A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
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Although there was said to be no school in the parish in 1778, (fn. 1) there had been a school at Ruislip as early as 1655. (fn. 2) In 1812 the parish vestry appointed a committee consisting of the vicar, churchwarden, overseers, and six parishioners to consider the free education of poor children. A master and two mistresses were appointed to provide education for some 50 children in a room in the churchyard. (fn. 3) By 1819 four schools providing for 110 children had been established. About 50 of these children were said to be clothed and educated from a voluntary subscription fund, and presumably this referred to the parish scheme. (fn. 4) Two of the schools seem to have closed before 1835, when there were only two charity schools in the parish. A small girls' school then had 32 pupils, and the other, a mixed school opened in 1833, contained 60 pupils under a master and mistress. (fn. 5) In 1846, although the number of children in both schools showed a slight increase, the National Society observed that there was insufficient financial support to meet the educational needs of the poor. (fn. 6)
The mixed school opened in 1833 was that generally known in the early 19th century as Ruislip National School, (fn. 7) and later replaced by Ruislip C. of E. School. From about 1848 further tuition under the auspices of the National Society was given in a schoolroom which was the private property of Lord Ebury. A permanent building to accommodate 66 mixed pupils was built in Rickmansworth Road in 1862, and this became known as Holy Trinity C. of E. School. Additional classrooms were erected in 1898 and the school served the whole of Northwood until 1910, when the primary school in Pinner Road was opened. (fn. 8) In 1906, when it became known as Ruislip-Northwood C. of E. School, the school contained 233 pupils. (fn. 9) Ruislip C. of E. School, attached to St. Martin's church, had been providing tuition in temporary premises since about 1850. A permanent building to accommodate 45 boys and 35 girls was erected in Eastcote Road in 1862. (fn. 10) The school received government grants from 1870, when it contained 71 pupils. (fn. 11) In 1899 the Vicar of Holy Trinity church, Northwood, was holding classes in the church mission room pending the completion of a new school. (fn. 12) The first half of the new Half Mile Lane Infants' School, built with a loan of £400 obtained from the vicar's personal friends, was opened later that year. (fn. 13) In 1899 the school received a government grant (fn. 14) and by 1903 it contained 43 pupils. (fn. 15)
Together these three church schools accommodated about 380 children in 1903. (fn. 16) Under the 1902 Act Ruislip came under the county council, and the Northwood County Primary School in Pinner Road was opened in 1910 to relieve pressure on Holy Trinity School. Some of the pupils from the Half Mile Lane Infants' School were also transferred here, (fn. 17) and the school took children from 5 to 15 years of age until the erection of Northwood Secondary School in 1934. About 1929 Ruislip C. of E. School was also declared inadequate to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing population, and the Bishop Winnington Ingram C. of E. School was built on the same site to replace the old school. The new premises, accommodating 280 pupils, were opened in 1931. Senior pupils from the old church school were transferred to the Manor Secondary School, opened in 1928 and further extended in 1936. Several other schools were built during the 1930s to meet the rapidly expanding population of the parish. These included Ruislip Gardens Primary (1939) and Whiteheath Primary (1938). The Roman Catholic primary school in Herlwyn Avenue was opened in 1937. On the outbreak of the Second World War the Ruislip Gardens school was closed because of its proximity to Northolt airfield, and the Bourne Secondary School at South Ruislip was closed after one week when the Air Ministry took over the building. Work also ceased on the new Deanesfield Primary School in Queen's Walk.
The Ruislip Gardens school was reopened in 1941. The Bourne school also reopened at the same time on the first floor of the Ruislip Gardens school, where it remained until 1946, when it removed to new premises in Southbourne Gardens. Temporary huts on the Deanesfield school site were opened in 1943 and were still used by the junior school in 1962. Construction work began again in 1951 and the permanent school was opened and occupied by infants in the same year. St. Nicholas's Boys' Grammar School in Wiltshire Lane was opened in 1955, and a complementary girls' school, St. Mary's Grammar, on an adjoining site in 1957. In 1962 there were 700 pupils and a staff of 38 in the boys' establishment, while the girls' school, which had not yet fully developed, contained 583 pupils. (fn. 18)
In April 1962 there were nineteen maintained schools, excluding grammar schools, in the old parish of Ruislip. They are set out below. The date at which the school was opened is given in brackets after the name of the school, followed by the dates of any extensions; the next figure is the number of children on the roll at April 1962, and the final figure denotes the age-group of the pupils:
Holy Trinity C. of E. (1862). 119. 5-11; Emmanuel C. of E. (Half Mile Lane Infants) (1899). 63. 5-7; Northwood Primary (1910). 370. 5-11; Manor Secondary (1928, 1936, 1948). 637. 11-16; Coteford County Primary (1929, 1952). 429. 5-11; Bishop Winnington Ingram C. of E. (1930). 343. 5-11; Bourne Primary (1931, 1962). 337. 5-11; Northwood Secondary (1934). 653. 11-17; Lady Bankes County Primary (1936). 606. 5-11; Sacred Heart R.C. Primary (1937). 248. 5-11; Whiteheath County Primary (1938, 1947, 1958). 310. 5-11; Bourne County Secondary (1939, 1946). 796. 11-16; Ruislip Gardens County Primary (1939). 423. 5-11; Deanesfield County Primary (1943, 1951). 472. 5-11; Field End County Primary (1947, 1952). 551. 5-11; Newnham County Primary (1951). 429. 5-11; Queensmead County Secondary (1953). 774. 11-16; Harlyn Primary (1957). 240. 5-11; Blessed Swithun Wells R.C. Primary (1962). 125. 5-11. (fn. 19)
The residential character of the district has attracted a large number of private schools. In 1953 there were 18 kindergarten and independent schools in the parish, six of which contained more than 100 pupils. (fn. 20) Of these St. Philomena's Convent in Green Lane, Northwood, opened in 1928 by the Sisters of Charity of Ste Jeanne Antide, catered for about 125 children in 1962. (fn. 21) St. Helen's School, founded in 1899 in premises in Chester Road, Northwood, moved to its present site in Eastbury Road in 1902, and has since been much extended. The school began with 15 pupils in 1899, but by 1962 it contained 600 girls aged between 5 and 18 years. Another girls' school was moved from London to a site in Maxwell Road, Northwood, in 1892 or 1893, and became known as Northwood College. In 1962 the school contained 360 girls. The pupils in both of these schools are prepared for General Certificate and university entrance examinations. (fn. 22)
In 1962 there were three evening institutes at the Bourne, Manor, and Northwood Secondary Modern Schools. (fn. 23) Battle of Britain House on Ducks Hill was opened in 1948 by the Middlesex County Council as a short-course residential college. The building was occupied as a private house from its erection about 1909 until 1939 when it was requisitioned for war use. During the Second World War the house was used as a training centre for saboteurs and secret agents. A post-war scheme to furnish the entire house as an R.A.F. memorial failed through lack of financial support. The Middlesex County Council agreed to administer a modified scheme, and the dining-room was panelled with the badges of R.A.F. squadrons. After 1948, although the chief function of the college was to provide a wide variety of adult courses, some connexion with the R.A.F. was maintained in the form of youth leadership courses. The house and grounds are also used as the field centre of the Ruislip and District Natural History Society. (fn. 24)