A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.
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A school board was formed for East Ham in 1873. At that time the only school in the parish was a National school in Wakefield Street, founded about 1811. The board took over that school and maintained it in the same building until 1874, when a new board school was opened in High Street South. Between 1873 and 1900 the board opened 10 elementary schools (including one temporary school) and also took over a school at Beckton, previously maintained by the Gas Light & Coke Co. During the same period the Roman Catholics opened a school at Silvertown. A pupil teacher centre was opened by the board in 1898.
At Little Ilford a school board was formed in 1887. It immediately took over the National school there, and used its buildings temporarily while erecting a new school, opened in 1890, in Fourth Avenue. Between 1887 and 1900 the Little Ilford board built altogether three elementary schools.
In 1900 Little Ilford was merged in East Ham for educational purposes, under the control of an enlarged school board. Between 1900 and 1903 one temporary and three permanent board schools and one Roman Catholic school were opened, bringing the total of schools in the urban district to 20.
Under the Education Act (1902) East Ham urban district (from 1904 borough) council became a 'Part III' authority with responsibility for elementary education. In 1905 this arrangement almost broke down, when the council, in protest against the cost of education, passed a resolution refusing to administer the Act, and subsequently gave notice of dismissal to all its teachers. This action was reversed after the the government agreed to provide additional grants to necessitous areas. (fn. 1) Between 1903 and 1915 the council built four new elementary schools (two of which replaced temporary schools) and also a selective higher elementary school. The Beckton school was closed. In the same period one new Roman Catholic elementary school was opened.
Even before 1902 the urban district council was concerned with education through its technical instruction committee, formed by the local board in 1891, and as early as 1895 this committee, in association with the county council, was planning a technical college. The college, opened in 1905 at the joint expense of the county council and the borough council, was designed for use as a secondary dayschool as well as an evening institute.
In 1915, when East Ham became a county borough, and so responsible for all education, there were thus 22 elementary schools (3 of them Roman Catholic), a higher elementary school, and a secondary school combined with a technical college. By that time the growth of the town was almost complete. There were some 20,000 children in its schools, most of which were large two- or threestorey buildings. Between the two world wars a programme of reorganization was carried out on lines like those proposed in the Hadow Report. East Ham actually started to do this before the publication of the Report. In 1921 one of its elementary schools was divided into separate senior and junior departments, and in 1924 two others. In 1927 all the schools in the south of the borough were reorganized, and in 1929 those in the north. At the same time most of the schools were renamed, usually by dropping such words as 'Street' from the original names. This reorganization took place mainly within the existing buildings, but the council built one new junior school (1923) and a new senior school (1932), and closed two of its oldest elementary schools. During the same period it also opened a second higher elementary, or selective central school, Sandringham (1921), and a school for mental defectives (1924), both in existing buildings, and built a new grammar school for girls (1932). Meanwhile the Roman Catholics had erected two new elementary schools (1917, 1926), the first of which replaced an older building.
During the Second World War several of the borough's schools were seriously damaged by bombing. By the end of the war, also, most of them were over 50 years old, and in 1946 the council drew up a development plan for the next 25 years, which included much new building. Between then and 1965 a new boys grammar school, 6 secondary (modern) schools, two primary schools, and a special school were built. Of the two pre-war central schools Sandringham became secondary (modern), while Wakefield was gradually run down, and closed in 1948. A large new technical college, on the site of the earliest board school, was opened in 1962. Plashet school, closed in 1940 as a result of bombing, was later reopened as an annexe of the technical college. East Ham academy of music was opened in 1963 in the former Wakefield buildings.
In the following chronological sections the account of each school is placed according to the date of its original foundation. Since there has been much rebuilding and reorganization the information in a section overlaps the date contained in the heading. The accounts do not attempt to give details of the temporary reorganization of schools during the Second World War, of which some details can be found in the minutes of the East Ham education committee.
Elementary schools founded before 1873.
