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    War Agriculture Letter

     

    This extraordinarily rare archive brings vividly to life not only one of headmaster A. H. B. Bishop’s more generous moments in allowing the scheme to go ahead, but also, with hindsight, one of the more disastrous episodes of his headmastership.  Boys were allowed to leave school for a week in term-time to help bring in the harvest – “pea-picking, strawberry-picking, hay-making etc” and the scheme was especially popular not only because the boys didn’t have to go to school, but also because they were paid – sixpence [2½p] an hour.  It has been said that the whole agricultural economy of the country in the early 1940s depended on school children.

     

    On 6th July 1940, however, an accident occurred at a farm at Charlecote in which a boy threw a lump of earth and it took out another boy’s eye.  A court case was brought, and Bishop was required to pay the boy £750 damages – a huge sum, and worth well over £30,000 in modern values.  Bishop appealed on the grounds that boys should not need to be supervised at all times – and won.  The boy ended up with nothing.

    1. OB104 War Argrictural Work letter