My Granny’s Arithmetic

My maternal grandmother was called Mary Maria Lemon and she was born in 1889.  She was the daughter of a bootmaker and the family lived in St Giles in the Wood in North Devon.

When her daughter, my aunt died a few years ago in Pilton I helped my cousin to clear out her house where she had lived ever since her marriage.  Probably around sixty years.  She had not been one to clear out cupboards on a regular basis and there were a lot of treasured possessions to go through.

I am passionate about family history and was delighted to find some old school books belonging to my granny and her brother and also two postcard albums which my granny had filled.  The school books dated to circa 1900 and the albums around 1903-1905.  My cousin was not interested in keeping any of these items and I was delighted to take possession and save them from the rubbish bin.

When I looked through the school books I was amazed at the calculations my granny had to tackle and at only 11 years old. Here is an example:

As far as I can tell my granny got most of her sums right and I now see her in a whole different light.  We had to do long division in my day, but I don’t remember anything as complicated as this and I would find this incredibly difficult even now.


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