Mr Wade's Desk
This was positioned in the east wall of the top hall. Mr Wade sat here to collect the equivalent of 1p per week from each of the children. This was a lot of money to some of the poorer families. Children were given medals for having 100% attendance and punctuality – “never absent, never late” and the ninth medal was always made of real silver. Few pupils had this, for they started work at the age of 13 years. Attendance fell in wet weather and the infants were tempted back to school with a Punch and Judy show or a tea party on Friday afternoons.
At first, school work was poor but within four years, it was some of the best in London. Most time was spent on reading, writing and arithmetic. When it was too wet to use the playground, the children marched around the halls or did drills with long poles. Infants who were not yet five were expected to sew clothes well enough to sell to the parents for other children to wear.
Mr Wade's Memorial
Mr Wade died in 1902 and he was so well liked that pupils and families put their money together and paid for the brass panel with his name on it which is still in the top hall today.
The school football team was the champion school of London nine times in a row and one famous schoolboy from Halford was Harry Goode. He was the best footballer, runner and swimmer in all of London. Sadly, he was taken ill when he was 14 and died at this age.
Early School Meals
In 1895, it was so cold that the Thames froze and many of the children who attended Halford School were too poor to be able to afford adequate food to keep them going. The poor children were fed soup and bread by Welfare Charity Workers.