During the later 18th century the parish vestry occasionally paid for a pauper child to be put to school, probably to a master or mistress in the parish; in 1782 it was proposed that one of the alms-houses should be used as a parish school but there is no evidence that this was done. (fn. 2) A charity school existed in East Ham by 1807, when it had 25 pupils, but by 1818 it seems to have been closed. (fn. 3) In 1807 there was also a Church Sunday school; this was probably the school supported by the vestry, which in 1809 allowed the assistant curate £10 a year for attending it. (fn. 4) About 1811 Elizabeth Fry, who had recently come to live at Plashet House, opened a girls school in a building opposite the gates of her house. She was assisted by Harriet Howell, an organizer of Lancasterian schools, and by the assistant curate of East Ham. A boys department was probably added before 1828 when the 'schools' previously supported jointly by Elizabeth Fry and William Morley of Green Street House, were handed over to the vicar; (fn. 5) in the same year the vestry agreed to pay 3s. 6d. a week to a pauper from the workhouse whom the vicar had appointed schoolmaster. (fn. 6) By 1833 there were 86 children in the school, which was in union with the National Society; infants were taken at 18 months. (fn. 7) In 1837 the school was given accommodation in the former parish workhouse in Wakefield Street. (fn. 8) By 1846–7 attendance had risen to 110, under a master, two mistresses, and paid monitors. At that date the Church also supervised three dame schools in the parish, which together had 50 pupils. (fn. 9) In 1873 the school was taken over by the East Ham school board; it remained in the Wakefield Street buildings until 1874, when the board school in High Street was opened. (fn. 10)
Little Ilford National school, founded in 1865, is described elsewhere. (fn. 11)
Elementary schools founded between 1873 and 1903.
All the schools in this section, unless otherwise stated, were opened by the East Ham school board. (fn. 12)
High Street board school was opened in 1874 with places for 520. It was later enlarged and by 1898 the average attendance was 1,110. (fn. 13) The senior and junior mixed departments were closed in 1933 and the infants department in 1935. The premises were subsequently used as an annexe to the technical college until 1962, when they were demolished to provide a site for the new technical college.
Beckton infants school was opened before 1882 by the Gas Light & Coke Co. In 1883 it was taken over by the school board, which reopened it for infants and for juniors under 10. In 1887 the juniors were transferred to the school at New Beckton. The infants school was closed in 1904. It was probably accommodated in the building in Winsor Terrace now (1965) used as the Methodist church. (fn. 14)
Winsor junior mixed and infants school (East Ham Manor Way, New Beckton). New Beckton board school was opened in 1887. In 1924 it was renamed Winsor and reorganized into separate senior and junior departments. (fn. 15) In 1940 the building was destroyed by bombing. The school reopened in huts in 1944. It was reorganized for junior mixed and infants in 1945. In 1947 a single-storey temporary school was built; this was enlarged in 1954.
St. Mary and St. Edward Roman Catholic junior mixed and infants school (Kennard Street, North Woolwich). Silvertown R.C. school was built in 1889 and enlarged in 1895. (fn. 16) The original buildings, which were on the corner of Newland and Bailey Streets, were in 1915 acquired by the Port of London authority, as part of the scheme for the King George V Dock. The school then moved to Kennard Street, occupying temporary premises until 1917, when a new building was completed. It was reorganized for junior mixed and infants in 1945–7.
Avenue junior and infants schools (Fourth Avenue, Manor Park). Fourth Avenue school was opened in 1890 by Little Ilford school board as the successor to the former National school in Church Road. An infants department was added in 1892. (fn. 17) In 1929 the school was reorganized for junior boys, junior girls, and infants, and was given its present name. During the Second World War the infants school was destroyed by bombing. In 1947 it was reopened in a temporary building.
Plashet school (Plashet Lane, later Grangewood Street). Plashet Lane board school was opened in 1890. In 1927 it was reorganized for senior boys, junior boys, and infants. It was closed in 1940 because of war damage. The building was later repaired and used as a school of building in connexion with the technical college.
