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Dates of Class Photos

A guide to calculating them

Many of the class photos the society holds are 30-60 years old, and in most cases there is no accurate date for the year they were taken. In a large number of instances, the photos were donated with words like "That would have been in about 1956". We have to go with that, but obviously over a span of fifty years, the memory cannot always be precise. So if you see yourself in some of these photos where the year is not precisely stated, or if you know the year to be inaccurate, then please do get in touch with us. Once we know of discrepancies, we can act on them. We have already altered the years on at least twelve class photos.

This page is intended to be a Help Page in aiding you to work out the relevant year.

The first thing to point out is that the start date for the school year has changed over the last twenty years. It is now September 1st. In the 1940s-60s certainly, and in the 1970s possibly, it was August 1st. This means that anyone with a birthday in August used to be one of the eldest in the class; now they are one of the youngest.

Start dates

There was initially some debate about whether children spent three or four years at Infants School. People remembered there being four classrooms, certainly at the Council Infants School, and there were certainly at least four teachers. However, the idea that children began Infants School when they were 3 (in the year of their fourth birthday) seemed wrong. We are grateful for Mrs Peggy Pearson, formerly teacher at the Council Infants and Meadowside Infants schools, for giving us a definitive answer: the younger children were mixed age groups so this would account for the extra class.  Therefore the children only spent three years in the infant school. For a period in the 1960s and 70s, children started in the term when they would have their fifth birthday. This group were generally known in educational circles as "The Rising Fives".

Calculating the likely year of the Class Photo

Children usually spent three years at Infants School and four years at Junior School. Using August 1st as the start date for determining at what age children were in which class, this would generally mean the following:

Infants School Classes
Junior School Classes
Class 1
The year you became 5
Class 1
The year you became 8
Class 2
The year you became 6
Class 2
The year you became 9
Class 3
The year you became 7
Class 3
The year you became 10
Class 4
The year you became 11

Class Photos were generally taken at the end of the School Year, i.e. June time, which is why some of the photos we have been told were eg 1955 could be 1954-5 or 1955-6. Where possible, we always try to give the 'span' year (i.e. 1955-6 would be the school year September 1955 to July 1956). Council Junior School photos usually have the teacher on, which for the photos from the 1950s is a huge help, because the teachers and class years are known, and if anyone can provide us with a similar list for the Council Junior School in the 1960s and 70s, or the Church Schools, the Council Infants School, the Meadowside Schools or East Lea/St Mary's Schools, we would be extremely grateful!

Complicating Factors

Until Henry Gotch Secondary School was built in Windmill Avenue (Kettering) in the 1950s, children at Burton Latimer had to stay on at Junior School until they were about 14, which is why on some of the senior class photos dating from the 1940s and very early 50s children look far too old to be at a Junior School.

We have not mentioned teachers' names because staff changes became more frequent from the 1960s onwards. Teachers did tend to teach the same class/year group every year, and people tend to say things like "I was in Miss X's class", but that is only a general help. There are a number of cases where children were moved between classes or did two years with a particular teacher. A number of the 1950s class photos are clearly split-age classes - this is especially true of Council Junior School photos of Miss Stokes' and Mr Norton's classes, and seems to have happened at St Mary's Junior School as well. Establishing the periods when particular teachers were at each school and which classes they taught would be a great help, but getting that information is likely to be a long process.

Sometimes, teachers did not appear on class photos. Any Council Junior School photo from the 1950s without a class teacher will almost certainly be Miss Clipson's class. Nor has any photo of Miss Appleby on a St Mary's Junior School class photo ever been given to us.

It's not even possible to expect that all the same children's faces will appear on all photos for that age group or class - from the 1950s onwards, families moved round the country far more than they had done, and it might simply be the case that a child was off school on the day the class photo was taken.

However, with your kind help and contributions, and by a process of gradual elimination of unidentified photos, it should be possible to build up a reasonably accurate on-line archive of class photos from the Burton Latimer schools. If you can help us in any way, please contact us.

Even better still, if you have class photos from recent years and know all the information because it is still clear in your memory, could you share it all with us? We don't want our successors in forty years' time to have to go through this process for the 1990s and 2000s !

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