The Flintham Museum

The Changing Face of Education in Flintham

This is the title of a project funded by the Local Heritage Initiative (LHI). The Flintham Society, an educational charity which owns and runs a museum at Flintham, Nottinghamshire, was awarded £24,536 in 2003. The money is for a project which is in two parts.

The pond and wildflower area

The first part of the project is concerned with the environment and conservation area alongside the museum building where there is a pond and wild flower meadow. Volunteers have worked with a number of experts to understand the various elements of the site and to draw up a management plan. Some of the experts were 'bought in' but others came from within the community and gave their time and expertise. A number of workshops and activities were held to survey the flora and fauna around the pond and meadow area. In addition, museum volunteer, David Chalmers, organised walks around Flintham at different times of the year to hear, see and record as many birds as possible. Each walk ended with breakfast in the village hall.

Another of the museum volunteers, Jenny Lennon, organised a moth watch to coincide with one of the bird walks. Jenny built a light trap which was left overnight by the museum pond. The following morning people gathered to see what had been caught before joining the bird walkers for breakfast in the village hall. Some of the children were so fascinated with the finds that Jenny worked with them to set up light traps in their own gardens.

Interpretation boards

In addition to the management plan, some of the information gathered during the project is being used in four interpretation boards. These are sited outside the museum and visitors will be able to stand and look at the pond and conservation area and learn more about what they can see at different times of the year.

One of the interpretation boards will explain the history of the museum building and this is the link to the second part of the LHI project. The museum is housed in an eighteenth-century building which began its life as a charity school. There, from 1779-1874, up to twenty boys at a time received a basic education. One of the museum volunteers wondered whether girls received an education and this sparked off an interest in discovering the different types of education in Flintham over the centuries.

Thoroton school projectIn November 2005, a well-attended exhibition was staged in the village hall to display the results of the research. Displays demonstrated that education in Flintham was indeed available for all age groups and both sexes, although not always at the same times. One of the most surprising finds was the number of different types of establishments there had been.

School photograph from Thoroton SchoolFor example, in 1950, The Robert Thoroton Rural Secondary School was founded. This was situated in ex-RAF huts in Flintham Woods, just off the A46. The school closed in 1963 and, apart from concrete bases and one hut, there are no physical remains left. However, there are still plenty of people around who were pupils at the school. Part of the LHI grant has been used to collect oral memories of school days at the Robert Thoroton school. A book is planned which will relate the history of the school with some of the memories and photographs which have been discovered.

 

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