Salisbury junior mixed and infants schools (Romford Road, Manor Park). Manor Park board school was opened in 1893. In 1924 it was renamed Salisbury and reorganized into separate senior and junior departments. (fn. 18) An infants school was added in 1929. In 1945 Salisbury schools were reorganized for juniors and infants.
Storey Street junior mixed and infants school, North Woolwich. In 1878 the vicar of St. John's, North Woolwich, complained that his National school was suffering from East Ham school board's failure to enforce the compulsory attendance bylaws; he threatened to close the school and thus to force the board to build their own school at North Woolwich. In 1893, after the National school had, in fact, closed, it was leased by the board and reopened under their management. That building, which adjoined St. John's church and was just outside East Ham, continued in use until 1915 when a new council school was built within the borough, in Storey Street. In 1945 the school was reorganized for juniors and infants.
Shaftesbury junior mixed school. Shaftesbury Road board school was opened in 1894. In 1904 it was badly damaged by fire and largely rebuilt. It was reorganized in 1929 for senior girls, junior girls, and infants, in 1945 for juniors and infants, and in 1951 for juniors only.
Sandringham infants school, Forest Gate. Sandringham Road board school was opened in 1896. In 1921 part of it became a central school. The remainder was reorganized for seniors and juniors in 1921, for juniors and infants in 1933, and for infants only in 1945.
Essex junior mixed and infants schools. Essex Road board school was opened in 1898 by Little Ilford school board. (fn. 19) It was reorganized in 1929 for senior boys, junior boys, and infants, and in 1945 for secondary (modern) girls and infants. In 1952, when the secondary school was transferred to the new Rectory Manor building, Essex was reorganized for junior mixed and infants.
Lathom junior mixed school. Lathom Road board school was opened in 1898. It was reorganized in 1932 for junior boys, junior girls, and infants, in 1945 for junior boys and junior girls only, in 1953 for junior mixed and infants, and in 1959 for juniors only.
Central Park junior mixed and infants schools. Central Park Road board school (see plate facing page 203) was opened in 1899. It was reorganized in 1927 for senior boys, junior boys, and infants and in 1945 for secondary (modern) boys and infants. In 1964 the secondary school was transferred to a new building in Roman Road.
Cornwell school (Walton Road, Manor Park) originated as the Bessborough Road board school built in 1900 by Little Ilford school board. (fn. 20) It was reorganized in 1929 for senior boys, senior girls, and infants, in 1945 for secondary boys and junior mixed, and in 1957 for secondary boys only. Jack Cornwell, who won the V.C. at the battle of Jutland, was a pupil at this school, which was renamed after him in 1929.
Vicarage junior and infants schools. Vicarage Lane board school was opened in 1901, in the old vicarage. (fn. 21) Permanent buildings were opened in 1911. The school was reorganized in 1927 for senior girls, junior girls, and infants, and in 1945 for secondary (modern) girls, junior mixed, and infants. In 1951 the secondary school was transferred to the new Burges Manor building.
Kensington junior mixed school, Manor Park. Kensington Avenue board school was opened in 1901. It was reorganized in 1929 for senior girls, junior girls, and infants, in 1945 for junior mixed and infants, and in 1957 for junior mixed only.
St. Edward's Roman Catholic school (Castle Street) was opened as an elementary school in 1903 and was reorganized for junior mixed and infants in 1946. The buildings were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War; rebuilding was completed in 1954.
Napier junior mixed and infants schools. Napier Road board school was opened in 1902. It was reorganized in 1927 for senior boys, junior boys, and infants, in 1945 for secondary (modern) boys and infants, and in 1953 for junior mixed and infants, the secondary school being transferred to the new Thomas Lethaby building.
Hartley junior mixed and infants schools. Hartley Avenue board school was opened in 1903. It was reorganized in 1927 for senior girls, junior girls, and infants, in 1945 for junior boys, junior girls, and infants, and in 1964 for junior mixed and infants.
Elementary schools founded between 1903 and 1945.
