Support our Work

Global Link needs your help to continue working on community history projects.

Read Congregational School and the League of Nation

Developing awareness of the international peace movement in a rural school between the wars
The former Read Congregational School, now Read United Reformed Church. © Janet Nelson

The former Read Congregational School, now Read United Reformed Church. © Janet Nelson

Read is a village at the western foot of Pendle Hill in North East Lancashire. In the 1920s it was a working village on the main road from Burnley to Clitheroe. It had an elementary Congregational school built in 1888, for 204 children. The schoolmistress was Miss Webster. Most children would have had parents working at one of the textile mills in the vicinity and others would be from a farmworker’s family.

There is very little in the School Logbook to show how teaching much there was any on activities relating of the War or its aftermath. There were occasional references to Armistice Day and Empire Day in May, the two occasions on which the children learnt and reflected on the Great War and the British Empire. However, on Armistice Day in 1927, after a short service of Remembrance and taking time for the ‘Silence,’ Miss Webster spent a short while talking to the children about the objects of the League of Nations. This was followed up by lessons during the week relating to the War. The children learnt about Belgium and were shown pictures of the devastation caused by the War in a Geography class and they designed and drew poppies in ‘brushwork.’ There were no further references to the League in the following years. The school involved the children in supporting War charities. In 1921 the children helped to make a street collection in the form of pennies laid around the village, for the Fund for the Disabled Soldiers and Soldiers, while in 1926 they took ‘an examination for the War Comforts Charity.’

References/Further Reading:

Read Congregational School Logbook. Archive ref: SMRE/1/2, Lancashire Archives.
Kelly’s Directory for N. E. Lancashire, 1924.

Helen McCarthy, 2011. The British People and the League of Nations. Manchester: Manchester University Press.