Romford: Education and charities

Pages 91-98

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.

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There was a free school at Romford, kept by Thomas Horrocks, c. 1641–6. (fn. 1) A charity school, which survives as St. Edward's Church of England primary school, was founded in 1711. In the 1840s and 1850s another Church school, a British school, and a Roman Catholic school were opened in the town, a Church school at Noak Hill, and a railway factory school at Squirrels Heath.

A school board for Romford was formed compulsorily in 1872. (fn. 2) It took over the British school and built two new schools. A technical instruction committee was formed for Romford and Havering in 1891. (fn. 3) A report prepared for Essex county council in 1906 urged the provision of a secondary school in the town. (fn. 4) A county secondary school for girls was opened in the same year, but there was no county secondary school for boys until 1921. Between 1906 and 1944 the county opened 5 primary schools, 4 secondary and senior schools, and a special school. Reorganization in line with the Hadow Report was completed by 1937. A church senior school was opened in 1936. Under the Education Acts, 1944 and 1946, Romford borough became an Excepted District. Between 1948 and 1965 one special, 11 primary, and 6 secondary schools were built, including 8 primary and 3 secondary schools on the new L.C.C. estate at Harold Hill. Two Roman Catholic primary schools were opened in 1953. By 1973 the London borough of Havering had reorganized the secondary schools as comprehensive schools, enlarged two of them, built a primary school, and established two special schools.

In the following chronological accounts of individual schools, information, unless otherwise stated, was provided by the Essex education department or that of Havering.

Elementary schools founded before 1872.

St. Edward's Church of England primary school, Havering Drive, was founded in January 1711 as a charity school for 40 boys and 20 girls. (fn. 5) The children were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by a master and a mistress, and were provided with clothing. The school was supported by subscriptions and an annual sermon. (fn. 6) It may have opened in a room above the vestry in St. Edward's chapel, but by the end of 1711 the parish was renting a house for it. Two houses were rented from 1713 until 1726, when the boys moved to the court house and the girls to a room in the master's house. (fn. 7) The school attracted gifts and legacies which amounted to about £850 by the end of the 18th century. (fn. 8) In 1728 the trustees bought land in the market-place and built a school for 45 boys and 20 girls from Hornchurch and Romford. A master's house was built next to it in 1733. Joseph Bosworth, by his will dated 1730, gave the school a house and land in Hornchurch Lane (South Street). By 1804 the master and mistress were taking private boarding or day pupils as well as the charity children. William Higgs, by will proved 1811, left £50 stock to provide an annual dinner for the charity children; in 1835 the income was added to the general school funds. In 1833 a Chancery order empowered the governors to admit more children, from Romford, Hornchurch, or Havering. In 1834 the school was united with the National Society as St. Edward's school. A new schoolroom for 200 boys, opened in 1835, was added to the charity school by subscription and grants from the government and the National Society. The charity was extended to teach 90 and to clothe 65 children. In 1835 80 girls and 165 boys aged 6 to 13 were being taught on a monitorial system by a master and a mistress. The National school children wore distinctive badges and paid 1d. a week. (fn. 9) In 1842 a house was built for the mistress. (fn. 10) Charity clothing ceased in 1846 for lack of funds. In 1867 the school had 170 boys and 153 girls, of whom 45 boys and 20 girls were taught free. (fn. 11) The school was enlarged in 1853 and again in 1869. (fn. 12) It received annual government grants from 1866. (fn. 13) In 1871 an infants school for 74 was opened in an adjoining building, bought with charity funds. From 1891 girls and infants were taught free; boys paid 1d. a week until 1903. The infants school was enlarged in 1891 for 146. A Board of Education Scheme of 1906 required St. Edward's to be conducted as a public elementary school. (fn. 14) A Board Scheme of 1915 required the constitution of a higher education fund of £1,600. In 1916 the cottages on Bosworth's land were sold to raise money for a new school. (fn. 15) The new building, on land adjoining the original school, was at last completed in 1926. The old school and master's house were sold to Romford U.D.C. and later became a public library. (fn. 16) They were demolished in 1968. (fn. 17) Both were plain buildings of dark red brick. The school had at first-floor level, facing the street, two niches containing figures of a boy and a girl in 18th century charity school dress. These, and the old school bell, were in 1976 preserved at St. Edward's primary school.

In 1936 the juniors and infants were transferred to new buildings in Mercury Gardens, leaving the senior school in the 1926 buildings. (fn. 18) The schools were granted Aided status in 1954. (fn. 19) In 1976 St. Edward's primary school moved to new buildings in Havering Drive. (fn. 20)

St. Andrew's Church of England school, St. Andrew's Road, seems to have originated in 1835, when a National infants school was opened in the former girls' room at the charity school. (fn. 21) In 1843 a permanent infants school was built by subscription on a site later in St. Andrew's Road, to commemorate the baptism of the Prince of Wales. (fn. 22) A teacher's house was added in 1857. (fn. 23) By 1866 the school was attended by 119 boys and girls, and was receiving an annual government grant. (fn. 24) By 1876 it had been enlarged for 234. (fn. 25) In 1897 the infants moved to the old Albion Street school, where they remained until the opening of London Road council school in 1908. In 1910 the mixed school in St. Andrew's Road was described as the worst school in Essex; it was closed in 1912, when London Road school was completed. (fn. 26) The 1843 school building still existed in 1976.

The British school, Albion Street. By 1839 Congregationalists had established a Sunday school for 30 children and a dame school for 32 in Angel Yard, High Street. (fn. 27) In 1848 a British day-school was opened at Coverdale chapel, North Street. (fn. 28) This was transferred in 1851 to new buildings in Queen Street, accommodating 150. (fn. 29) The school was supported by subscriptions and children's pence. By 1870 it was admitting only boys. It received annual government grants from 1870. In 1872 it was taken over by the newly-formed school board, which conducted it as a mixed school. (fn. 30) The school was enlarged in 1880 for 234. (fn. 31) It was replaced in 1896 by Mawney Road school. The old building was later used by St. Andrew's infants school, and in 1912 was sold to Brazier's Yard mission. (fn. 32)

St. Thomas's Church of England school, Church Road, Noak Hill, was built in 1848 by subscription and government grant for 96 children. (fn. 33) It received annual government grants from 1879. (fn. 34) It was reorganized in 1936 for mixed juniors and infants, and was granted Controlled status in 1954. (fn. 35)

St. Peter's (formerly St. Edward's) Roman Catholic junior mixed and infants school, Dorset Avenue. In 1852 there was a Roman Catholic school at Romford with 19 children. (fn. 36) A permanent school for 58 was built in 1856 in St. Edward's (later Laurie) Square. (fn. 37) It was receiving annual government grants from 1880. (fn. 38) In 1892 it was rebuilt for 112. (fn. 39) Attendance rose slowly from 24 in 1880 to 67 in 1911. (fn. 40) The school was granted Aided status in 1951. (fn. 41) It was reorganized in 1954 for juniors and infants. In 1968 it was renamed and moved to new buildings in Dorset Avenue.

The Factory Church of England school, Factory Road, Squirrels Heath, was founded in 1858 by the Eastern Counties Railway Co. for the children of its workers at the tarpaulin factory. Two terrace houses were adapted to accommodate 97 pupils. (fn. 42) The school was supported by subscriptions and, from 1876, annual government grants. (fn. 43) It was enlarged in 1895 for 128. It was closed in 1911 when Salisbury Road school was opened. (fn. 44)

Elementary schools founded between 1872 and 1945.

Manor junior mixed and infants school, Albert Road. Albert Road board school was opened in 1884 for 354. (fn. 45) It was enlarged in 1890 and 1903. (fn. 46) A handicraft centre was opened in 1913. The mixed department was reorganized for juniors in 1930 and amalgamated with the infants department in 1952. The school was renamed in 1956. (fn. 47)

Mawney junior and infants school, Mawney Road. Mawney Road board school was opened in 1896 with 740 places, to replace Albion Street school. (fn. 48) It was enlarged in 1907. (fn. 49) It was reorganized in 1936 for mixed juniors and infants.

Crowlands junior and infants school, London Road. London Road council school was opened in 1908 for 280 infants. The mixed department for 376 was opened in 1912. (fn. 50) The school was enlarged in 1931. In 1937 the seniors were transferred to Warren school, Dagenham. (fn. 51) The school was renamed in 1956. (fn. 52)

Squirrels Heath junior and infants school, Salisbury Road. Salisbury Road council school was opened in 1911 for 276. A separate infants department was built in 1914–15. (fn. 53) The school was again enlarged in 1931, and in 1935 was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants. It was renamed in 1956. (fn. 54) A new school was built in 1974 on a neighbouring site. (fn. 55)

Parklands junior mixed and infants school, Havering Road. Havering Road council school was opened in 1929 in temporary buildings for juniors. A permanent infants department was built in 1931, and a permanent junior department in 1936. (fn. 56) The school was damaged by bombs in the Second World War. (fn. 57) It was renamed in 1956. (fn. 58)

Clockhouse junior and infants school, Clockhouse Lane, Collier Row. Clockhouse Lane council school was opened in 1934 in temporary premises. Permanent buildings for juniors and infants were opened in 1936. The school was enlarged in 1939, 1948, and 1950. (fn. 59)

Hilldene junior and infants school, Grange Road and Straight Road. Straight Road council school was opened in 1940 for juniors and infants. In 1949 a new school for juniors was built on an adjacent site in Grange Road to accommodate children from the Harold Hill estate. The school was renamed in 1950. (fn. 60)

Secondary and senior schools founded before 1945.

Frances Bardsley (fn. 61) comprehensive school, Brentwood Road and Heath Park Road, was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of Romford county high school for girls and Heath Park secondary (modern) school for girls. (fn. 62) Romford county high school for girls was opened in 1906 at Claughton House, Eastern Road, a former private school. In 1910 it moved to new buildings in Heath Park Road. (fn. 63) In 1935 a new school was opened in Brentwood Road. (fn. 64) It was enlarged in 1963 and 1973. (fn. 65) Heath Park secondary (modern) school for girls was opened in 1935 as a senior council school for girls, in the former county high school buildings in Heath Park Road. (fn. 66)

The Royal Liberty school, Upper Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, was opened in 1921 as a county high school for boys at Hare Hall. It soon built up a good academic reputation. New buildings were added in 1929–30. In 1973 the school was enlarged and reorganized as comprehensive. (fn. 67)

Marshalls Park comprehensive school, Havering Drive and Pettits Lane, was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of Romford county technical school and Pettits secondary (modern) school. Romford technical school, Havering Drive, originated in 1927 when Romford intermediate council school was opened at Mawney Road school to provide education with a commercial bias for 280 children aged 11–13. In 1930 it moved to new buildings in Havering Drive. (fn. 68) It became a technical school in 1945. In 1947 Marshalls Hall was bought to provide extra accommodation. (fn. 69) The school was enlarged in 1960 and 1964. (fn. 70) Pettits senior council, later secondary (modern) school was opened in 1936 and enlarged in 1945–6.

St. Edward's Church of England comprehensive school, London Road, originated in 1936 when a senior school was opened in the 1926 buildings at St. Edward's school. (fn. 71) The surplus of the higher education fund of the school charity was used to provide extra buildings. The school moved to new buildings in London Road in 1965. (fn. 72) It became comprehensive in 1972. (fn. 73)

Primary schools founded since 1945.

Gobions junior and infants schools, Havering Road North. The infants school was opened in 1952, and the junior school in 1953. (fn. 74) Bosworth junior and infants schools, Charlbury Crescent, Harold Hill, were opened in 1951. They were closed in 1974 because of fears of collapse through the use of high alumina cement in their construction. Dycorts junior and infants schools, Dagnam Park Drive and Settle Road, Harold Hill, were opened in 1951 in Dagnam Park Drive. In 1966 the infants school was closed and the junior school was amalgamated with the adjoining Priory school. (fn. 75) Mead junior and infants schools, Amersham Road, Harold Hill. The infants school was opened in 1951 and the junior school in 1952. Priory junior school, Settle Road, Pyrgo infants school, Tarnworth Road, and Broadford junior and infants school, Faringdon Avenue, all at Harold Hill, were opened in 1952.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic junior and infants school, Lowshoe Lane, Collier Row, originated in 1953 with classes in the church hall. In 1960 it moved to permanent buildings and was granted Aided status. (fn. 76) St. Ursula's Roman Catholic junior and infants school, Straight Road, originated in 1953 with classes in the church hall in Petersfield Avenue. (fn. 77) The new infants department was built in 1955 and the junior department in 1957. The cost of building and staffing the school was undertaken by the Ursuline Sisters of Brentwood. (fn. 78)

Crownfield junior and infants schools, White Hart Lane, Collier Row, and Ingrebourne junior and infants schools, Taunton and Ashbourne Roads, Harold Hill, were opened in 1954–5. (fn. 79) Rise Park junior and infants schools, Annan Way, Rise Park, and Brookside junior and infants schools, Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, were opened in 1956–7. Pinewood junior and infants schools, Thistledene Avenue, Collier Row, built by the London borough of Havering, were opened in 1967–8.