Monega junior mixed and infants schools. Monega Road council school was opened in 1905. It was reorganized in 1929 for senior boys, junior boys, and infants, in 1945 for secondary (modern) girls and infants, and in 1954 for junior mixed and infants, the secondary school being transferred to the new Plashet building.
Brampton junior mixed and infants school. Brampton Road council school was opened in 1915. It was reorganized in 1927 for senior girls, junior girls, and infants, in 1945 for secondary (modern) girls, junior mixed and infants, and in 1959 for junior mixed and infants only, the secondary school being transferred to the new Brampton Manor building.
St. Michael's Roman Catholic school (Tilbury Road) was established in 1926 for juniors and infants, in a small building also used as a church. A larger school was built in 1931, and the original building was then used solely as the church. (fn. 22) Seniors were admitted in 1934. During the Second World War the school was badly damaged by bombing and its pupils were temporarily accommodated at Napier school. They returned to Tilbury Road in 1946. The school was reorganized for junior mixed and infants in 1945–7.
Secondary and senior schools founded before 1945.
East Ham technical college was opened by the county council in 1905, in a building next to the town hall, in Barking Road. It provided accommodation for a mixed secondary (grammar) school and for evening technical classes. It was extended in 1909. (fn. 23) In 1932 East Ham grammar school for girls was opened in a new building in Plashet Grove. East Ham grammar school for boys remained in Barking Road until 1952, when it was transferred to a new building in Langdon Crescent.
Wakefield Street selective higher elementary school was opened in 1910, in buildings previously used as school board offices and pupil teacher centre. (fn. 24) It provided a course of about three years, up to the age of 15. By 1914 it was reporting successes in the Oxford junior local, civil service clerical, and Royal Society of Arts examinations. In 1921 it was renamed Wakefield central school. There were no further admissions to the school after 1945 and it was closed in 1948.
Sandringham central school, with the same status as Wakefield, was opened in 1921 in part of the buildings of Sandringham Road elementary school. It became a secondary (modern) school for boys in 1945.
Altmore (Avenue) school, opened for seniors in 1932, and reorganized for infants in 1945, was the only senior school built in East Ham between the two world wars. The other senior schools formed during that period used parts of existing elementary schools. (fn. 25) The first senior schools thus formed by reorganization were Sandringham (1921) and Winsor and Salisbury (both 1924). In 1927 Brampton, Central Park, Hartley, Napier, Plashet, and Vicarage were formed, and in 1929 Cornwell, Essex, Kensington, Monega, and Shaftesbury. Sandringham senior school (as distinct from the central school) ceased in 1933. Hartley, Kensington, Plashet, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, and Winsor senior schools, as well as Altmore, ceased during the Second World War, or immediately after. All the others, along with Sandringham (former central) school, became secondary (modern) in 1945. Between 1945 and 1965 all the secondary modern schools except Cornwell and Sandringham were given new buildings and new names, as described below.
Primary schools founded between 1945 and 1965.
Altmore (Avenue) infants was formed in 1945 in a building previously used for seniors. St. Stephen's infants (Whitefield Road) was built in 1951, the former Shaftesbury infants being transferred to it. Roman Road junior mixed and infants was opened in 1949 in temporary buildings erected by the Ministry of Works.
Secondary schools founded between 1945 and 1965.
All the schools in this section are secondary (modern). Burges Manor (girls, from Vicarage) was opened in 1951 and Thomas Lethaby (boys, from Napier) in 1953. They share a common site, in Langdon Crescent, with the boys grammar school. Plashet (girls, from Monega) was opened in 1951 opposite the girls grammar school, in Plashet Grove, and Rectory Manor (girls, from Essex), in 1957, in Browning Road. Brampton Manor (girls, from Brampton) (1959) and South East Ham (boys, from Central Park) (1964) are adjacent in Roman Road.
In 1924 Shrewsbury school for mentally defective children was set up in the buildings of the former Shrewsbury Road elementary school. It continued until the Second World War. Lansbury school for educationally subnormal children was built in Park Avenue, adjoining the Sussex Road schools, in 1954.
East Ham Technical College.
