Higdon Timeline

1864
December 13

Anne Catherine Schollick born

Anne Catherine Schollick born, in Poulton-cum-Seacombe, Cheshire.
1869
August 21

Thomas George Higdon born

Thomas George Higdon born in Huxham, in the parish of East Pennard, Somerset.
1896
July 4

Tom and Annie are married

Tom and Annie are married in the Holy Trinity Church, Clifton, Gloucester.
1901
July 26

Tom is highly praised for his teaching

Tom is highly praised in a testimonial written by the the Rector of St James’s Piccadilly on behalf of the school managers.
1902
April 14

Wood Dalling County School

The Higdons commence their teaching positions at Wood Dalling County School, Norfolk.
August 2

Inadequate staffing levels at Wood Dalling

The School Inspector report refers to inadequate staffing levels at Wood Dalling, just as Annie had already raised with the school managers.
October 22

Tom assaults local farmer Mr Gamble

Tom ends up assaulting local farmer, Mr Gamble, for repeating taking children out of school to do his farm work.
November 16

Reports of Tom’s assault on farmer Gamble

The local press carry detailed reports of Tom’s assault case. The Higdons have only been in Norfolk six months.
1904
May 2

The Higdons and school managers are barely on speaking terms

The Clerk of the Wood Dalling School Managers writes to the Norfolk Education Committee (E.C) to inform them that the Higdons and managers are barely on speaking terms, and that in both cases a change would be desireable.
May 3

Tom Higdon sends in his resignation

The school manager minutes record that the Assistant Master had sent in his resignation to the Norfolk Education Committee (Tom had wanted to become the Attendance Officer of the Flegg District).
May 4

Mr Gamble becomes chair of Wood Dalling school board

Mr Gamble & Mr Williams (another farmer) become managers on the Wood Dalling School Board. Gamble goes on to become the Chair.
May 17

Tom withdraws his resignation

The next meeting of the managers notes that Tom had withdrawn his resignation as second teacher.
1907
May 16

Mr JJ Bussens is elected as Chairman

Mr JJ Bussens is elected as Chairman of the School Managers. He goes on to have a particularly terse relationship with the Higdons.
1908
December 1

First enquiry

Norfolk Education Committee holds an enquiry at Wood Dalling school to examine the tensions between the teachers and the school managers.
1909
February 22

Wood Dalling school reopens

Wood Dalling school reopens after its closure due to a Diphtheria outbreak.
1910
March 19

Tom & Annie are elected at the Wood Dalling Parish Elections

The Norwich Mercury records Tom & Annie’s election at the Wood Dalling Parish Elections. Annie immediately retires her place to owe labourer, Mr W.Pulfer, to take her seat. Tom replaces Mr JJ Bussens (local farmer/butcher/publican) as chairman of the Wood Dalling Parish Council.
July 17

Second enquiry

A second enquiry is held, after further friction between the school managers and Annie.
August 2

Annie Higdon is asked to send in her resignation

Annie, as Headmistress, is asked to send in her resignation ‘…as the most prejudical form of removal.’
October 24

Tom Higdon receives his notice

Tom receives a months notice to terminate his employment.
November 30

Annie expresses her ‘sincere regret’

Under pressure to do so, Annie, expresses her ‘sincere regret for my lack of discretion in addressing some of the managers of Wood Dalling school’.
December 15

The parish Clerk is directed to write to the E.C

At the managers meeting applications from several teachers are presented. The Clerk is then directed to write to the Norfolk Education Committee asking that all male team be appointed.
December 17

The Higdons are transferred to Burston

In light of Annie’s apology, the committee endeavour to transfer the Higdons to Burston
1911
January 10

Discussion on the appointment of a new head teacher at Burston

The managers’ of Burston Council School meet to discuss the appointment of a new head teacher.
January 31

The Higdons arrive in Burston

The Higdons arrive in Burston during the evening, on foot, after having to walk from Diss railway station because the train had failed to stop in the village.
February 1

