Think back to old school days when you hold this wonderful piece of history in your hands. This is a children’s slate board which is well over a century old and to have, what appears to be, its original slate pencil is extremely unusual.
Slate writing boards such as this one, were used in schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The wooden frame made the board stronger and holes made in the edges meant that a slate pencil could be attached with a piece of string such as this one. Children had their own slate which they took to school to use every day. After the teacher had marked their work, the children would wipe their slate clean, usually with a bit of spit and the bottom of their sleeve! This was behind the saying:
‘To wipe the slate clean’ which means to forget any past mistakes and make a new start.
Slate pencils were later replaced with chalk, but even though the string has been broken at some point, this one appears to have its original slate pencil which would suggest that this is an earlier piece which dates to the late 19th century. The slate pencils were often sharpened on the school wall!
The board has some wear, the wooden frame is cracked at one end and the slate is marked from previous use, but this really does add to the charm of this wonderful piece. It measures approx. 19.5 x 14.5 x 0.75cm and the pencil measures approx. 5.5 x 0.5cm.