Secondary schools founded since 1945.

Chase Cross comprehensive school, Havering Road North, was opened in 1949 as a mixed secondary (modern) school. It originally occupied the building intended for the new Gobions primary school. The boys department was completed in 1950. In 1955, when the girls building was completed, the school was reorganized for boys and girls separately. The schools were enlarged in 1962 and 1964. (fn. 80) In 1970 the boys and girls schools were again amalgamated, and in 1973 the school became comprehensive. (fn. 81)

Neave comprehensive school, Settle Road, Harold Hill, was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of Harrowfield and Quarles secondary (modern) schools. (fn. 82) Harrowfield school, Settle Road, was opened in 1953–4. Quarles school, Tring Gardens, was opened in 1955. In 1972 Havering technical college began to take over the school buildings, and in 1976 the lower Neave (formerly Quarles) school moved to Settle Road. (fn. 83)

Bedfords Park comprehensive school, Appleby Drive and Broxhill Road, was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of Harold Hill secondary (grammar) school and Broxhill secondary (modern) school. (fn. 84) Harold Hill secondary (grammar) school originated in 1955, when two grammar school streams were admitted to Quarles secondary (modern) school. (fn. 85) Permanent buildings were opened in Appleby Drive in 1958. Broxhill secondary (modern) school was opened in 1958 in temporary premises at Harrowfield and Bosworth schools. Permanent buildings were completed in 1959–60. (fn. 86)

Forest Lodge school, Lodge Lane, was opened in 1959 as North Romford Comprehensive school. It was the first comprehensive school in Essex. Permanent buildings were completed in 1960–1. The school was enlarged in 1970–1 and renamed in 1974. (fn. 87)

Adult education.

Romford evening institute was being held at the intermediate (later technical) school, Havering Drive, by 1935. In 1966 it became North Romford college of adult education. (fn. 88)

Special schools.

Romford special school, Malvern Road, Hornchurch, originated in 1911 when a special class for mentally deficient children was opened at Salisbury Road school. In 1928 it was moved to a hut in Malvern Road. It was closed in 1934. (fn. 89) In 1962–3 four nursery classes for maladjusted children were opened at infant schools in Romford and Harold Hill. Havering Grange school, Havering Road North, was opened in 1963. (fn. 90) Dycorts school, Settle Road, Harold Hill, was opened in 1967 in the former Dycorts infants school. (fn. 91) Ravensbourne school, Neave Close, Faringdon Avenue, Harold Hill, was opened in 1972 in a former social services training centre. A unit for partially deaf children was opened at Broadford infants school in 1972. (fn. 92)

Private schools. (fn. 93)

In the 1670s Mr. Stonehouse kept a grammar school at Romford. (fn. 94) In 1793 there were 2 boarding schools in the town and in 1826 there were three. By 1838 there were at least 6 private schools. The number had doubled by 1870, and 14 are listed in 1886. In the 1970s there were 3 private schools in Romford.

The early schools were in Market Place, High Street, North Street, and London Road. After 1870 some schools were opened in the new roads south of the railway. Many of them were short-lived, but a few survived for more than 30 years. Delamare's Romford academy, Collier Row Lane (North Street), which existed c. 1798, survived until at least 1826 and may have been the boarding school listed up to 1870. (fn. 95) John Ward, a Baptist, had a private school in Queen's Head Yard in 1836 which was listed as a commercial school in 1838. (fn. 96) Albion Cottage school, St. Andrew's Road, which was started by 1848, was a boarding and day school until 1866 and a girls school until at least 1910. (fn. 97) Regent House academy, Market Place, existed in 1848 and still survived in 1890. (fn. 98) A school which was at Cecil House, Laurie Square, in 1899, may have originated in the school conducted by the Misses Trott in 1838. (fn. 99) There was a school at Harold Wood Hall in 1859; in 1876 its buildings were offered to, but rejected by Romford school board. (fn. 100) Emma White kept a school in Western Road from at least 1863 until 1899.

Romford grammar school was founded c. 1866 in Victoria Road and later moved to Claremont House, Junction Road. In 1886 it was conducted by John Spry, who also had a school in Walthamstow. It apparently closed before 1906. The building was used by Clark's College from c. 1937 to 1974, and subsequently by Raphael school. (fn. 101)

Romford high school, South Street, was founded in 1881. In 1906, when it had 90 boys, it was the only secondary school for boys in Romford. (fn. 102) It had closed by 1910. Mulley's commercial college, Eastern Avenue, which was founded in 1894, still existed in 1966. (fn. 103) A girls school at no. 38, Western Road existed in 1902 and survived until at least 1937. St. Mary's convent school, which was listed in 1966–7 as a school for infants and junior girls, was founded in 1908 as a girls high school by Sisters of Mercy from Brentwood. (fn. 104)

Gidea Park college, Balgores Lane, appears to have been founded c. 1914 in Balgores Square. (fn. 105) It was bought in 1919 by James Parkinson (d. 1958) and in 1924 was moved to the present buildings. In 1922 it was recognized as a preparatory school to the Royal Liberty school. (fn. 106) In 1976 it had about 200 boys and girls aged 4 to 11. The school was then owned by a private company controlled by the Parkinson family.

Educational charity.

The Revd. Frederick Sweet Memorial scholarship was founded in 1911 to provide scholarships for Romford children achieving the highest marks in the local education authority's junior scholarship examination. Sweet (d. 1902) had been a Congregational minister, and chairman of Romford school board. (fn. 107) A fund raised in recognition of Sweet's work in education was used to buy property in Golders Green (Lond.) providing an annual income of about £12. The freehold interest was sold in 1956. After the abolition of the examination the income was used to support individual school projects. In 1976 the trustees of the United Reformed Church were accumulating the income for award to a project every 5 or 6 years. (fn. 108)


In 1837 the poor of Romford were benefiting from 6 charities providing £22 in bread and money given indiscriminately, a loan charity, and two apprenticeship charities, as well as the charity school (fn. 110) and Reede's alms-houses. By 1862 the combined income from the dole charities was being distributed in bread on St. Thomas's day. By a Charity Commission Scheme of 1899 the charities of Burleigh, Palmer, Reynolds, Webster, Armstead, Betts, Richardson, and Bourne were combined and administered by the vicar and churchwardens with 5 representative trustees as Romford United charities. In 1948 small doles were paid to 62 old people. A Scheme of 1952, when the income was £43, increased the number of representative trustees to six. In 1974 the income was £63. The charities were then being administered on behalf of the trustees by Havering social services department, (fn. 111) which made cash grants to needy persons.

United charities.

Mildred, Lady Burleigh, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall, by her will dated 1588, gave £120 to the Haberdashers' company of London to provide loans of £20 each to 6 Romford husbandmen or tradesmen. (fn. 112) By 1660, however, the loans were being administered by the vestry, and from 1737 magistrates of Havering liberty, and the minister of Romford acted as trustees. One loan was lost c. 1832 when the recipient became insolvent, and in 1861 the remaining capital was invested to make it up to the original sum. In 1862 it was said that applications for loans were rare, but in 1898 the whole £120 was on loan.

Robert Palmer, glover, by will dated 1624, gave the residue of his chattels in trust for the poor of Romford ward. (fn. 113) The legacy was used to buy Hangman's acre, which was let for £2 a year between 1660 and 1790, at £5 in 1800, and £10 10s. in 1810. In 1811 the land was exchanged for Townfield, which was let for £7 a year, distributed in bread and money to the poor. The land was sold in 1907 to the county council for the building of London Road (Crowlands) school, and the proceeds were invested in £868 stock. (fn. 114)

John Webster, brewer, gave by will c. 1629 a house called the Tilekiln on Harold Wood common to provide bread equally for the poor of Romford and Hornchurch. The house had once belonged to the guild of Our Lady but had passed into private hands in 1549. (fn. 115) The income was £4 from 1659 to 1846, and £9 in 1862. In the period 1788–90 a pauper was being housed at the Tilekiln, and the lessee then paid only half the usual rent. In 1899 the income was £4 7s. from land only. By 1952 the property had been sold and the income from stock was £9 17s.

Andrew Reynolds, by will proved 1632, gave to the poor of Romford town the reversion, after his wife's death, of a £3 rent-charge from his house in High Street. (fn. 116) In 1837 the income was being distributed in bread and doles. The rent-charge was redeemed in 1954 for £120 stock.

William Armstead, by will proved 1657, gave a rent-charge of £2 to Romford poor. It was redeemed in 1953 for £80 stock. (fn. 117)

Lewis Betts, by will dated 1669, gave £4 rent, charged on his house at Collier Row and on Lyon Mead, Hornchurch, to apprentice one poor child from Romford town and one from Collier Row. He also gave £2 rent from the Golden Lion, Romford, for the benefit of four poor husbandmen from Romford town and four from Collier Row, and another rent-charge of £1 to repair the church path. By 1862 the £1 rent had ceased to be used for the path, and had been added to the apprenticing charity, which was being allowed to accumulate to provide larger premiums. The last premium was paid in 1931. A Ministry of Education Scheme of 1952 empowered the trustees to help young persons preparing to enter a profession or trade, The rent-charges were redeemed in 1939, 1951, and 1953.

Hannah Richardson, by will c. 1811, gave £90 in trust to provide bread for the poor. (fn. 118) In 1895 the income was £2 17s. 8d., which was distributed in bread. In 1972 it was £2.60.

The Noak Hill charity. Frances Caroline Neave (d. 1860) expressed a wish to leave £500 to the poor of Noak Hill. Her niece Mary Blanche Neave, on her marriage in 1860 to John R. W. Hildyard, gave the sum to her husband to invest for the poor. The income was distributed in clothes, bedding, and cash. By declaration of trust dated 1900 Hildyard's executors transferred the stock to trustees. Succeeding trustees were to be appointed by the owner of Dagnam Park. In 1976 it was said that the charity had been in abeyance since 1970. (fn. 119)

Thomas Bourne, by will proved 1877, gave £100 in trust to provide doles for 6 poor widows and 6 poor widowers at Christmas. In 1972 the income was £2.52.

Roger Reede's alms-houses. (fn. 120)

About 1482 Roger Reede founded alms-houses for 5 poor men in Joyes Mead (Hoo Croft), on the west side of Collier Row Lane, now North Street. By his will, dated 1483, he gave lands in Romford and Dagenham to maintain the alms-houses, to pay 14d. a year to a priest and 5 clerks for an obit, 6s. 8d. a year to the poor, and pensions of 26s. and a load of wood to each of the five alms-men, with smaller benefits for their widows. Reede's will laid down detailed regulations for the conduct of the alms-houses. He also gave, in default of his wife's heirs, land in Romford to provide the poor of neighbouring parishes with food in Lent, and petticoats and blankets at All Saints. Later figures show that the charity was endowed with a total of 146 a. land. From 1737 or earlier people from Dagenham, Hornchurch, and Romford were admitted to the alms-houses, and coats and gowns were distributed in the three parishes. The alms-houses were rebuilt in 1784, and in 1786 part of the alms-house land was sold as the site for the new workhouse. (fn. 121) In 1789 the number of alms-men was raised to 7, and pensions were increased, but admission to the almshouses was restricted to those who had paid churchand poor-rates. In 1818 the trustees were charged with mismanagement and misapplication of funds. By a Scheme of 1825, following a Chancery order, 5 alms-men were to receive yearly £26 and a suit of clothes, their widows £20 and a gown and petticoat, and a further £35 was to be shared among the almspeople. From any surplus £30 was to be distributed in clothes and provisions to the poor of the three parishes. In 1837, when the alms-houses consisted of six tenements for men and a centre house for widows, they housed 5 men and 7 women, 3 of them widows. The alms-people received pensions, clothes, coal, and medical aid. From 1838 clothing and provisions were distributed to the poor of Romford, Hornchurch, and Dagenham. (fn. 122) A Scheme of 1860 enlarged the number of alms-men to 6, and another of 1890 increased the number of trustees from 10 to 16. By 1940 all the charity land had been sold except the Redyn field, the alms-houses, and neighbouring property in North Street. A Scheme of 1940, amended in 1946 and 1963, required the setting-up of a repair fund, increased the alms-folk stipends and raised to £60 the limit on the yearly payment to the poor of Romford, Hornchurch, and Dagenham. Provision of clothing to the alms-folk was replaced by clothing allowances in 1946. In 1959 the alms-houses and other property in North Street were sold, and 38 new alms-houses, including one bungalow for Hunnable's charity, (fn. 123) were built on charity land in Redyn field, Church Lane, in two phases, completed in 1961 and 1973. Payments to the alms-folk ceased in 1973 when a new Scheme introduced payment of contributions by them. The income in 1975 was £17,000.

As rebuilt in 1784 the alms-houses contained a central block of two storeys and three bays having a roof pediment with name plaque, flanked by lower wings of one storey. A 19th-century photograph also shows a pair of detached buildings, on each side of the main block, at right angles to it. (fn. 124) It is not clear if these were part of the 1784 rebuilding. The alms-houses accommodated 6 couples and 4 widows. They were damaged by floods in 1888. The side blocks were rebuilt in 1891 and the central block in 1897 in a 'cottage' style. (fn. 125) Some of the 1961 alms-houses are illustrated opposite page 113.

Other charities.

Mary Hide's apprenticeship charity, founded in 1714, is described elsewhere. (fn. 126)

William Mashiter, by deed of 1884, gave land and 4 cottages in Main Road, Romford, in trust to provide doles for the poor. The income accumulated during the First World War. Part of it was used for church purposes and later repaid. The property was sold in 1938. In 1971 the income was £93 from which £80 was distributed to 29 old people. (fn. 127)

William Hunnable, a local builder, by will proved 1928, left £1,000 for an alms-house for Romford poor. The money was insufficient to build and maintain an alms-house, and was therefore invested and allowed to accumulate. By a Scheme of 1961 it was used to build one of the alms-houses for occupation by a Romford person in the Redyn Field, and its administration was passed to the trustees of Reede's charity. (fn. 128)

Lost charities.

John Simpson, by will proved 1504, left the residue of his estate to his wife to dispose of for the good of his soul. (fn. 129) It seems that the rent from his house near the Loam pond was given to the poor. In 1660 50s. rent was being distributed to 5 poor men. From 1686 the rent of £3 was given to 6 poor men. In 1787 it was said that part of the land had been let on lease for 99 years from 1732, but the rent had not been paid. In 1788 the eight cottages near Loam pond, which had been used as poorhouses for many years, were sold for £198 by the directors of the poor. (fn. 130) It was believed that all or some of them had formerly been occupied by James (sic) Simpson. The proceeds of the sale may have been put towards the building of the parish workhouse in 1787. (fn. 131)

William Ellis, by will proved 1616, gave £20 in trust to be divided equally between the poor of Harold Wood and Noak Hill. (fn. 132) The charity seems to have been lost by 1690.

Ann Elsden of Clerkenwell (Lond.), by will dated 1625, left £30 in trust to buy land for the use of Romford poor. The trustees bought the Cross Keys (later the Half Moon) c. 1627 and used the income of £3 5s. on bread for the poor. The building was being used as the workhouse in 1753. There is no record of the receipt of the rent after 1776.

Elizabeth Parker, by will proved 1630, gave her residuary estate to the poor of the parish. (fn. 133) From 1660 to 1685 the interest on £23 was being used for the poor. There is no later record of this charity.

Mrs. Blackstone, by will dated 1647, gave £20 in trust for the poor of Harold Wood. It was on loan in 1660 but seems to have been lost by 1690.

Robert Luckin, by will proved 1652, directed that after his wife's death his heirs should pay 12d. each twice a year from his lands in Harold Wood to 10 poor old people of that ward. In 1753 the income was £1. Payment seems to have ceased c. 1790.

Col. Joachim Matthews of Gobions, by will proved 1659, left 20 marks in trust for the poor of each of the five Romford wards. The legacy was not received until 1687, after the vestry had taken legal action to recover it. It was put out on loan in the early 18th century. In 1766 part of the capital was used to build the poorhouse, and the rest had been lost by 1772. In 1776 the churchwardens were charged interest on the capital but nothing more is known of this charity. (fn. 134)

Margaret Burch, by will dated 1684, directed that money owing to her should be placed in trust for the poor of Harold Wood and Collier Row. Half the income was to be used for poor widows, and half for apprenticing poor children. In 1689 42s. was paid to the churchwardens, who gave 22s. to widows and kept the rest for apprenticing. By 1706 the income was £4 2s., and in 1733 the income was from interest on loans of £75. In 1766 part of the capital of Burch's charity was put towards building the poorhouse, and by 1772 the remaining capital was said to be lost.