A boys night-school connected with the High Street board school was in existence in 1874. (fn. 26) In 1891 the East Ham Local board formed a technical instruction committee to organize evening classes in chemistry, mathematics, the use of tools, building, cookery, shorthand, and 'ambulance'. (fn. 27) In 1895 this committee appointed a full-time organizing secretary, and in the same year suggested the building of a technical institute. (fn. 28) It was eventually agreed that this institute should be built beside the new town hall, and that the Essex county council, which had from the first been associated with the committee, should share the cost of it. (fn. 29) As well as running its own evening classes the technical instruction committee provided scholarships for East Ham pupils attending secondary day-schools and evening classes outside the district, (fn. 30) and the technical college, opened in 1905 by the borough council and the county council, was designed for use as a secondary day-school as well as an evening college. This college, which stood beside the town hall in Barking Road, included carpenters' and plumbers' shops, a building department, and a clinical laboratory. (fn. 31) The first principal, W. H. Barker, had charge of both day and evening departments, and some of the teachers in the secondary school also taught evening classes. By 1932, when he retired, there were over 4,000 evening students. (fn. 32) The technical department continued to grow in and after the 1930s, developing day as well as evening classes. To facilitate this increasing activity two former elementary schools, High Street and Plashet, were taken over as annexes to the college, and the secondary school pupils were transferred to new buildings elsewhere. In 1962 a new technical college was built on the High Street school site. By 1967 this had some 10,000 students on its books. (fn. 33)
Academy of Music.
East Ham Academy of Music, opened in 1963 in the buildings of the former Wakefield (Street) school, was by 1965 providing fulltime courses for adults, and Saturday classes for 300 children, selected from 1,000 receiving music lessons in their own schools within the borough. (fn. 34)
Private schools and industrial schools.
Thomasine Hockley, a Quaker, was in 1684 presented at the archdeacon's court for teaching school without a licence, and for failing to send the pupils to be catechized. (fn. 35) William Bull, a schoolmaster of East Ham, occurs in 1733. (fn. 36) In 1833 there were two private schools in the parish, containing a total of 43 children. (fn. 37) These were no doubt dame schools, like the three, with 50 pupils, which in 1846–7 were under Church supervision. (fn. 38) A few private schools are listed in directories and other sources from the 1880s, but they were mostly short-lived. Among the more pretentious of these was Woodgrange college, Romford Road, which existed in 1888–92, but had closed by 1899, when it was put up for sale. (fn. 39) Milton high school, Shrewsbury Road, existed for more than 20 years up to 1939. (fn. 40)
While East Ham was still a village three industrial schools were opened there. In 1851 St. George's-inthe-East (Lond.) poor-law union built a school in Green Street for its pauper children. It was closed in or shortly before 1927, and the building was later converted into the Carlton cinema. (fn. 41) St. Nicholas's Roman Catholic school, Gladding Road, Manor Park, was opened in 1868, in the Manor House, former home of the Fry family. In 1925 the school was closed, and the premises were sold to the London Co-operative Society. (fn. 42) St. Edward's Roman Catholic reformatory school was opened in 1870, at Green Street House (Boleyn Castle), Green Street. It was closed in 1906. (fn. 43)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR. (fn. 44)
By will dated 1618 Giles Breame (d. 1621) bequeathed £300 to build six alms-houses in East Ham for poor men, three from this parish and three from Bottisham (Cambs.). He also left land in East Ham for the maintenance of the alms-houses, but by a codicil of 1621 directed that his executor, Sir Giles Allington, should sell this along with the remainder of Breame's manor of East Ham, and should buy other land yielding £40 a year to provide the endowment. Allington built the houses, but before effecting the endowment he sold the manor to Lady Kempe, leaving £660 in her hands for that purpose. By 1638, following a Chancery decree, she had spent £800 on the purchase of a farm (later called Lake's farm) at Braintree, the rent from which became the endowment. The