Hartington watch stands the test of time

A Leicestershire woman has visited Hartington to show local school pupils and staff a wrist watch that was given to her mother-in-law for good school attendance more than a century ago.

Pauline Fitchett, 72, was enjoying a week’s holiday in Derbyshire with her friend when she contacted the school. The women were spending time researching their family trees by attending a family history event in Buxton and visiting the Record Office in Matlock.

The watch was given to Pauline’s mother-in-law, Susanna Flower more than 100 years ago and is inscribed with “Susie Flower, 10 years regular attendance, Hartington School.”

Pauline, who lives in Rothley in Leicestershire, also showed an Ashbourne News article about Susanna and her siblings, John and Nellie’s significant school record.

The newspaper feature, dated Friday, April 2 1909, reports: “The schools in the Ashbourne district are remarkable for good attendance compared with other parts of Derbyshire. Cases of individual regularity are fairly common, but Hartington Church School is, we should think, able to boast of a family’s record attendance. John, Nellie and Susanna Flower have together attended school for 16 years and have only been twice absent and have made 6,689 attendances out of a possible 6,691.”

It goes on to state: “There must have been many occasions when the children would have been useful at home and Mr and Mrs Flower must have put themselves to much inconvenience and shown much self-denial to enable their children to attain such a grand achievement.”

Susanna was from Hartington and Bob’s father, John Henry Fitchett (known as Jack) was from Brailsford but they moved to Bedford where Bob was born in 1939. The family also lived in Kent for a spell, before heading back to Derbyshire and residing in Tibshelf in Bolsover district. Susanna died in 1966 just the year after Bob and Pauline were married.

Bob had two siblings; John and Jean. John now lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Mary where they have resided for 15 years; Jean died in 1938, aged six. Bob passed away in December 2009 aged 70 following a battle with leukaemia.

Pauline said: “We would visit Derbyshire a lot together and I have so many happy memories of Hartington; we would always take something back home from the cheese shop.

“My father-in-law would always talk about his time in the county before he passed away in 1986.

“We had a lovely time and were made to feel very welcome when we visited the school in September to meet and chat to the children and teachers. We had a tour of the school and took photographs; spoke to the pupils whilst they were busy working and then headed to the Village Hall for a look around. We also had lunch at the Post Office and got chatting to local residents there. I think it is fitting that the school is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year so I thought the watch and newspaper article would be very well received.”

Vice Chairman of the School Governors, Liz Broomhead MBE was on hand to show the friends around during their visit. She added: “What a wonderful surprise it was to receive an email from Pauline about her family ties to the school and to see the beautiful artefacts she has kept.

“There are many people in the village with the second name Flower, including Judith who is a teaching assistant here at the school, so they were keen to chat and find out more about the name and descendants from years gone by.

“As the school gets ready to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year there are a number of events we are planning including working alongside the community to delve into our history books. I would encourage anyone who has ties to the school to get in touch as it would be amazing to hear your memories and stories. We will then be able to compile them into our own research project to showcase during our big anniversary celebrations.”

To get in touch with the school you can call 01298 84254 or email: info@hartington.derbyshire.sch.uk




Thur 2nd – Lego Club
Tues 7th – Y5/6 County Lines Talk
Wed 8th – MAST – Hannah Wills 9.15am
Wed 8th – Craft Club
Mon 13th – Thu 16th KS2 SATS
Mon 13th – Cookery Club
Tues 14th – Craft Club
Thu 16th – Lego Club
Mon 20th – Peak Wildlife Trip
Fri 24th – Break for Half Term
Mon 3rd – INSET Day
Tues 4th – Tempest Group Photos
Thu 13th – All Schools Together
Tue 18th – National Park Ranger Day – Whittle Farm day trip
Wed 19th – MAST Hannah Wills am
Mon 24th – INSET Day
Tues 2nd – MAST Hannah Wills am
Fri 19th – Lea Green Trip -Whole School