The Victorians had lots of diseases that we rarely or don’t have today like scarlet fever, small pox, mumps, diptheria and whooping cough. We are now vaccinated against them so we are unlikely to get these diseases.

Children were more likely to die from diseases than they are today. Those who did not die  but managed to survive were often left severely crippled.

Closing the school for several weeks during epidemics was not unusual. Sadly,in many cases one or more of the children did not return afterwards.

Why were there many deadly diseases?

Living conditions were bad for many families, with cold and damp houses and poor diets due to lack of money. Children came to school from a wide area, so if one child had an infectious disease it could quickly spread around the whole community.

Log book entries

1 November 1874 Charles Clarke (youngest in school) dangerously ill

December 1876:  Several boys have whooping cough

 December 1881:  Rumours of scarlet fever and consequently attendance thinner.

28 April 1882: Whooping cough prevalent

25 January 1884: A few cases of mumps

20 November 1885: Few cases of measles

4 December 1885:  Several cases of measles in the Parish School

27 January 1888: Several cases of Whooping Cough

26 Feb 1889 : This district still badly visited by mumps, over thirteen fresh cases this week.

24 January  1890: Over twenty boys away this week some suffering from colds and others from influenza.

5 December 1890: Fifteen or more cases of measles or whooping cough in the school.

12 Dec 1890:  Mr Pyle attendance officer brought a certificate from Dr Butterfield to the effect that the school was to be closed because of the measles.

27 February 1891: Several cases of sickness owing doubtless to last week’s cold, damp and foggy weather.

6 July 1894: The attendance is still bad, and though it may be partly accounted for by an epidemic of measles.

12 August 1895William Fiveash – measles,  Thomas Allen – ringworm, J Osbourne and G Payne scarlet fever at home

6 May – 1 June 1896:   School Closed due to outbreak of measles

January 1901:  mumps

29 September – 20 October 1902: School closed  due to outbreak of diphtheria

20 July – 4 Aug 1903:   School Closed due to outbreak of measles

 Sometimes children died of these diseases:

22 January 1882: Thomas Quinell, Standard II, dropped down dead.