Weather in the archives

School Log Books

School log bookHead teachers were required to keep a log book or day to day record of events in their school from 1862.  The content of these log books can include: information about pupil attendance and factors which affected attendance, such as extreme weather, local epidemics or children helping with the harvest; the visits of inspectors; timetables and the subjects taught; building problems; particular cases of bad behaviour; celebratory events; and teaching staff. During the Second World War, they also include information about evacuation. The amount of information recorded does vary according to particular head teachers and some log books are much fuller in their daily entries than others.

Log books provide us with a very useful source of information about extreme weather conditions because these affected attendance at schools, whether urban or rural. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, children were rarely taken to school by their parents. Log books from schools in the north of Staffordshire frequently record the problems of severe and persistent snowfalls and very cold weather in the days when children had to walk to school over long distances. Similarly, heavy rain and storms would also keep children away from school, or from returning to school in the afternoon if their footwear had got very wet. In urban areas of the county dense fogs could prevent some pupils from reaching school. In rural areas fine weather ensured that children were kept away from school because they were needed to help with haymaking or harvesting.

The Archive Service holds a number of log books from schools all over Staffordshire, although survival dates of log books do vary. To check for holdings of log books, visit our online catalogue at or contact us for further details at

Extracts from this archive source can be found alongside other source material in the Month by Month section, arranged chronologically to show the progression of weather through each month.