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Tales of adventure for Sunday School pupils

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 12, 2014

By Gavin Jones

  • A range of colourful covers from the early 20th century, all awarded to George Robinson

  • A plate from Fallings Heath, inscribed to George Robinson

  • A couple of Stan Robinson's own Sunday School prizes

  • Inscription to Clara Devey, dated 1922

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WE TOOK a look at some old Sunday School prizes back in our July 3rd edition – and asked readers if they had any of their own still to hand.

Two weeks later, in our July 17 edition, Roland Burrows shared some with us, and pointed out that in late Victorian times three out of four children attended Sunday School every week.

This high point in out of school education was maintained for the best part of a hundred years, with just over three quarters of adults surveyed in 1957 having attended Sunday School.

These days Sunday School attendance is very much a minority occupation.

In the year 2000, the Church of England reported that Sunday School attendance within its flock had dwindled to an all-time low of roughly 1 in 25 children.

By their own calculations, they predicted that within a generation the figure would be less than 1 in 100; and we're now more than halfway through that 'one generation' period.

However, most people in their fifties or above will have passed through that system. One reader who still has a large collection of Sunday School memorabilia, not just of his own, but of his wider family's, is Stan Robinson of Wednesfield.

Stan told us:

"I have in my possession prizes for every year but two from 1910 to 1920, which belonged to my late father George Robinson. He received them from the Fallings Heath Methodist Sunday School in Darlaston. I also have one prize with no date on the label.

"The prizes include, from 1910 – For Treasure Bound; 1911 – When Hawkins Sailed the Sea; 1912 – From Log Cabin to White House (the story of President Garfield); 1913 – Tamers of the Sea; 1914 – Through Flame and Flood; 1915 – The White Caravan; 1916 – On Schedule Time; 1918 – The Little Woodman/The Orphan Boy; 1920 – Michael O'Halloran.

The prize with no date is entitled The Early Choice.

"Additional to the above are my own Sunday School prizes received from Fallings Heath, and also from the Methodist Missionary Society. There are seven of these, ranging from 1942 to 1947, plus four given to my late wife, Betty.

"I also have one which was given to my mother, as Clara Devey, in 1922 from the Primitive Methodist Sunday School in Pleck, Walsall."

Do you have fond memories, tales to tell of the things you got up to during your Sunday School days? Write in to the usual address, give us a call or email gjones@blackcountrybugle.co.uk.

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