Victorian headmaster comes to light

The picture that should have been on the front cover  Thomas Slatford with his family
The picture that should have been on the front cover  Thomas Slatford with his family

You’d think that a Victorian Littlehamptonian who had nine children would have left behind some pictures.

But when the Sussex Record Society published the edited school logs of Thomas Slatford, headmaster of Littlehampton Elementary Boys’ School from 1871 to 1911, no photo of him could be traced.

Ruth Brown and Andrea Martin with the Littlehampton School Logbook

Ruth Brown and Andrea Martin with the Littlehampton School Logbook

For the front cover they had to use a photo of his memorial plaque, still on display in River Beach School, instead of the man himself.

But after publication editor Ruth Brown was contacted by Thomas’s great-great-granddaughter Andrea Martin, a family historian who had also inherited a collection of family photos.

They met and shared stories about the Slatford family: apparently all six daughters remained single, and of the three sons only one had any children.

Andrea was delighted that someone had taken the trouble to write about her great-great-grandad, and Ruth said: “He really was a remarkable man, and his logs show what a dedicated and successful teacher he was.

“They are also an interesting record of the history of Littlehampton over 40 years, and family historians might find out what their ancestors were up to at school: over 1,500 names are listed in the index.”

The ‘Littlehampton School Logbook: 1871-1911’ is available from the Sussex Record Society, Barbican House, Lewes, NB7 1YE. Price £20.

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