Wow! Seventy-five years ago this was the view from Sooke School looking out to the water and towards Woodward Point. Does it ever take me back! I must have been in Grade 3 then.
The large building you see on the right was the Throup barn, at that time owned by George Duncan. When the museum was built in 1977 George gave us the oxen yoke from the barn, which had been used by the pioneer Throup family. The Jonas Throup home stood on the right of the barn; it is now gone, but at the time of the photo was being lived in by blacksmith Lyall Sheilds, his wife Lizzie and their youngest daughter, Elaine.
Today if you looked through the line of vision of the barn, your eyes would meet the Mariner Village development. At the left of the fenced open field stood a house owned by the Percivals; this is the western edge of the tent-lot subdivision.
With the advent of the war years, more people were flocking to the quiet little village of Sooke and more classrooms were needed.
This photo came to us in the collection of Edna Syrett (Nelson) and we assume the photo was taken by her brother Charlie Syrett, a young fellow hired to work on the expansion of Sooke School, which went from three classrooms to four. Teachers in 1940-41 were Wilfred Orchard, Annie Acreman, Florence Horne and Mrs. J Hodnett.
Things were a lot more primitive in those days, for instance at the left of the fir tree in the photo, there was a flagpole, and generally when we got to school the day after Halloween we’d find the school’s gate had been hauled up the flagpole. Notice the gate is missing from the front fence alongside the bicycle shed.
One of the exciting days of those school years was when Sooke’s local bounty hunter, Tony Sullivan, drove his truck up to the gate so we schoolchildren could see the giant cougar in the back. He’d been called to shoot a marauding cougar and in those days before TV, this was a viewing that added another dimension to our education.
Looking back at records of the school’s earlier winters, we found another interesting note: “… the day when five girls got the strap for sleigh riding down the hill on the road when they’d been told to go straight home …”
Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.