The history of Leicestershire is the history of communities. Schools, sports clubs, community celebrations, charities and the friendly societies that kept our Victorian predecessors from the workhouse have all contributed to the fabric of our local societies. Social history examines how ‘ordinary people’ lived, how the rich and poor got along, the amenities that were provided and what people did when they were not at work. Research into these topics will be included in the social history section of each of the town and village histories that will be included in new volumes of the Leicestershire VCH.
Celebrations could bring a whole community together. They might be purely local, for example, when the son of the lord of the manor reached his 21st birthday, or form part of a larger national celebration, such as to mark a coronation or a royal jubilee. On 12 May 1937, there was a full day of celebrations in Queniborough to mark the coronation of King George VI. Events included a church service, a fancy dress parade, house decorations, sports, a tea, a dance and fireworks. Since 1981, the London Marathon has encouraged many people of all ages to take up running, and it is therefore quite a shock to see that in 1937 Queniborough people could enter the races as a ‘veteran’ at the age of 40, and that they were only asked to run 80 yards (73 metres).
Queniborough people enjoyed celebrating together. The Queen’s diamond jubilee is being marked by a day of celebrations in the village on 4 June 2012. School children also had two days off in June 1902, when the village school was closed to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII. The churchwardens’ accounts for the parish take us further back in the history of village celebrations. In 1714, 2s 6d (12½ p) was paid for the bells to be rung when George I landed in England, and a further 5s (25p) was paid to the ringers for ringing on the day of his coronation. Sad events were also marked by the whole community. On 28 January 1936 the village school closed and the children all attended church for a memorial service for King George V. The parish council later organised the purchase of land to form a King George Memorial Playing Field, which is still the main park for the village.
Schools and education