Aldringham School, Teachers, Church & an Enigma

This piece joins others together - Aldringham Church and its Magazines, Aldringham School Teachers and Pupils, Cecil Lay through Bird's Farm, and his father being head master at the school. It also raises some questions - please let me know if you can explain them.

Image of marriage noticeWhen reading the October 1933 issue of the
St Andrew's Church, Aldringham Monthly Magazine on this website, Mrs Mary Flatman saw the wedding mentioned on 5 September, 1933, was that of her parents, Dulcie Constance Kett and Irwin Arthur Took.

Mary contacted me and sent photographs and copies of the items included here.

Photo of Dulcie Kett

Dulcie Kett

Mary told me that her mother, Dulcie Kett,had been a teacher at Aldringham School for 12 years before she married. Upon leaving the school in August 1933 she was presented with this booklet, as a memento of her time at the school and wishing her the best for her future. The booklet includes the names of Managers, Teachers and Scholars at the school between 1921 and 1933. She was also given a Silver Fruit Basket, and cases containing a Silver Condiment Set and Fish Eaters. Dulcie Kett was clearly a popular member of staff.

Dulcie Kett's marriage to Irwin Took at Aldringham Church was evidently special, featuring in local newspapers with a photograph.

Photo of Dulcie Kett's marriage to Irwin Took

Dulcie Kett & Irwin Took's Wedding at Aldringham Church

Photo of Mr & Mrs Kett

Phoebe & Herbert Kett at Pantile Farm


Dulcie's mother, Mrs Phoebe Amelia Kett, was head teacher at Aldringham School for many years. Her husband, Herbert Clayton Kett, originally from Wenhaston, farmed Pantile Farm from about 1911 to 1940. What a lovely location for Dulcie to have spent her youth.

Mary's photographs show the Farm House and some of Dulcie Kett's pupils at the farm. Can you name any of them? The photos clearly show that Pantile Farm House is what is now known as Bird's Farm House. I haven't been able to ascertain when the farm house's name was changed and have found conflicting information.

Census data from no later than 1911 includes Bird's Farm - but it does not include Raidsend, the house Cecil Lay built for his mother, completed in 1914. 'Lay' is the name of the one male and two female residents of the School House, so presumably Cecil Lay's parents and another. See the Cecil Lay history.

Did Cecil Lay design the current (Pantile) Bird's Farm House? If so, it must have been an early design - he only became a member of the Royal Institute of Architects in 1912. Perhaps the original Farm House was replaced by the current building some time after then or might he just have modified the original?

Oddly a map used during World War II shows Pantile Farm. Pantiles is the name of the 'big house' situated near to the farm house - that was a Cecil Lay design too. As the Ketts lived at Pantile Farm for so many years that was obviously its name, though Mary believes that Pantile Farm no longer exists (and I don't believe it does, only Bird's Farm). Can you shed any light on this anomaly? When was the name of the farm house changed?

Mary's cousin was born in Thorpeness and mentioned to her that he had attended Aldringham School for about a year when he was 5 or 6 years old. This would be about 1948. He remembered a Teddybears' picnic and a boy who cycled to school picking up and taking a snake to school. The snake, an adder, bit the boy’s leg and he went to hospital. Do you share those memories and do you know who the boy was?

Among the Aldringham School photographs are several including students and teachers at the School, some taken when Dulcie Kett and her mother were there. Thanks to Peter Drew and those who helped him with the names of those in the photographs. If you can identify other staff or pupils please let me know.

Mary's father, Irwin Took originally came from Halesworth and died in 1968. On what would have been her parents' Golden Wedding Anniversary in September 1983, Mary took her mother back to Aldringham Church. Visiting the church at the same time was an old pupil of her mother's, but unfortunately Mary doesn't remember her name. Was it you or do you know who was there then?

I'm very pleased Mary got in touch with me through the website. It's interesting to be able to add more history to the site, although this raises more questions - if you can enlighten us please do by contacting the website.

If you have any more stories or information about the school please let me know.

Louise Chadwick

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