Market Lavington Museum

Sybil in the infant class – 1920s

At Market Lavington Museum, we are hugely indebted to the late Sybil Perry for her written and recorded memories, both about her ancestors’ dewpond making business and also about Market Lavington School.

In this photo, Sybil is aged four with her mother, Mrs Baker, who was a teacher at the school, and her grandmother, with whom the family lived for a while.

Little Sybil Baker started school in 1924 (in the infant classroom at the front of the building, nearest Church Street) aged four and a half. This was before May Potter (later Mrs May Elisha) was the infant teacher. We think Sybil’s first teacher was Miss Goodway. The head teacher was Mr William Shepherd Laycock.

Sybil remembered learning to read using the phonic method. First the children had to learn all the letter sounds – a for apple, c for cat and so on. Then they progressed to the first of the Beacon Primer reading books. There was a picture at the top of each page, but the ‘sentences’ were just made up of two letter words, so conveyed little meaning. These included ‘I am on.’, ‘He is in.’, ‘It is at’ and so on. The second book made a little more sense, using three letter words in sentences such as ‘The cat is on the mat.’ and ‘The dog is in the box.’.

We will consider more of Sybil’s memories of early learning from almost a hundred years ago in subsequent blog posts.