alms-house trustees were dissatisfied with this arrangement, mainly because Braintree was so far away, which made it difficult to collect the rent. Between 1640 and 1646 they made repeated attempts, unsuccessfully, to get the decree rescinded, and to secure the land in East Ham provided for by Breame's will, before his codicil. (fn. 45) In 1791–2, after the alms-houses had been damaged by a storm, substantial repairs were carried out, and they were further rebuilt in 1808. (fn. 46) They formed a plain brick terrace on the east side of East Ham Manor Road (now High Street South), each house comprising two rooms. In 1835 the three northern houses were occupied by East Ham alms-men, the three southern or Bottisham ones being let to the East Ham parish vestry to accommodate paupers. Bottisham was receiving £25, rather more than half the amount assigned for pensions. In 1873 the gross annual income from Lake's farm was £130, from which monthly payments of £1 10s. were made to each of three poor men at East Ham and three at Bottisham. A scheme of 1900 provided that Bottisham should receive £6 a year plus half the residue of the income from the charity. The other half was to be combined with the incomes from the East Ham charities of Hart, Heigham, Holt, Poulett, and Rampston, to be used for the alms-houses and for stipends of not more than three alms-men. The scheme placed Garrard's charity under the same trustees as the combined charities, but did not affect the terms of its application. In 1931 Lake's farm was sold for £630, which was invested. (fn. 47) By 1937 the almshouses had so deteriorated that they were condemned, and in 1940 they were demolished. (fn. 48) The site was sold for £2,000, and this, with the other assets, was divided equally between East Ham and Bottisham. Under a scheme of 1946 the income from the combined charities was to be paid as pensions to poor men who had lived at East Ham for at least five years. A scheme of 1958 permitted these incomes to be used for various charitable purposes, in addition to pensions. In 1966 the endowments of the combined charities amounted to £4,041, producing an income of £166 in addition to Rampston's rent-charge. Four pensions, each of 10s. a week, were being paid.
Robert Rampston (d. 1585) left rent-charges for the poor of various Essex parishes. (fn. 49) That for East Ham was £1 a year, charged on Stone Hall in Little Canfield. In 1835 this was spent on quartern loaves at Christmas for the poorest inhabitants. The rentcharge was still being paid in 1966.
Sir John Hart, alderman of London, by will proved 1603, gave an annual rent-charge of £4 from his lands in East Ham for the relief of the poorest widows or householders. In 1835 it was used to provide bread. The rent-charge was redeemed in 1904 for £160 stock.
William Heigham, by will proved 1620, gave the rents of 2½ a. marshland in Barking for the poor. Twelve pennyworths of bread were to be provided each Sunday, and the remainder was to be spent on coal. By 1946 the charity consisted of £400 stock.
By a deed of 1641 Jane Neville, pretended countess of Westmoreland, gave to the vicar of East Ham an annual rent of £3, charged on land in West Ham, of which £1 was for a sermon, £1 10s. for the poor, and 10s. for maintaining her tomb. These sums were paid until 1834, when a new owner began to with hold the rent. The parish took legal proceedings against him, but these failed, apparently for want of trustees, and the charity was lost. (fn. 50)
Sir Jacob Garrard of Green Street House, by deed of 1653, gave a rent-charge of £3 to apprentice poor boys bound out by the parish. He did this as a thank-offering for his acquittal after being falsely accused of assisting the royalist rising of 1648. (fn. 51) A scheme of 1898 permitted the income to be spent either on apprenticeships or on exhibitions for higher education. In 1966 the assets of this charity included £1,476 capital, formed by accumulation of income and producing £67 a year in addition to the rent-charge. One payment of £10 was made towards the cost of a student's equipment.
James Freeman, by will proved 1909, left £487 stock in trust for the police court poor-box fund at East Ham. In 1964 the income was £12. (fn. 52)
Elizabeth Fleming, by will proved 1958, and Amelia Elston, by will proved 1961, left £2,800 and £200 respectively to the East Ham Hostels Residents' Comforts fund. A scheme of 1965 directed that the income from these two charities, which in that year totalled £173, should in future be used for Newham Hostels Residents' Comforts fund. (fn. 53)