1987: Cuckfield local recalls the long walk to school during the 1920s......

Updated: Jul 28

For the majority of children during the first few decades of the twentieth century, school was short, ending when they entered the adult working world at 14. A few won scholarships to the new secondary schools which provided greater opportunities and the chance to stay on at school to 16 or 18.

Each village had its own school as a result of the 1870 Education Act. These schools were either church or board schools.

Country children including many in Cuckfield often had a long walk to school.

This is a snippet of reflections from an anonymous contributor....


When I was five years old, I walked to Cuckfield school, through Borde Hill Park, owned by Colonel Clarke, a distance of four and a half miles. I left home at 7:45 AM, met with my friends en route and passed the workhouse; here the tramps would be emerging after their bed and breakfast, they would be carrying bread and cheese which would last them to the next workhouse.


Approach to the School and Church c1900 (photograph courtesy of Cuckfield Museum)

Our chief delight was to look in at the parlour window of a cottage* which was used as a sweet shop and if one had a half penny or great good fortune a penny, we could buy 4 liquorice sticks at a farthing each or two sherbert dabs at halfpenny each. The school stood by the Church and was run by the Church. The whole school went to Church on Saints days and Church festivals.

I had to walk back to Ansty from the Old school in the late 50s/early 60s whatever the weather, snow, rain etc. The Pluckroses had to walk as far as Pickwell Lane, Bolney.


Tessa Boyer writes:

After thought, the sweet shop was next to Queens Hall. If you look carefully under the window you can see the worn bricks where the children used to stand to be able to look in at the sweets. Daisy Rhodes told this story many years ago...

The long walk through Borde Hill sounds the same as my Father had to do at 5yrs. The family lived with their Mother in Sand Pit cottages on the Haywards Heath - Balcombe Road having been moved there from Lullings Farm when my Grandfather died at a very young age in 1906.


Lesley Bohanna writes:

:I had to walk back to Ansty from the Old school in the late 50s/early 60s whatever the weather, snow, rain etc. The Pluckroses had to walk as far as Pickwell Lane, Bolney.

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