detail are the direct effect of military conflict on the county; the evolving situation for children both at school and at work; public health; rural protectionism; the rise of vocationalism in urban schools; and the controversy over Hertfordshire church schools. Taken together, this is a significant contribution to the history of Hertfordshire in the twentieth century.


  Illustrations   IV
  Abbreviations   XI
Chapter 1   Introduction   1
Chapter 2   Hertfordshire in 1914   7
Chapter 3   The direct effects of military conflict   32
Chapter 4   Schools at war   63
Chapter 5   Children at work   97
Chapter 6   The war and health   125
Chapter 7   Continuity and change: Hertfordshire 1914-1939   149
Chapter 8   Education, social class and employment   176
Chapter 9   The countryside   207
Chapter 10   The church schools controversy   236
Chapter 11   A wider view of children's health and welfare 1919-1939   264
Chapter 12   Conclusion   299
  Endnotes   307
  References   353
  Index   363


Lea valley greenhouses, c.1927

Paper mills on the river Gade and Grand Junction Canal, c.1927

Boys' class at Letchmore School, Stevenage, c.1910

The Right Honourable Sir Thomas Halsey Bt

Sir John Lovell Pank

The fourth Marquis of Salisbury

The Honourable A.T. Holland-Hibbert

Sir Charles Longmore

The 23rd London Regiment arrives in Hatfield, 1914

Army camp on Royston Heath, 1914

Local families accompany a troop of soldiers in St Albans, c.1914

Troops at the ford, Much Hadham

Troops under canvas in the grounds of Moor Place, Much Hadham

The children's home at Much Hadham, converted into a military convalescent home

Queen's Road School, Royston, converted into a military hospital

The windmill at Much Hadham, disused since 1895, converted into accommodation for Belgian refugees

Lombard House, Hertford: the scene of bombing by a Zeppelin in 1915

Dr (later Lieutenant Colonel Sir) Francis Fremantle

Harpenden war memorial, unveiled by the Earl of Cavan

Map of population growth in Hertfordshire

Birds Hill, Letchworth, c.1927

Aerial view of Welwyn Garden City under development in the 1920s

Sir Edmund Barnard

The Rev. Canon G.H.P. Glossop

Captain Edward Morris

William Graveson, S.W. Howe and R.R. Bunn

Drawing of the proposed Civic College at Letchworth, c.1926

Drawing of the Hall of Memory in the Civic College, c.1926

Wilstone School, c.1910

Wilstone School: spinning

Wilstone School: dyeing wool

Wilstone School: weaving

Gardening class at Letchmore School, Stevenage, c.1923

School garden at Applecroft School, Welwyn Garden City, late 1920s

St Mary's Church of England School, Welwyn

The Right Reverend Michael Bolton Furse, Lord Bishop of St Albans

Kingsmead Special Residential School, formerly Hertford Union Workhouse


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