March 2021 I just wanted to say thank you so much for the copy of “The Free School in Abthorpe History and Reminiscences” which arrived safely. Not only is it an immensely enjoyable read, it also (by tracing the history of the school) provides a fascinating glimpse of rural Northamptonshire life over the last 300 years. We all too often learn about the monied classes but not ordinary people. And to manage a biography of each teacher – going back to Henry Bendbow in 1647! – is a tremendous feat of research.
The second half dealing with the reminiscences of children who attended the school brings everything wonderfully to life. Miss Gilkes looks primly Edwardian in her photo of 1911 but in later years liked her gin. I loved the description of the school day and the little observations like the portrait of the man whose eyes followed you around the class room.
And the photographic record is amazing. I’m astonished so many photographs survived particularly the older ones. The two of Miss Parsons and Alfred Goodall are astonishing although the children look faintly terrified.
Frances Harris Community Facilities Adviser Northamptonshire ACRE
We hosted an incredibly successful charity dinner and quiz night at the Old School. We seated 60 people and served a hot meal from the kitchen. The main room was warm, welcoming, clean, looked fantastic and was much commented on. The acoustics were great and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this venue.