No 13 Feed My Lambs
Over the past few years I've been involved in a project to redevelop one of Caernarfon's historic buildings, Feed My Lambs. It was built originally as an Infant School in 1836 and the school Log Books for 1865 to 1899 deposited in Gwynedd Archives give a fascinating insight into life amongst the poorer community in Caernarfon in the second half of the nineteenth century.
We secured a grant of Â£347,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out renovation work to save this historic building and to restore it for use by the Church, who own the building, and it to enable it to become once again a thriving community centre. The first photo shows how it was before the work started and the second of how the exterior looked a few weeks ago. There will be an Open Day on Saturday 12 July between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm to give the public an opportunity to see inside. The work revealed an original church window that had been hidden for decades. The new stained glass for this window will not be ready until September but the window frame is a remarkable sight and a real bonus that's come to light through the restoration work.
Part of the project is to prepare interpretation panels to illustrate the use of the building since 1836. Work has been undertaken in the Archives by a Bangor University student which will form the basis of the interpretation of its history as a school. A photo of a plaque on the wall to commemorate Ellen Parry for 50 years service to the school is shown. We have also been appealing to the public for stories and photographs of people and events at Feed my Lambs in twentieth century. A fair number were received at the planning stage but now that the restoration is seen to be a reality we are being inundated with stories.
Only last week Robert Glyn Williams of Caernarfon told me how the building been used as a convalescence home during the First World War. Robert's parents, Elizabeth and Robert Williams kept a well-known grocer's shop in Penllyn. His mother's uncle, John Jones from Bwlchtocyn, lost his toes through frostbite in the trenches and when he came back from France he was taken to Feed My Lambs for convalescence before being discharged from the army. As a boy, Robert used to visit Bwlchtocyn regularly and each time John Jones used to ask about Feed My Lambs and he clearly had very fond memories.
This is the first time that we learnt of this use of the building and we'd be pleased to hear from anyone else who may know of this aspect of its use. Many have told us that when they were pupils in the Ysgol RÃ¢d (the associated National School that stood opposite FML but now demolished) that they went to Feed My Lambs to get their school dinners. It appears that is was used as a school canteen when school dinners were first introduced during the Second World War until the time the pupils left Ysgol RÃ¢d to go to the new Maesincla school. We've been given a very interesting photo of the pupils making the move from the old school to the new.
If any of the readers have any memories of using Feed My Lambs or know some stories about their ancestors using the school I be very interested to hear from you. We would be very interested in receiving photographs which we would scan and return the originals. Because of the recent influx of material there will be a delay in completing the interpretation boards so your photo could still make a significant contribution.
I've had a few health problems lately which explains the inconsistencies in the timing of these blogs. I'm going for treatment next week but hope to resume the regular blogs from the end of August when I'll be dealing with census returns.