Nostalgic moments from national archive

| 20/01/2012

XG DI 10379 (1).jpg(CNS): A new exhibition presented by the National Archive (CINA), at the old George Town library, is bringing to light images from the old school days to mark this year’s National Heroes Day theme of education. While one room schoolhouses may be a thing of the past the exhibition is sure to trigger lots of nostalgia for these humble beginnings. On heroes day those pioneers of Cayman’s education system who taught with little to no resources will be honoured and recognised.

(Right click on photo to view larger image)

Back to the Old Schoolhouse will be open from Monday, 23 January from 12:00pm – 3:00pm, and Tuesday 24 – Friday, 27 January from 10:00am to 4:30pm.

The display will include images of old schoolhouses in George Town, Savannah, Cayman Brac and West Bay and fondly remembered teachers, like Ms Izzy & Teacher Redley.
This wonder down memory lane provides a snapshot of what school days were like in the late 1800s to 1900s. Materials on exhibit include composition and text books, attendance certificates, the 1920 Education Law, photographs and oral history transcripts which brings both the written and spoken word to life to depict a vivid picture

Government officials said that too provide an authentic feel for the classroom, the National Trust provided items mainly from the Savannah Schoolhouse – such as student desks, chairs, inkwells, Royal Readers, a school uniform, and a slate. Other artefacts include a biblical slate, a gig, thatch basket and various readers on loan from the National Museum. Artist Gordon Solomon also painted a mural recreating the concept of a one room schoolhouse based on images from CINA’s Photographic Collections. 

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Carol Mascarenhas at the Cayman Islands National Archive at 949-9809 or send an email to

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  1. Anonymous says:


    "History" comes in many forms.   For example, 1) what would  the medical field be if it did not build on the discoveries of yesterday? Tomorrows discoveries would not be possible without yesterday’s history, 2) Have you every talked to an Alzheimer’s victim? How well do they function without a "history"?

    Everything has history…reading, writing, arithmetic, science, personal relationships, careers, buildings, people, wars, religion and countries.  Everything.  To ignore history is an excellent way to make poor decisions in every aspect of life.

    It is only a very foolish person that does not find value in history. For without history, nothing we know today would exist.


    A fan of our history


  2. Anonymous says:

    How can you know where you are going if you forget where you came from ?

    One day all of us will be history.

    Hopefully you will do something important in your life so that it is remembered.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Riblet – you are indeed a prize!! Not learn from the past?? Hopefully, you are the lone person amongst our planet's 5+billion inhabitants who discount learning from history.

    I imagine you must be awesomely successful in life, none of the credit of which can be attributed to anyone who lived before you? Maybe you might choose a more suitable nom-du-blog  –  Amoeba? 


    • Riblet says:

      What are we going to learn from a fewblack and white photos?

      Foolishness. I say again: If Government spent money on this INSTEAD of fighting crime or some other pressing need – it is a disgrace.

      I will not stoop to name calling like you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pioneers to me means a person who were the earliest in any field or one to be the first to start something.If you look at the list of persons being honoured this was far from being pioneers in the education field. Many names on this list are new to the education field in the Caymanian Islands. We need to look further back. What about teachers like Miss Genivieve Bodden, Miss Pearl Carter,  Miss Orma Bodden, Mrs. Doris Bodden, Mrs Janilee Clifford, Mr.Roy Bodden, Mr. Hartwell Wood, Mr Gilbert McLean, Mr Uric McNamee, Mrs. Etta Ricketts, Mrs. Andrea Bryan, Mrs. Unley Milller, just to name a few. What were they? Please, could someone explain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't know who you are or your age, but if you had taken the time to familiarise yourself with some of Cayman's history, you would know that some of the people you make reference to, have received recognition for their contribution. Not everyone can receive at the same time. I would suggest that, before you start pouncing on your computer keyboard, you engage yourself in a little fact finding excerise.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you did not attend or read the programme. Or maybe you can not read. These names were not on the programme and it only showed a lack of planning. and disrespect for these older people. 

  5. Riblet says:

    This is a Waste of money. Who cares about the past? Live in the now.

    If this endeavour did not cost the goverment any money, that is one thing.

    But if even one penny was spent on this (Which I presume it has) instead of fighting crime or fixing the roads, then I declare this a horrific display of mis-use of government dollars.



  6. Anonnymous says:

    I hope the younger generations will take this opportunity to learn about (and hopefully appreciate) the struggle for education during that period.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For informational purposes, this photo is of the entire Savannah Primary School, circa early 1950's. Head Teacher (Principal) Theoline McCoy is seen at back row centre (looking as young as some of her students!). Mrs. McCoy was assigned responsibility of the Savannah School in 1950 as a final effort to keep the school open. A decision to close the school had already been taken but it was agreed to give one last try with a new Head Teacher. In her first year, Mrs. McCoy delivered astounding examination and sports results – enough to catch attention of the powers that be and convince them that the school should remain open.

    Despite the obvious attributes of Mrs. McCoy in achieving those results, she gave credit to the students' eagerness to succeed and the support of the Savannah parents, and she formed a life-long bond with that community. 

    Mrs. McCoy continued to have a long career as an educator, culminating as an inspector of  Primary schools in the Department of Education.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good to see the National Archive, the National Trust and the National Museum working together to record and preserve various aspects of our history. 

    Their work in preservation makes it possible of all of us to learn from the past, appreciate our humble beginnings and hopeful plan a better way forward.

    Looking forward to seeing the display next week.