How to find incredible old school photos in our family history records
What was school like for your ancestors? Were they troublemakers or teachers’ pets? By using old photos on Findmypast, we stepped back in time to explore schools in England and beyond.
Perhaps you’ve come across your ancestor in our 19th-century school registers, or you want to know how to find examples of old school photography from a bygone era. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
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Was your ancestor a teacher's pet?
How do I find old school photos?
In our Photo Collection, there are wonderful photos of everyday schoolchildren at work and play.
Above, pupils Michael, Carol and Leslie of Nursery Fields Primary School, Brereton, enjoy a refreshing glass of milk.
Even in the 1920s, female students were encouraged to play netball. In this old school photo, Streatham Secondary School takes on North Mitcham in 1925. What sports did your ancestors play?
At Rose Hill School in Tunbridge Wells, a 58ft steamship was built on the grounds. Designed by the headmaster, built by the school’s sea scouts, and inspected by Lord Baden-Powell himself. Taken in 1932.
Old school portraits
Our Harrow School Photographs show both individual pupils and their schoolmasters between 1869 and 1925.
Did your ancestor attend this prestigious institution? There might be a photo, like this one of Aymer Acton Ainslie, of Carnforth.
At school in Scotland
Remember, not all schools were in towns and cities. This photo shows school children outside the rural Newburgh Parish School, Fife, in September 1896. It’s still a school today.
Could your ancestor be among these children? Hill Street School, Dundee, taken in 1900.
Read all about it
More historical photos in the schoolroom can be found in our newspaper collection.
Explore sports days, school trips, graduation and class photos.
Where else can you look for school records?
If you’re ready to discover more, try our Schools Registers, Admissions and Log Books for 1870-1914. If your ancestor was at boarding school at the start of World War 2, the 1939 Register is a great place to look. Here’s a list of more school registers and records for you to explore: