A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.
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Schoolmasters, some licensed to teach grammar, were frequently recorded at Chesterton from the late 1570s until 1620. Most before 1600 were transient, but John Reed, licensed in 1599, was still teaching in 1619, and there was usually another master as well 1600- 20, one in 1601 being an M.A. (fn. 1) There was no schoolmaster in 1662, nor apparently until after 1700. (fn. 2) In 1728 the vicar paid to have six poor children taught. (fn. 3) The parishioners, however, agreed in 1729 to the use of £5 a year of the town land income to teach poor children to read. (fn. 4) The schoolmaster then appointed served until his death in 1757. (fn. 5) In 1776 the parish advertised for a master for its charity children; (fn. 6) the man chosen was perhaps he who then opened a school teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. (fn. 7) A woman who died aged 90 in 1813 had once kept a boarding school for girls at Chesterton. (fn. 8) Another woman opened a similar school for young girls in 1813. (fn. 9)
The £5 education charity, used to pay a master to teach eight poor boys, was informally doubled between 1783 and 1811 to £10 for teaching 10 children of each sex. (fn. 10) Under the revised charity apportionment of 1818-19, £5 was to be paid to the master, and another £5 to a mistress to teach poor girls to read and write. (fn. 11) From 1820, however, the girls' share was accumulated towards establishing a girls' school, about to be started in 1837. (fn. 12) From the 1840s the tenth of the charity income assigned for education was usually paid to the church day school, which normally received c. £20 until the 1890s. (fn. 13) Under Schemes of 1907 and 1984 the Educational Foundation income, which after 1965 rose by 1985 to £120, paid from the Town part of the charity stock, was applicable for scholarships and similar expenditure. (fn. 14)
In 1818, when the poorer villagers sent their children to school fairly regularly, except when needed for farm work in the summer, there were two paying day schools with 100 pupils. (fn. 15) The Baptists' Sunday school started in 1823 had 62 pupils by 1833, compared with the 89 at the church Sunday school, reduced from the 120 there in 1825, when it had taught reading, writing, and spelling. By 1833 there were also seven day schools, the £5 endowment going to the largest with 50 pupils, two fifths female. Of the other six, with 100 children between them, five had been started since 1826. There was also a small boarding school for boys. (fn. 16)
By the early 1840s there was a school at the Chesterton union workhouse. (fn. 17) About 1860 a girls' boarding school was kept at the Manor House. (fn. 18) Another, the Chesterton House Seminary, had three girl boarders in 1871. (fn. 19) Three private girls' schools were open in the suburb in the 1890s. (fn. 20) The church-supported Cambridge Industrial school, opened in 1850 north of Victoria Road to train 50 boys over 13 in such skills as shoemaking, tailoring, and gardening, remained open until 1893. (fn. 21)
In 1844 the Baptist minister contested the use of parish funds to support a 'sectarian' Anglican school. (fn. 22) A British day school, linked to the Baptist chapel and probably occupying a twostorey annexe at its rear, was started by 1851, when it was supported by subscriptions from Baptists in Cambridge and school pence: (fn. 23) it probably survived as a day school until the early 1860s. (fn. 24) The schoolroom was used for meetings in the early 1870s, (fn. 25) and from 1869 probably by the Baptist Sunday school. (fn. 26)
A National school proposed by the vicar in 1843 (fn. 27) was opened in 1844 on ½ a. of Town close bought from the parish charity. It could hold 204 children, (fn. 28) and was of one storey, in brick, slated, with a gabled cross wing for the teacher's house. (fn. 29) In 1846 it had 220 children, taught separately by a master and mistress. (fn. 30) In 1850 attendance had fallen to 85 out of the 125 on the rolls and there were no non-religious books. The master, though a former army sergeant, could not maintain discipline, and both he and the mistress were to be dismissed. (fn. 31) The next master, Keeble Constable, also parish clerk from 1854, served until the early 1870s, assisted by 2 or 3 mistresses. (fn. 32) The National school had 180-200 pupils c. 1860. (fn. 33) From the early 1870s St. Andrew's church day school received almost half its income from school pence, and a third from subscriptions, which produced £150 in 1897. (fn. 34) The girls' and infants' classrooms were rebuilt in 1875. (fn. 35) The masters, one serving from 1885 to 1924, were assisted by mistresses, usually certificated by 1874. (fn. 36) An