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Redthorn House, formerly Miss Swann’s School

Mill Street - 8

Mill Street - 8 (20 May 2006)

Jean Buttrick recalls her time at Miss Swann’s School just before the Second World War in the Eynsham Record 1, 1984 pages 33-34 (opens in new window). An extract follows.

The school had two classrooms. One was called the 'music' room where we spent most of the morning reading and writing. The large one of the two was mostly used for the afternoon lessons. We children had to sit at small wooden desks with little inkwells which had to be filled up with fresh ink every day. In the winter months Miss Swann would light a coal fire in the old grate which did not give out much heat, as I remember being very cold in that classroom. But nevertheless I enjoyed every minute at Miss Swann's school.

The entrance (now bricked up) was at the beginning of Newland Street and we had to go through the lobby - at that time it was furnished with pegs for coats and hats - then into the small music room. It was a very dark room. In one corner stood Miss Swann's upright piano which had brass candle holders at each side. In the dark winter months she would light each candle which would throw soft shadows over the little classroom.

In the evenings Miss Swann would give piano lessons to local children. In this room the desks were very long so that all of us used to sit together in rows, about fourteen in all. Miss Swann would sit in an old Windsor chair facing us. Sometimes she would read stories such as 'The Wind in the Willows'...

In those days we children would glance out of the classroom window to watch Mr Banting's cows being driven down Mill Street, around the school corner, down Newland Street, and into the farmyard to be milked by the cowman, Mr Jack Pinker. There was not much traffic at this time, so no-one much worried about the cows, or the carts carrying hay, swedes or dung that were part of village life.

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