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Drinkstone School and Village, A Suffolk History
Drinkstone School and Village
A Suffolk History

Sheila Wright

ISBN: 978-1-902019-08-6

(Old ISBN: 1 902019 08 3)

280 pages, paperback, 210mm x 297mm (~A4).
63 black and white photographs, 7 maps and plans and 16 pen & ink illustrations

Published by Greenridges Press, Oct 2005.

Price: £ 10.99 Postage and Packing:
(This does seem a lot but the book weighs 835 grams and when adequate packaging is added to protect it from the rigours of the postal service the package weighs over 1000 gm. So it has to be posted 1st Class as it exceeds the maximum weight limit for 2nd Class post, which we normally use.)

About the Book

This local history tells the story of one Suffolk Church of England school in its village context. Drinkstone School was built in 1861 and enlarged in 1912 but spent many of its final years under threat of closure. It was starved of funds for essential modernisation work such as the installation of flush toilets but the dedication of its teachers and the lively spirit of its pupils ensured that it was a stimulating and happy place in which to learn. The school finally closed in 1986 and, after standing sadly derelict, has now been converted into a delightful house. Besides recounting month-by-month school life, Sheila Wright explores how ‘education for all’ came about during the 19th Century, how C. of E. village schools were founded, what factors led to their rise and to their gradually reduced role, leading eventually to closure for vast numbers of such schools.

The book describes the socio-economic climate over the decades, and looks at links between Church, school and State, the hierarchy of “Class”, the ravages of two World Wars and much more, bringing us to modern times when Suffolk villages and their communities are vastly different from those days two centuries ago when the charity to promote education in Drinkstone was established.

A strong feature of the book is the dozens of vivid personal stories and reminiscences of ex-pupils, staff, and villagers. Several contributors are now aged over ninety. Their stories take us back in time and enable us to share intimate details of other lives.

The author taught at the school during its last five years and was Acting head at the time of the closure. She remembers it with affection as “a special corner of the world” and says: “It felt like a large family, everyone knowing everyone else and at ease together.”

The book is richly illustrated with archive photographs and plans, many donated by Drinkstone Local History Group, and also with Sheila’s own drawings. Many of the beautiful historic buildings in Drinkstone are featured.

The Author
Sheila Wright

Sheila Wright M.A. (née Jones) was born in 1939. Educated at Wyggeston School in Leicester, Bretton Hall in Yorkshire and the U.E.A. in Norwich, she taught in many village schools (almost half of them Church of England Controlled Schools), first in Hertfordshire, then in Suffolk. She is married to Ron, a music teacher and band master. Sheila is a Lay Reader in the Church of England. Her hobbies include music, drawing and painting, gardening, keeping poultry, escapism in the French countryside, and enjoying the company of her children and twelve grandchildren.

She has described her experience in France in her earlier book Bon Courage, Mes Amis! which we published in May 2002. It is obviously a good name, as another publisher subsequently produced a book with the identical title, with which it shouldn't be confused!

Further information and Reviews

Review by Nick Sign in the Spring Newsletter of The Suffolk Local History Council.

Readers will find this enjoyable book to be an eloquent witness to the high quality of learning and teaching found in this small village school which, despite its relatively meagre resources, provided through the dedication of its teachers a secure and successful learning environment for its pupils over many decades.

Click here to read the full review.    

Contact Details

The book can be obtained from Mrs Sheila Wright, "Kisumu", The Street, Wickham Skeith, Eye, Suffolk IP23 8LP. Please make cheques for £10.99 + p+p payable to "Mrs S Wright".

STATUS - The book was launched on Sunday 6th November 2005, in the Memorial Hall at Drinkstone, near Bury St. Edmunds.

Copies are available.

Following the success of the book Sheila has written a second book "Drinkstone Revisited - More stories from a Suffolk Village". As we are not doing any more commissioned books due to Anne's RSI Sheila published the book herself under her own imprint "Kisumu Books" with help and advice from us. The book is primarily available directly from Sheila at the address above but we do have a few copies available. The price is £10.99 + p+p in the UK.

If both Drinkstone books are ordered with together the total cost is £21.98 + p+p.

To read more about the book "Drinkstone Revisited - More stories from a Suffolk Village", click on the link.

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