Commencement of teaching position

The Higdons commence their teaching positions at Burston council school, Norfolk. A transfer that they did not take up with any sense of enthusiasm.
1912
June 10

Glowing testimonial of the Higdons

Frederick Starr, Clerk to the school managers, writes a glowing testimonial of the Higdons.
June 12

Charles Fisher writes a glowing testimonial

Charles Fisher, local Burston farmer & school manager writes a glowing testimonial of Tom Higdon. Fisher’s support would not last!
October 11

Good & improving report

The Government Inspector of Schools gives a good & improving report only after one year with the Higdons in charge.
November 29

Annie receives a letter from the Norfolk Education Committee

Annie receives a letter from the Norfolk Education Committee refering to a letter originally dated the 13th Nov from the school managers asking if they ‘…will kindly remove Mrs Higdon to a sphere more genial.’
1913
January 23

Rector again writes to the Norfolk Education Committee

Rector again writes to the Norfolk Ed. Com stating that the managers had ‘willingly acquiesced’ in certain alternations & improvements. Plus false allegations against A. Higdon’s treatment of the Barnardos children.
March 15

Tom Higdon tops the Parish Council poll

Burston and Shimpling parish elections. Tom Higdon tops the poll. Rev. Charles Tucker Eland comes bottom
1914
February 23

First allegations being made against Annie

First (afternoon of) of the Norfolk Education Committee enquiries into the allegations being made against Annie.
February 27

Further allegations are made against Annie

Second (afternoon of) the Norfolk Education Committee enquiries into the allegations being made against Annie
March 21

Conference held in London between

Conference is held in London between Annie, her brother, and Mr Guy a representative of the NUT Tenure Committee.
March 28

Norfolk Education Authority gives notice

The Norfolk Education Authority gives Annie three month salary in lieu of notice, and Tom one month, with their employment set to terminate on 31st March 1914.
April 1

The Higdon’s dismissal takes affect

Children on Strike day April 1st 1914
From 1st April the dismissal of the Higdons begins, and with it the school strike. Later in the day 66 out of 72 children go out ‘on strike’ and form a procession that marches around the village.
April 10

The Higdon’s case is debated

At the annual conference of the NUT, the Higdons case is debated but no support is forthcoming from the union. It would take three years after their dismissal that the NUT would provide financial assistance.
April 13

30 parents are fined

Some thirty parents are fined at the Diss Petty Sessions for not sending their children to school. The fines were covered by donations collected outside of the court.
May 13

Burston branch of the union formed

The Burston branch of National Agricultural Labourers’ Union is formed after a meeting in the Crown Inn. The strike has been on-going for six weeks.
May 25

A large demonstration of 500

A large demonstration of some 500 is held. Speakers include representatives from Norwich and Ipswich Trades Councils, and the wider Labour movement.
May 26

A school committee elected from the parents

At a crowded meeting held in the newly aquired ‘carpenters shop’ Strike School a new school committee is elected from the parents.
June 3

Eviction notice expires

The Higdons have to leave the council school house after their eviction notice expires.
June 14

Childrens day

A ‘children’s day’ is held and open air services are conducted by Higdon supporter and Primitive Methodist lay preacher John Sutton.
June 15

18 trade union banners around the Green

A big public meeting takes place with no less than eighteen trade union banners aranged around the Green.
December 10

Rev. Eland writes to the Education Committee

The Rev. Eland writes to the Norfolk Education Committee stating that the school managers find it impossible to work with the Headmistress.
1915
April 1

First anniversary celebrations

First anniversary celebrations, Annie cheered on by the pupils
On the first anniversary celebrations, the children recreate their march around the village, and have tea in the afternoon. At night the parents hold a “social” and the Higdons are presented with gifts.
July 4

Demonstration held with George Lansbury

Norwich Labour Party organises are large demonstration, with George Langsbury and ‘General’ Robert Walker of the Agricultural Labourers Union among the speakers.
July 24

Conference held between County teachers & deputation from the NUT

A conference is held between county teachers & a deputation from the NUT executive to consult on Arthur Henderson MP’s offer to act as an arbitrator in the ‘Higdon case’.
November 10

Large joint National Union of Railwaymen & Agricultural Labourers Union demonstration.

