Station: [15] Schoolroom

M: Hear ye! Hear ye! New school regulations have been announced. His Grace the Prince Bishop has issued a decree.

F: Would that be the Prince-Bishop of Münster? Christoph Bernhard von Galen?

M: The very same! In 1675, Christoph Bernhard von Galen issued a new decree – and significantly advanced the development of the Münsterland region’s school system. Von Galen reorganised the schools. He put them on a secure foundation in terms of premises, funding and staffing. He established numerous primary schools in towns, villages and the larger farming communities – against the resistance of local decision-makers where necessary.

F: During the 28 years of his rule, the prince-bishop managed to provide well-established schools throughout the entire Münsterland. But in Lette, implementing his decree proved tricky, because the children were often needed to work on the farms.

M: The teachers were usually paid by the parish and the local residents. But people weren’t always happy with the teaching staff. In 1810, for example, the locals here in Lette complained about the then teacher, Joan Henrich Kentrup. They claimed he was incompetent and idle – and generally led a "dissolute life". But Kentrup's successor was even less popular. People complained that their children left school knowing no more than when they’d started. The teacher himself didn’t have a clue – and was incapable of teaching. 

F: Many Germans remember seeing their grandparents' handwriting and finding it quite strange. This is what it looked like: very elaborate, with curlicues, sharp angles, clear lines and big-bellied capital letters. Anyone who started school between 1915 and 1941 learned to write using what’s known as Sütterlin script – Blackletter. It was named after the man who devised it, Ludwig Sütterlin. He was a graphic artist, book designer, teacher and – of course – a font designer. In 1911, he was commissioned by the Prussian Ministry of Culture to develop a new handwriting script. The curlicues, arcs and angles were meant to make writing easier. Sütterlin replaced the previous script, called “Kurrent”, which was based on medieval cursive script. However, Sütterlin only remained in use until September 1941, when it was banned by the National Socialists.

Fotos: © Heimatmuseum Lette