Mr E.W.Lattimore took up the headship of West Haddon Endowed School in 1936. When Guilsborough School opened in 1958, he oversaw the change at West Haddon from Elementary School to Primary School. He became the longest serving Head in the school’s history when he retired in 1970 and he was the last Head Teacher to live with his family in the old School House.
He grew up in Kettering and was very proud of having attended Kettering Grammar School with H.E.Bates, who later wrote, among many other popular books, the novel The Darling Buds of May, well-known from its BBC TV serialisation in 1991-93 TV with David Jason as “Pop” Larkin.
Lattimore’s two great interests were art and history and both of these met in his skill at calligraphy. He was always happy to explain the origin of the unusual spelling of his surname in the practice of monastic handwriting, where ‘e’ could be misread by later eyes as ‘o’. He maintained that, despite the spelling, his name was pronounced ‘Latimer’.
He married a young milliner called Jessie whose skills were to become a vital element in the costuming of many of the school’s May days, pageants and other productions.
Their daughter Lorna followed in her father’s footsteps as both an artist and a teacher. She remembered walking up to the School House in June amid clouds of perfume from the Mrs Sinkins pinks that grew on both sides of the path. As well as watercolours, he also worked in oils, and the study of his daughter Lorna, relaxing in the garden in front of the house, shows the back wall of the old school building on the right.
During the Second World War Mr Lattimore worked as an Air Raid Warden as well as running the school and later, in 1958, he became the first Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee. He served as a Parish Councillor and a Churchwarden and he also wrote the leaflet on the history of All Saints’ Church. The first draft of his history of West Haddon survives in manuscript in the village history archive
He put his artistic talents to use in a commemoration of the 1914-18 War Dead. This illustration (top of page) hung in the school for many years but is now in the County Record Office. Copies were made and presented to All Saints’ and Baptist Churches.
After his retirement in 1970 the Lattimores moved to the top of Station Road and their old house was demolished to make way for a much needed extension to the school, opened in 1972. The garden remained until the new hall was added to link the old and new buildings in 1998.
(W J Raybould, October 2013)