Snailwell: Education

Page 488

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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No formal schooling was recorded in Snailwell before the early 19th century. (fn. 1) In 1813, although the rector wished to establish a school, the village was too small, and he could scarcely 'supply' a Sunday school teacher. (fn. 2) By 1818 he had established an unendowed church school, which had 16 children. (fn. 3) A cottager's wife taught reading and sewing, but the school was closed during harvest, and the poor could not afford to send their children to Snailwell school. (fn. 4) By 1833 there were 20 children at the day school, and 18 girls were taught on weekdays by 1846-7, when 20 boys came on Sundays. (fn. 5) In 1871 a certificated school-mistress taught boys up to six years old, but girls up to eleven. (fn. 6) By 1879 Joseph Tharp built a school accommodating 67 pupils. Initially it had 39 pupils, 22 boys and 17 girls, who were charged schoolpence at 1-2d., according to the number in the family. (fn. 7) The girls learnt needlework. Half of the £56 income came from voluntary contributions, and £46 was paid for the certificated mistress, who lived next to the schoolroom. (fn. 8) In 1885 an unsuccessful attempt was made to establish a night school. (fn. 9) By 1883 the day school was a National school, and by 1895 there were 45-47 pupils. (fn. 10) By 1910 numbers had declined to 37, by 1919 to 33, and to 19 by 1932, when the seniors were transferred to Fordham school. (fn. 11) In 1933 Snailwell school closed and the juniors also moved to Fordham. (fn. 12) In 1961 inhabitants opposed plans to transfer the parish to Suffolk largely because they wished to remain within Cambridgeshire's education system. (fn. 13)

The British Racing School in association with Suffolk Education Authority has trained school leavers for a career in horse racing since 1983, and 120 trainee stable boys and girls passed through the School in 1996, following a course of education which led to GNVQs. (fn. 14)


  • 1. Norf. R.O., VIS/42/4.
  • 2. Ibid. VIS/47/10.
  • 3. Educ. of Poor Digest, 64.
  • 4. Ibid.; Norf. R.O., VIS/59/2.
  • 5. Educ. Enq. Abstract, 60.
  • 6. P.R.O., RG 10/1597, f. 74.
  • 7. Ibid. ED 7/5, no. 103.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/31.
  • 10. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1883); Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants 1895-6 [C. 8197], p. 24, H.C. (1896), lxv.
  • 11. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1910, 25; 1919, 16; 1932, 18; Black, Cambs. Educ. Rec. 71.
  • 12. Black, Cambs. Educ. Rec. 71.
  • 13. Camb. Ind. Press, 24 Nov. 1961.
  • 14. Inf. from Mr. R. Sidebottom, Chief Trainer and Instructor, British Racing School, Snailwell.