The old school

Das alte Kantorat
The Old Cantorate up to 1869 – © B. Winkler

The children from Bergenhusen and the surrounding area used to go to school where today artisans have their premises. The Old Cantorate, a three-part longhouse building in Lower Saxony style, stood here from 1776. In 1870, the building was replaced by the New Cantorate: This too, was a long-house in Lower Saxony style, with an added angular extension for the cantor and school principal. As the school was no longer large enough and did not have a playground, the new building was constructed on the present site in 1961.

Luther’s translation of the Bible in Eisenach in 1521 also had far-reaching effects on the remote village of Bergenhusen: in the course of the reformation, schools became essential throughout Schleswig-Holstein. Initially, classes were held in vacant rooms of farmhouses, but in the course of time they were moved to proper school buildings. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the organist taught the pupils in the annex of the old cantorate. In the 18th century there is evidence of a three-part division of the house into a residential wing, stables and a school wing. The latter consisted of two classrooms, one for the elementary class and one for the upper class.

At that time there was a school in every small village, also in the villages of Kleinsee (today the street to Lüttensee) and Fünfmühlen, which were still independent at the time. In the 19th century, these small village schools were closed permanently. The resulting large number of pupils made the construction of a new school necessary. The new cantorate with a school wing to accommodate almost 200 pupils, taught in three classrooms, was built in 1870. The teachers’ apartments were also located in the school building.

The New Cantorate 1870 – © B. Winkler

There were many more extensions and changes to the school building in the 20th century. In addition to separate apartments for the teachers and peat-fired ovens in the classrooms, even a school lunch was established. Eventually the local library was also moved into the school.

In the 1950s, due to the need for a fourth classroom as well as the increase in traffic in Bergenhusen, it was necessary to rebuild the school yet again. Since the school at that time did not have a schoolyard, the students’ room to play was severely limited, so the school was relocated. The present school building was inaugurated in 1959 and finally the old school was demolished in 1961.