A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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There is a reference to a schoolmaster in Upminster c. 1580, (fn. 1) and another in 1596. (fn. 2) For a short time in 1640–1 Ralph Josselin (1616–83) taught school at Upminster, 'which was great trouble'. (fn. 3) In 1807 there were two dame schools with 30 children in each. (fn. 4) In 1819 there was a dame school for 49 young children. (fn. 5) A school for 20 boys and girls was started in 1831, supported by a private person. (fn. 6) The efforts of nonconformists and churchmen in the earlier 19th century culminated in the building of a British school and a National school, both in 1851. A non-sectarian evening-school was started and run by Francis Sterry, assistant curate, 1860–64. (fn. 7) When a school board was formed in 1885, at least three of its five members were Congregationalists. (fn. 8) In 1891 Upminster joined Cranham to provide technical instruction classes. (fn. 9)
The British school for 150 children, built on land in Hall Lane (later Station Road), given by Edward Dawson, opened in February 1851. (fn. 10) There is evidence of earlier nonconformist schools. There was a Sunday school at the new Congregational chapel where a master from Talbot's private school taught in 1800–1. (fn. 11) In 1833 there were two Sunday schools, supported by Independents, for 46 boys and 73 girls. (fn. 12) A non-sectarian school for boys and girls, North Upminster school, was founded in 1839 and supported by subscriptions and school pence. A mistress taught spelling, reading, and sewing daily in the schoolroom, (fn. 13) which may have been at the mill-house on Upminster common where Congregational services were being held at that period. (fn. 14) It may have been the school, supported by subscriptions, where 24 infants were being taught in 1846–7. (fn. 15) The British school in Hall Lane was supported by subscriptions and school pence; (fn. 16) by 1872 it was receiving a government grant and was attended by 71 children. (fn. 17) It was amalgamated with the National school in 1884 (fn. 18) and was transferred to the school board in 1885. (fn. 19) The building was demolished c. 1936. (fn. 20)
The National school for 100 children, with a school-house, was built by subscription and a government grant on land given by Mrs. Branfill (fn. 21) opposite the British school in Hall Lane. (fn. 22) It opened in March 1851. (fn. 23) It seems to have developed from an earlier parochial school. In 1823 and 1833 John Crowest, vestry clerk (d. 1834), was also schoolmaster (fn. 24) and may have taught at the school which existed in 1828. (fn. 25) Mrs. Crowest is said to have kept the parochial day-school in two cottages behind the club house and later in Ingrebourne cottage. (fn. 26) By 1842 children were required to learn the catechism and to attend church on Sunday wearing pinafores, cloaks and bonnets. (fn. 27) A church Sunday school had been founded by 1825. (fn. 28) In 1846–7 the Church dayand Sunday school, supported by subscription, had a teacher's house and schoolroom where a master and two mistresses taught 62 boys and girls. (fn. 29) By 1872 the National school was receiving a government grant and was attended by 56 children. (fn. 30) It was amalgamated with the British school in 1884 (fn. 31) and transferred to the school board in 1885. (fn. 32)
Upminster county primary school, St. Mary's Lane. In 1885 Upminster board school was opened in the buildings of the old British and National schools. The girls and infants department, in the old British school, was enlarged in 1888 for 190 children. (fn. 33) By 1911 a hundred girls were being taught there in one room. (fn. 34) The old National school was rebuilt in 1897 for 126 boys. (fn. 35) In 1927 a temporary school for 150 infants opened in St. Mary's Lane. In 1928 the new school for mixed and infant children was opened and the girls were transferred there from the old British school, which was adapted as a practical instruction centre. (fn. 36) The new school was enlarged in 1932 but in 1934, following electrification of the railway and consequent house-building, the 1897 boys school was used again. (fn. 37) The school was reorganized for junior mixed and infant children in 1936 (fn. 38) when the seniors were transferred to Gaynes senior council school. The school was damaged by bombing in the Second World War. (fn. 39)
Gaynes county secondary school, Brackendale Gardens. Gaynes senior council school was opened in 1936 on the Cranston Park estate for 480 senior children from Upminster, Cranham, and North and South Ockendon. (fn. 40) The school was damaged by bombing in the Second World War. (fn. 41) It was enlarged in 1960, 1963, and 1970. (fn. 42)
Branfil county infants school, Cedar Avenue, opened in 1943 as a temporary school for 100 infants. Hornchurch county high school used part of the school from 1943. (fn. 43) The junior school opened in 1954 when the high school moved to new buildings. (fn. 44)
Corbets Tey county special school, Harwood Hall Lane, for sub-normal children aged 5–16 years, was built in 1956. (fn. 45)
