A group of volunteers met this afternoon at Teesside Archives to look at School log books from East Cleveland. School log books are a daily record of activity of sorts within schools written by the head teacher. They typically include, significant levels of absenteeism among children and the causes of this; problems with parents; children and other members of staff; social events and fundraising activities; visits to the school by the local gentry, the clergy and others; seasonal activities such as nature walks and gardening; misbehaviour and national events which impinged on school life. The detail and level of entries is highly variable.
After a presentation by Kimberly Starkie the archivist on the background to the log books the team were soon enthralled. We found references to nature walks to see footprints in the snow, surveying of vegetation on shale heaps, walks and talks on bird nests, rosehip gathering, release of children to help with the potato harvest, absenteeism due to blackberrying and school children absent to gather wood during the miners strikes in the 1920s. The books also reflect social history including childhood diseases, school health care, arrival of evacuees in East Cleveland and severe winters. The group only made a little headway into the log books but have agreed to go back to do more research.