Day Industrial Schools were instituted in 1876 for children whose parents refused to send them to elementary schools. There were apparently 11 Day Industrial Schools operating around the country, one of them being located in Salop Street, Wolverhampton. Opened in 1881 it catered for 150 boys and girls “too ragged and too wretched for the ordinary elementary school”. It is believed the building was formerly used by Salop Street Board School. Activities at the school included basic academic study as well as mat making and wood chopping for boys and cooking and washing for girls. Average attendance in the 1880s was between 60 and 80. It is believed that the Wolverhampton school closed in 1919.
The school log book for this school details how it was affected by the First World War.
Unfortunately, attendance was affected early on in the war. On 1 September 1914, there is a note that “During the month of August several children truanted this was due to the soldiers being stationed in the town previous to going to the war.”
The main relevant entries in the log book are the exploits of “old boys” who have been called up to the Front. For example, John Riley, of the 2nd Worcesters, was visited by the headmaster on 7 October 1914 as he had “received a wound in his left shoulder while fighting in the Battle of the Aisme.” On 14 October the same year, another “old boy”, William Ashton, visited the school as he was
home on sick leave, having had a part of his cheek and nose, blown off, during the battle of the Aisme. He also received a bullet wound in the hand at the battle of Nons.
Unfortunately, on 15 January 1915, the headmaster was informed by Thomas Hodgkiss, who was home from the war, “of the death of Sgt Haden, another ‘old boy.’” Some of the “old boys” fared slightly better, however. John Fletcher, for example, visited the school on 23 December 1914 and was proud to tell the school that “although only 22 years old…[he was] a sergeant.”
Finally, there are also some details about other aspects of the war, such as on 16 August 1918 when “The children spent the afternoon at an exhibition of war pictures etc, which were explained to them by Lieut. Allport.”