Oliver Hooper (1868 – 1944)
Oliver Hooper was the Headmaster of Sibford Gower Primary School from 1912 to 1932.
In 2020 The Sibfords History Society was fortunate to be given a collection of log books, exercise books, legal documents, diaries and photographs dating from Oliver’s tenure. A presentation entitled Memories of Sibford Primary School from 100 years ago was given at a meeting of the History Society in May 2022.
On this page you will find transcriptions made by members of the History Society of some of the documents donated, and also of presentations given at the 2022 meeting.
At the presentation meeting in 2022, Maureen Hicks set the scene with a brief history of the school up to 1912.
During his tenure as Headmaster, Oliver Hooper kept a personal Log Book, separately from the official logbooks which are held by the Primary School. He covers the everyday life of the school, its staff and pupils over a twenty-year period. Much of the detail is repetitious, noting dates when the school was closed and re-opened after periods of closure for holiday, weather and illness etc.
History Society member Maureen Hicks wrote an illustrated commentary on the contents of the logbook.
The school was regularly inspected by His Majesty’s Inspector of Schools (HMI) on behalf of the Board of Education and by the Diocesan Inspector of Schools. Oliver copied their inspection reports into a notebook, here transcribed by History Society member Caroline Long.
Leslie, the youngest of Oliver’s three children, had his tenth birthday during 1925. He was diligent in making an entry in his Children’s Diary every day that year. It offers a fascinating insight into the games, amusements and reading matter that interested a child at that time. About 40% of the pages were already printed with subjects such as fairy tales, conjuring tricks, identifying trees, birds’ eggs, wildflowers and stars, looking after pets, and collecting moths and cigarette cards. Tim Huckvale transcribed all the pages that Leslie had written on:
The exercise books contain short pieces of writing by Leslie at age 11/12, on topics such as My Village, The happiest day of my Easter Holiday and How I spend my winter evenings.
Drawing on the school inspection reports, Maureen Hicks wrote this summary of Oliver’s tenure and legacy.