Born June 7th 1875. (registered September 1875, S. Stoneham 2c 62)
In 1881, aged 5, he was living at 1 Charles Cottages, Freemantle, Southampton, with his mother Harriet and 3 siblings: Alfred aged 10, Kate aged 8 and Walter aged 3.
In 1891, aged 15 he is a pupil-teacher still living at home which is now 76 Paynes Road, Shirley, Southampton. He is living with his father Alfred (a local man born in Millbrook employed as a boiler maker), his mother Harriet and 3 siblings, Alfred now 20 and employed as a schoolmaster,
Kate aged 18 is also a pupil teacher and Walter, aged 13 and still a scholar.
Archer Flux obtained a Scholarship in 1893 and went on to train at Winchester in 1894-5.
He married Agnes Caroline Drake in 1899 (the marriage was registered sep 1899, South Stoneham 2C 62) According to censuses she was born in Marchwood (her birth was registered in the New Forest district March 1877 2B 691).
He appears to have worked at the Western District Board Boys’ School, Southampton before starting at Highfield. There is also a link to Freemantle CE School , the entry in the log book April 30 1924 says he attended the presentation to Mr AJH Marshall (headmaster of Freemantle CE School) whose first pupil teacher he was.
The school log entry for April 23rd 1900 records that Archer T. Flux A.E.I.S, M.R.S.T., the first college trained master of the school, took charge at the age of twenty four. This was following the recent sudden death of the previous Headmaster, Mr Bennett. He notes in his history of the school that the Schoolmaster’s wife had been responsible for the teaching of Needlework until 1900 when the newly appointed master ‘declined to allow his wife to do so’.
The same year, 1900, sees the start of a lot of changes in schools because the Board of Education ceased to prescribe the ‘Syllabus of Instruction’ and it became the duty of the Head Teacher to draw up his own scheme of instruction in the various subjects, and reports were made after visits of inspection without notice.
The 1901 census shows Archer and Agnes Flux living with Caroline Young a 65 yr old boarder from Millbrook in the school master’s house on Church Lane. In 1902 Winifred Agnes is born (Sep 1902 South Stoneham 2c 72).
Fortunately, under his Headmastership the school appears to have flourished and Archer Flux brought in a number of changes to the curriculum. In his history of the school he is proud of the school’s successes in art and the scholarships awarded for the Southampton School of Art from 1904 before the first scholarships to the local secondary schools which were gained in 1907. He introduced cricket in 1900, football in 1904 and swimming at the corporation baths in 1909.
Archer Flux appears to sit on a number of committees and be active in the wider community. June 20th 1910 he records that he had leave of absence to attend a funeral in his capacity of President of the Local Association of the National Union of Teachers. Oct 17th 1911 he attended a meeting of the Labour Exchange Juvenile Advisory Committee. He also is absent from the school Jun 10th 1914 to take part in the historical pageant “Tudor Southampton”. He attends the Winchester Diocesan Conference April 26th 1917, and again in 1918 when he also notes that he is an elected member. The entry for May 9 1921 shows he is now also a Churchwarden at Highfield and as such attends the visitation by the Archdeacon of Winchester.
During World War 1, the Headmaster served as a private (later as a Corporal) in the local Volunteer Force having not being accepted by the regular army. He had attended at the recruiting office to prove his age August 31st 1916 and in June 1918 presented himself for medical examination at the county recruiting station under the provisions of the Military Service Act.
On 16 June 1918, his nephew, Leonard George Flux (b.1894, South Stoneham) died (his death was registered Apr-Jun 1918, New Forest, Vol. 2c, page 886). He was a Lieutenant in the 13th Battalion of the Tank Corp. His father, Alfred Flux was also a schoolmaster in Southampton. Leonard George had attended Tauntons School from 1970-1911 and is remembered on their memorial. He was buried at Eling (St. Mary) Churchyard Extnesion.
In 1917 there is rare mention of illness in the Flux household recorded in the School Log books: May 14 Owing to an infectious disease in his house, Mr Flux (Head) was absent during a portion of the afternoon interviewing the Medical Officer of Health on the matter.
May 15 Mr Flux absent today for the purpose of having a disinfectant bath under the direction of the Medical Officer of Health. May 16 The Headmaster resumes his duties with the approval of the Medical Officer for Health.
From April 13th to July 23rd 1920, Winifred Flux, the daughter of the Head Master, had permission from the Secretary to the Education Committee to attend the school to gain some experience in teaching, prior to attending teacher training college in September 1921 having already passed the Senior Local Examination of the University of Cambridge. On leaving in July she was appointed as a Student Teacher at the Western District School. She returned for a day, April 12 1923, as a student at the Home & Colonial Training College Wood Green, London, to do a day’s teaching practice in the infant room.
In 1922 the boys’ playground was enlarged when the Vicar transferred a portion of the glebe land before the Vicarage was sold.
In late 1922 Archer Flux is confined to the house by sciatica, and it is recorded January 31st 1923 that he was unable to attend the Old Scholars Association social evening at the Church Institute having been debilitated for the past eight weeks. On February 23rd he resumed his duties after an absence of nine school weeks and two days.
Winifred Agnes Flux returns to the school to work as a Trained Certificated Teacher in the Infant Department, January 7th 1924.
At the start of 1926 Archer Flux celebrated 25 years at the school. At a meeting held at the Church Institute on February 2nd he was presented with an illuminated address in book form from the church members in appreciation of his work, the Foundation Managers at the same time presented him with an electro-plated coffee tray, the staff had previously presented him with pipes. The Old Scholars’ Association presented him with a combined tea wagon and card table on February 16th. The presentation was made by Mr Burt, the oldest known living ex-scholar of the school.
The school log entry for November 11 1927 records that Mr Flux resumed his duties after an
absence of six school weeks and a half day, caused by slipping while on the Common with the girls playing Hockey on Saturday.
In 1928, Archer Flux appeared in the formal Highfield Choir photograph.
Until 1929 there was no accommodation for the Staff. By May 2nd Archer Flux must have moved out of the school house because the log book is quite detailed about the extensive changes that have been made to the house to provide additional accommodation for the running of the school.
Winfred Flux marries Claude Nicholls January 27th 1931, Winchester 2c 227 and her father is given leave of absence to attend
According to Archer Flux’s notes on the History of the School, in 1933 the children’s lavatories were rebuilt on ‘the most up to date lines’, the old arrangements having been in use since 1879 when they had been reconstructed and connected with the main drainage, at which date also “water was laid on to the school premises by the advice of the Public Officer of Health”
June 27th 1935 marked the end of an era and the headmaster retired after 35 years service. A presentation was made to Mr Flux in the Institute at the end of the afternoon session.
Photo extracted from Highfield Church Choir Photo – 1928
Notes on the History of Highfield School written by Archer T Flux
Diary of a School – compiled by Jo Ladkin & Isobel White