Sian Porter’s eye was caught by the picture below from 1916 showing the Group 5 pupils at St John’s Girls’ School, Gosport It interested her because her great great aunts Sarah and Amy Johns were teachers there.
And she enclosed this wedding picture from the early 1920s and wonders if readers can identify any of the people.
Sian, of Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, said Sarah was born in Portsmouth in 1876 to Charles Edwin and Sarah Ann Johns, the eldest of 10 children.
She qualified as a teacher at Tottenham College London and became an assistant mistress at Omega Street Girls School, Portsmouth, from 1896-1902. And it was from there that she became headmistress of St John’s Girls’ School, Forton, Gosport.
But it would appear that the school struggled to tempt her away.
Sian said that from studying the minutes from St John’s Church, the school had no response to their adverts for a new head and the Reverend Stephenson was empowered to invite Miss S Johns ‘to leave her work in Fratton and come to Forton Schools on a salary of £65-£70’.
This was on January 1, 1897. But Sarah did not want to leave Fratton and it was another five years before she agreed to take up the post on a stipend of £120.
Amy was born in Portsmouth in 1879 and completed her teacher training at North Wales Training College, Bangor.
She was assistant mistress at Portsmouth Town Infants’ School from 1900-1904 and St John’s Infant School, Forton, Gosport from 1904-1912. She became headmistress at Grove Road County Infants School, Gosport, in 1912.
Sian said: ‘It seems Sarah and Amy remained spinsters. They were very involved with St John’s Church as was their father who was a sidesman there.
‘Sarah it seems audited the accounts from 1929 to 1941 and Amy became a warden of St Francis Mission Church.’
She added: ‘Throughout their school life Sarah, Amy and their brother Henry (Harry) received many prizes in their religious study exams. In 1902 Harry earned the school a half-day holiday through his achievements in religious studies – he came top out of 700 candidates for England, he too became a teacher and, I believe, worked in Southampton.’
Sian said Amy retired in December 1939 and Grove Road School was evacuated to Swanmore during the war and Amy went with them and it was there that she died on February 3, 1942. She can find out nothing further about Sarah or Harry.
The picture shows a family wedding from about 1921. The elderly couple seated along from the bride next to the small girl who looks like a bridesmaid are Charles Edwin and Sarah Ann Johns, Sian’s great great grandparents.
Standing directly behind them, she believes, are Amy and Sarah – Amy is the taller of the two. Behind the bridesmaid is her great grandmother Louisa Johns (nee Snow) and the tall man with the moustache in the top row is Charles Edwin Johns her great grandfather.
Sian added: ‘Unfortunately I have no idea who the other family members are. I wonder if any readers recognise anyone or have any recollections of Sarah and Amy.’