A large National Union of Railwaymen & Agricultural Labourers’ Union demonstration is held. Nine London branches of the NUR are represented with their banners.
November 28

Repeated large demonstrations

Repeated large demonstrations are organised by the NUR, Agricultural Labourers’ Union and the Vehicular Workers’ Union.
1916
February 20

First of a series of London public meetings

First of a series of London public meetings organised by the NUR is held at Kentish Town Public Baths. The Higdons and some 20 striking children attend.
February 21

The second NUR public meeting

Second of the NUR public meetings is held in Paddington.
February 22

Third of the NUR public meetings

Third of the NUR public meetings is held in Bermondsey.
February 23

Final NUR organised public meeting

The final NUR organised public meeting is held in Stratford.
April 1

Two years after the start of the strike

Two years after the start of the strike, the Burston School Strike and Evicted Glebe Tenants National Committee is formed.
April 7

Special NUT conference at Buxton, Norfok

A special NUT conference is held in Buxton, Norfolk, at which a motion is debated (but fails to pass) against the NUT Tenure Committee and its inadequate handling of the Higdon case.
1917
January 27

Special meeting of Norfolk County Council

Special meeting of Norfolk County Council is held to discuss George Edwards motion calling on the Council to appoint a deputation to hold a public inquiry into the school strike.
February 18

The date is set for the grand opening as 13 May 1917

The National Committee of the Burston School Strike & Evicted Glebe Tenants meet in the Burston Crown Inn and set the date for the grand opening of the new ‘Strike School’ as 13 May 1917.
February 26

New inquiry against the allegations made against Annie

Both the Vice President and President of the NUT visit Burston to hear evidence in a new inquiry against the allegations made against Annie.
April 12

A special NUT meeting takes place in London

A special NUT meeting takes place in London.  During which a motion calling on ‘…the full resources of the union to be used to secure the Higdons reinstatement’ is debated but fails to pass.
May 13

The new ‘Strike School’ is declared open

During a grand official opening event, the new ‘Strike School’ is declared open by Violet Potter.
June 1

Disagreement between Higdon supporter Mr Garnham and Rev. Eland

After a disagreement between Higdon supporter Mr Garnham over a memorial tablet placed in the Church to his dead son, Tom (with others), is summoned for having ‘…used abusive and insulting language towards the Rev. Eland and his wife’ .
1919
April 10

Tom defeated in the Parish Elections

Tom is narrowly defeated in the Parish Elections. The 1919 election was mainly spilt down party lines and Tom’s labour group lost out as England was engulfed by post war conservatism.
1920
February 21

George Durbidge shot dead

George Durbidge, the ardent Higdon supporter, who chaired the first (and other) meetings on the Green, is shot dead by his son after returning home in a drunken rage.
1923
April 1

The ninth anniversary meeting

On the ninth School Strike anniversary, Tom, speaks at length on the ongoing farm workers strike in Norfolk.
1937
August 20

Depwade Rural District Council

At a Depwade Rural District Council meeting, Tom (who was a councillor), is recorded as championing the interests of a family evicted from a farm cottage in Burston
1938
August 12

Depwade Council Meeting

Tom is recorded, again at a Depwade Council meeting, vigorously opposing grants to farmers for the building of tied accommodation.
1939
May 23

Tom George Higdon died

Burston Strike School History: Tom Higdon's portrait from 1896
1946
April 24

Annie Catherine Higdon died

Burston Strike School History: Annie Katherine Schollick in 1896