Why, asked a reader, haven’t you published any pictures from North Hinksey Primary School in Oxford?

Well, we’re always happy to oblige, and here are two from the not-too-distant past.

The top picture was taken at the school in North Hinksey Lane in 2000 and shows headteacher Duncan Spencer and some of his pupils celebrating a glowing Ofsted report.

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In the lower picture taken in 1996, many readers will recognise the man in the car – the well-known rugby player and school teacher Lynn Evans.

He writes: “I was working for the Rugby Football Union as a development officer and Rover were sponsors of our cars.

Oxford Mail: “It was a promotional photograph supplying rugby balls to local schools and highlighting Rover’s support of our work. It was a nice car! No development officers on the ground now - sad!”

The children holding the balls are Salman Bhutter, Charlie Batten, Andrew Humphries, Rachel Williams, Sarah Cartwright and Emily Ainsworth.

The history of education at North Hinksey can be traced back to 1857 when a school was built on glebe land next to the church.

An appeal for the building fund spoke of a “poor and forlorn little village within a mile of Oxford which cries aloud to the University and to the city for help”.

The school appears to have hit hard times in 1891, with the vicar, the Rev Harrison, described as “unbusinesslike in management”.

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With three different teachers in charge that year, the school was found by inspectors to be “unsatisfactory”.

However, it appears to have improved as it was extended in 1894 to take 100 pupils.

The history of the school features in The Changing Faces of Botley and North Hinksey, two booklets in the series about Oxford and its suburbs, by John Hanson and Martin Harris.

One pupil, George King, remembered his days there during the First World War – “I loved our little school, every lesson, every minute.”

William Woodward never forgot his first day at school. According to legend, if you spat on a roadside stone in Hinksey Lane, it brought you good luck.

William recalled: “I did just that and stepping over the stile a little farther on, I found a sixpenny piece. Can you imagine my elation? I had never seen such money!”

Another pupil, Alice Harvey, enjoyed most lessons but not knitting and sewing. “I always had to knit socks and I hated it, especially when we came to the heel which was the hardest part to do.”

The school featured prominently in the community in 1976 when it held a Tudor evening as part of an eight-day Botley Festival.

Pupils re-enacted Kenilworth, Walter Scott’s novel, featuring the death of Amy Robsart at Cumnor. The school hall became Kenilworth Castle.

Continuing the Tudor theme, the head chef of Wolfson College, Tony Willis, provided Elizabethan-style food. Pupils taking part in the event included Sarah Coppock and Julie Swadling.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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