Meet the Yorkshire head teacher who uncovered secrets of school history in 100-year-old diaries

The diaries of former headteachers dating back to 1910 have been discovered at a primary school in Yorkshire.

The rare find has revealed writings of former headteachers at the school, dating from 1910 1998. The books also included photos, diagrams, old records and daily diary entries, documenting school life in detail, from normal days through to World War II air raids. Photo credit: Submitted picture

Lost diaries of headteachers dating back more than 110 years have been unearthed during the relocation of school’s archive.

Caroline Broadhead, head teacher of Quay Academy, in Bridlington, discovered a number of old books coated with dust at the back of the archive room and found they contained the writings of former headteachers at the school, dating from 1910 to 1998.

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Pictured Caroline Broadhead, head teacher of Quay Academy in Hull, who made the rare book find. Photo credit: Submitted picture

The dusty pages revealed photographs, diagrams, old records and daily diary entries have come to light at Quay Academy, and offer a glimpse into the school’s past, from the everyday happenings of classroom life to experiencing the air raids from World War II.

Mrs Broadhead said the rare find will offer staff and students alike a unique insight into the history of their school, which is part of the David Ross Education Trust.

She said: “I cannot express how special these books are. To discover such valuable records of our school’s history is a privilege and it is thrilling to read these accounts and get a sense for what life must have been like at the time the journals were written.”

Having made this discovery, the principle has now decided to carry on the tradition by creating a new journal of her own, documenting school life through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Caroline Broadhead said the rare find will offer staff and students alike a unique insight into the history of their school. Photo credit: Submitted photo

Ms Broadhead said: “I now feel it is my responsibility to continue this tradition and document what life has been like for us here at Quay over the last year.

“Undoubtedly, the pandemic will mark a key period in history, and preserving the experience as it happens for future generations of headteachers and students is a thrilling and exciting endeavour.”

She added: “Certainly, we will find ways to share this history and preserve it for our school and our local community in the years to come. I feel truly honoured to be part of this history.”

Simon Rose, director of primary education at the David Ross Education Trust, added: "We are amazed and thrilled by Caroline’s discovery of such wonderful documents of history at Quay Academy.

"The social history importance of these documents should not be underestimated. No doubt they are filled with key dates that will jump out and can be introduced into the curriculum and demonstrate in real terms how it felt to live in a different period of history.

"In short, these books offer a wealth of opportunities to transfer them into powerful learning for Quay pupils.

"Caroline’s own contribution will be a marvellous addition and a great tribute to her predecessors, and it will be invaluable for future generations to have these eye-witness accounts at their disposal. We look forward to reading more from these books and preserving them in the years to come."


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