East Wiltshire School

East Wiltshire School

 

EWS class EWS
East Wiltshire School Class c. late 1940s - Courtesy of Buddy and Margaret MacKinley East Wiltshire School Class 1950 - Courtesy of Buddy and Margaret MacKinley

 

The first record of a schoolhouse in East Wiltshire comes from a School Visitor Report for the year 1869.  The location of the original East Wiltshire Schoolhouse was very close to where the East Wiltshire cemetery lies today.  Little is known about the original one-room school house in East Wiltshire.  The majority of the facts come from School Visitor Reports, and personal accounts from those who attended the school.  The location of the school changed in the 1950’s, and a new school was built directly across the street on the corner of the Cornwall Road and the Kingston Road.  The new school was built in 1954 and was opened on January 26, 19551, but the first suggestions for a change in location came in 1913.  The School Visitor commented that, “The trustees of East Wiltshire intend to enlarge the schoolhouse next year.  I would advise them to procure a better site and build a new house.”2  The following year the School Visitors Report made the following statement, “Through the combined efforts of the trustees and Women’s Institute, the interior of this school has been thoroughly renovated and better furniture and equipment have been provided.  The class room now presents a very pleasing and attractive appearance.  The school is in charge of a capable teacher who is rapidly bringing it up to the standard.”3

It seems as though the East Wiltshire School faced various challenges over the course of its existence, from students un-interest in their work,4 lack of discipline and poor schoolhouse conditions5 to the closure of the school due to lack of students during the 1926 school year.6  The schoolhouse operated until 1972 when school consolidation came into effect across the province.7

In the years leading up to its closure, teachers were responsible for administering lessons from grades one to eight.  A woman named Phyllis Newman was also hired to teach music at the school.8  As the population of the area increased in the 1960’s, extra space was needed to accommodate the students.  The North River Fire Hall was used to house students from grades one to four and the original school house was used for grades five to eight.9  The North River Fire Hall was only used for a very short time as it was destroyed by a fire in January, 1969.10  After the destruction of the hall, a discussion among the school trustees took place, and they decided to rent a pre-fabricated building until more permanent accommodations could be made. In response to a newspaper ad, furniture such as desks and blackboards for the temporary school had been contributed by other schools including Hampshire and Darlington.  It was decided that the structure be placed on the same site the former hall.11

 
When the East Wiltshire one-room schoolhouse closed in 1972, with the coming of school consolidation, the children from the area were sent to Eliot River Elementary School,12 and the original schoolhouse was altered into a private home.

EWS today
The former East Wiltshire School as it is today

 

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