The Sacred Heart of Mary (known until 1955 as St. Mary's) Roman Catholic secondary school for girls, (fn. 46) St. Mary's Lane, opened as a boarding and day-school in 1927 at Hill Place, and was enlarged in 1930. It was granted Aided status in 1950. In 1966 there were 390 on the roll; in 1974 it was a dayschool for about 150. (fn. 47)
St. Joseph's Roman Catholic primary school, St. Mary's Lane, opened in a house called Mavisbank after the Second World War. (fn. 48) It was recognized by the Ministry of Education in 1953 as a temporary annexe to St. Mary's primary school, Hornchurch, for 110 children. (fn. 49) In 1956 it moved to new premises on the site of Mavisbank as a separate Aided school. (fn. 50)
The Coopers' Company and Coborn voluntary Aided mixed secondary school, St. Mary's Lane. This school, whose history is described elsewhere, was moved from Bow (Lond.) between 1971 and 1974 owing to the difficulty of recruiting children there. (fn. 51)
By 1833 there were five private schools in Upminster. (fn. 52) Thomas Talbot, who lived in Upminster from 1796 to 1832, (fn. 53) kept a boys school in the house which later became the manse, next to Hill Place. (fn. 54) It is said that the school was founded there in the 17th century. (fn. 55) It was still there in 1833. (fn. 56) The house was pulled down in 1872. (fn. 57) Upminster House, built by Samuel Hammond in the 1790s for Elizabeth Fries (d. 1807) as a girls school, continued for many years. It was conducted 1848 to 1875 by Elizabeth Attwell who enlarged it twice; it closed in 1878. (fn. 58) In 1912 the house, then known as Hill House, was being used as a kindergarten but this had closed by 1929. (fn. 59) Another school existed in the house in the 1930s; (fn. 60) in the 1950s and 1960s it was occupied by Minster House school. (fn. 61)
From 1804 to 1843 John Saunders kept a boarding school at High House, Corbets Tey, (fn. 62) where there were 35 children in 1819; (fn. 63) in 1833 it was a day- and boarding-school for 37 boys. (fn. 64) It was kept by Thomas Freshwater in 1848. (fn. 65) Henry Holden (curate 1840–46) kept a preparatory school at Grove Cottage. (fn. 66) A high school for girls was opened at Bridge House in 1895, but it closed in 1898. (fn. 67) Upminster high school for girls, in Hall Lane, opened in 1907 and by 1918 the numbers taught had risen from 12 to 70; (fn. 68) it was later a mixed preparatory boarding-school, and had closed by 1933. (fn. 69) In 1966 there were four private nursery schools in Upminster; they had closed by 1972. (fn. 70)
By the gift of Sarah Boyce, c. 1855, and by the will of Mary Laycock Boyce, proved 1869, a total of £200 was placed in trust to provide rewards for boys of Upminster, over 11 years old, who habitually attended the parish church and the Sunday and parochial schools. (fn. 71) Since the 19th century the trust has provided prizes and study-grants for choir boys. (fn. 72)
The old British school in Station Road was sold for redevelopment about 1936. The proceeds accumulated until 1951, when a Ministry of Education Scheme provided that they should be placed in trust for the promotion of education in Upminster. In 1973 grants totalling £485 were paid to various organizations in Upminster. (fn. 73)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
John Fenick (Fenyx) by his will proved 1587 gave rent from land in Upminster to pay 18d. weekly to the poor. (fn. 74) In 1596 the rent-charged was redeemed for £40. (fn. 75) In the 17th century £15 was added to the stock by the Latham family and £20 by Nathan Sand (Sonds) curate. (fn. 76) Other sums also seem to have been added and by 1734 the stock amounted to £110. In 1750 the whole of the capital was used to build a parish poorhouse. This was regarded as a loan secured on the rates and the interest on it was spent on bread for the poor. (fn. 77) When the house was sold in 1837 the Poor Law Commissioners directed that the proceeds should be lent to Romford board of guardians towards building the union workhouse. The board paid interest on the loan to Upminster parish officers in 1837. In 1838 the capital was used to liquidate part of Upminster's share in the cost of building Romford union workhouse. (fn. 78)
Thomas Frith, by deed dated 1610 and confirmed 1633, granted in trust an annuity of £4 10s. out of lands called Cockhides in North Ockendon. Ten shillings were for a sermon on St. Mark's day, 2s. for the minister who read the Litany, and the remainder to provide 1s. 6d. in bread every Sunday to the poor of Upminster. In 1837 the whole income was used to provide twopenny loaves fortnightly for the poor. (fn. 79) Distribution of bread continued until 1914. It was withheld during the First World War and for some years afterwards. In 1935, when there was a balance of £40, the parochial church council decided to increase the sum spent because of distress in the district. The income was used to buy bread until at least 1953. (fn. 80) In 1964–7 it was combined with the Boyce charity (fn. 81) and used for rewards for choir boys. Since 1971 the income has been used for occasional payments by the rector to relieve poverty. (fn. 82)