evening school started c. 1870, which failed at first, was revived in the early 1880s. (fn. 37) Attendance at the day school, 115 in 1873 out of c. 150 enrolled, (fn. 38) rose gradually, as the population increased, to almost 250 in the early 1880s and over 300 c. 1900. The building, overcrowded in 1882, was repeatedly enlarged, to hold 300 by the 1880 and 522 in 1900. In 1906 the infants were over a third of the total attendance. From the 1910s numbers began to fall, declining to below 350 in that decade and only 240 by 1927. Soon afterwards the infants' department was apparently closed, and the older children were removed in 1935, leaving St. Andrew's solely as a junior mixed school with 240 pupils in 1937. (fn. 39) In 1951 it became a Church Aided school. New classrooms were added in 1956-7, (fn. 40) and in 1969 the building of 1844 was demolished and replaced with three more classrooms. (fn. 41) In 1982-3 St. Andrew's primary school was removed to new buildings for 350 children, off Nuffield Road, the old ones being replaced by 1985 with housing called Primary Close. (fn. 42)
In the suburb St. Luke's had by 1872 started a Sunday school for 200 in rooms lent by the Industrial school. (fn. 43) In 1874 the local ratepayers were persuaded, rather than setting up a school board, to allow the establishment of voluntary National schools for that area, the building cost being raised by the resident artisans and labourers with help from Cambridge Anglicans. That autumn 125 children were attending a day school, briefly in the former temporary church, but by November in new buildings next to St. Luke's church site, under a certificated woman teacher. A separate infants' school was started in 1875. From 1885 to 1905 the boys' school was headed by the same master. (fn. 44) A girls' school for 300 was built in 1882, when the boys were moved to the former girls' building, holding 200. The infants' school was enlarged in 1890 to hold 250, and the boys' rebuilt in 1898 for 365 pupils. (fn. 45) The parish clergy still taught there regularly in 1897. (fn. 46) Total accommodation was increased to 650 by 1885 and almost 1,200 by 1900. Actual attendance at all the St. Luke's schools rose from c. 170 in 1880 to c. 575 by the late 1880s and over 800 between 1900 and 1910. (fn. 47) In 1898 the diocese opened a small infants' school, called St. Augustine's, off Richmond Road. It was closed in 1907, and the building transferred in 1909 to the county council for a similar purpose. (fn. 48) In 1908 the county council opened the first nonchurch school in the suburb, standing north of the junction of the Chesterton and Milton roads. (fn. 49) Attendance at the Milton Road school with its mixed and infants' departments for 620 rose from 440 in the 1910s to over 550 by the 1930s, while that at the St. Luke's schools gradually declined to 660 by 1914 and only 465 by 1927. (fn. 50)
Public education in the area incorporated into Cambridge in 1911 was reorganized in the mid 1930s. The older pupils were moved to the Chesterton Boys' and Girls' Secondary Modern schools, opened in 1935 off Gilbert Road. (fn. 51) In 1972 those secondary schools were united as the Chesterton Community College, comprehensive from 1974, when it accommodated 1,220 in buildings of the 1960s. (fn. 52) In 1932 the council opened the Shirley primary school south of Kendal Way. (fn. 53) Five new primary schools were opened in the 1950s and 1960s to serve the growing housing estates to the north: Arbury school for 460 east of Carlton Way in 1956; Mayfield school for 390 west of the Histon road in 1962; Grove school for 360 south of Campkin Road in 1963; and the two Kings Hedges schools off Cameron Road for 480 in 1967-9. The older schools still then open included that at Milton Road, for 600, and St. Luke's Church school, moved in 1969 to a new building holding 375 off French's Road. For Roman Catholic children St. Lawrence's primary school, for 270, was opened in 1969 off Arbury Road near the Impington boundary, while for older children the Manor Community College for 600 was opened in 1959 in buildings near the site of the demolished Manor Farm, shared with the Cambridge College of Further Education. Special schools run by the L.E.A. included the Roger Ascham school for 120 off Ascham Road, opened in 1928 and closed in 1987, (fn. 54) and the Lady Adrian school opened on Courtney Way in 1956.
Among private schools in the 20th century was Chesterton Preparatory school, opened in 1910 at the south end of De Freville Avenue as a junior branch for the Perse school with which it was linked until c. 1920. Its first head, Katherine A. Wilson, was a pioneer of teaching through play. With 50 pupils in 1914, it remained open until 1972 in its original corrugated iron classrooms. (fn. 55)