Hello my dear friends, nice to see you again!
Today we are in a very special place… I’m sure you will immediately guess where we are… that’s right, guys: let’s go to school!
This is “Odin-Bertot” School; it is located on the borderline between the two suburbs that give their name to the school (Odin and Bertot are two suburbs of Angrogna).
Many schools in Waldensian valleys are located on borderlines between suburbs: these schools were built there in order to let students go the shortest way to get there… keep in mind that time ago kids used to go to school on foot, walking through the woods of the valley, somewhen in the snow… feeling cold?
In the winter season students had to bring with them from home a piece of wood to burn in the stove.
There were no blackboards in classrooms, because they were too expensive; children used black-painted wooden planks, which they could write with talc on.
Students used to practice reading the Bible, and many of their books were in French, which was spoken both in schools and in churches until the end of 19th century.
The stone you can see at the entrance of the school was, originally, located at Pradeltorno school.
In 1858 in Angrogna there were 15 schools (!) attended by about 300 pupils and all over Waldensian valleys there were more than 170 schools for primary education; all of them were opened thanks to a single person, the benefactor Charles Beckwith, a British colonel who moved to Val Pellice and, in his honour, all of the schools were named “Scuolette Beckwith” (“scuoletta” means “little school”)… on the other hand, Colonel Beckwith used to call them “les universités des chèvres” (“the goats’ university”), because of the altitude they were built!
How to get there:
from Provincial Road 161, between Torre Pellice and Luserna San Giovanni, at the roundabout take the road to Angrogna (you’ll also find the traffic signals to Guieiza d’la Tana, Chabas and Vaccera). Follow the road and you’ll get to the main square of San Lorenzo, then continue for approximately 1 mile and turn right into the hamlet Odin. After 500 m you will find the school.