  • 1. Davids, Nonconformity in Essex, 422–5; Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 380.
  • 2. Ed. 2/171; Lond. Gaz. 16 Jan. 1872 (no. 23818), p. 155.
  • 3. E.R.O., T/A 521/4.
  • 4. M. E. Sadler, Sec. and Higher Educ. in Essex, 380–4.
  • 5. S.P.C.K., Abstracts of letters, vol. 2, no. 2469. For the school see: F. Davis, Story of St. Edward's schools, Romford (1950); P. Lloyd, St. Edward's C. of E. school, Romford (1960). For the charity school clothing see: M. G. Jones, The Charity School Movement, 376, and Lloyd, op. cit. 4, 6.
  • 6. E.R.O., D/Q 24/1.
  • 7. E.R.O., T/A 521/1; D/Q 24/1.
  • 8. Hist. Essex by Gent, iv. 323–4; Lysons, Lond., iv. 202.
  • 9. Rep. Com. Char. [108], pp. 731–5, (1837–8), xxv (1); E.R.O., D/Q 24/2, 3. An infants school started in 1835 became St. Andrew's school: see below.
  • 10. Applications for grants for educ. (1840–43), H.C. 444, pp. 42–3 (1843), xl.
  • 11. Schs. Inquiry Com. [3966], p. 411, H.C. (1867–8), xxviii (17).
  • 12. Mins. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1852–3, [1624], p. 315, H.C. (1852–3), lxxx; Ed. 49/2190.
  • 13. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1866–7, [3882], p. 571, H.C. (1867), xxii.
  • 14. E.R.O., D/Q 24/5, 6.
  • 15. Char. Com. Files; Ed. 49/2191.
  • 16. Char. Com. Files; E.R.O., D/Q 24/6. For the library see above, p. 82.
  • 17. Hornchurch Hist. Soc. Newsletter, Sept. 1968.
  • 18. E.R.O., D/Q 24/6.
  • 19. Char. Com. Files.
  • 20. Char. Com. Files; inf. from Vicar.
  • 21. E.R.O., D/Q 24/4.
  • 22. H.R.L., Cornell MSS.; Inscription on building.
  • 23. E.R.O., E/P 102.
  • 24. Romford L.B. Mins. 2 Jan. 1862; Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1866–7, [3882], p. 571, H.C. (1867), xxii.
  • 25. Return of Schs. 1875–6, [C. 1882] pp. 72–3, H.C. (1877), lxvii.
  • 26. Ed. 21/5324; 5327; Ed. 2/171.
  • 27. E.R.O., D/P 30/28/19; H.R.L., Cornell MSS.
  • 28. Char. Com. Files.
  • 29. The south end of Queen St. was later called Albion St.
  • 30. E.R.O., E/MM 40; E.R.O., D/AEM 2/8; Ed. 2/171.
  • 31. Reps. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1879–80, [C. 2562–1], p. 592–3, H.C. (1880), xxii; 1880–1 [C. 2948–1], p. 579, H.C. (1881), xxxii.
  • 32. Ed. 21/171.
  • 33. Mins. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1849–50, [1215], p. clxxxv, H.C. (1850), xliii.
  • 34. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1878–9, [C. 2342–1], H.C. (1878–9), xxiii.
  • 35. E.R.O., C/ME 46, p. 500; C/ME 49, p. 277; C/ME 53, p. 455; C/ME 59, p. 360; C/ME 48, p. 390.
  • 36. Ann. Rep. Catholic Poor Sch. Cttee. (1852), 80.
  • 37. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1882), 255; Return of Non-Provided Schs., H.C. 178, p. 27, (1906), lxxxvii.
  • 38. Reps. Catholic Poor Sch. Cttee. (1860–69); Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1880–1, [2948–1], p. 579, H.C. (1881), xxxii; Return of Schs. 1893 [C. 7529], p. 172, H.C. (1894), lxv.
  • 39. Ed. 21/5326.
  • 40. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1880–1 [C. 2948–1], p. 579, H.C. (1881), xxxii; E.R.O., E/Z 2.
  • 41. E.R.O., C/ME 46, p. 18.
  • 42. Ed. 21/5323; Romford Recorder, 30 Oct. 1964, p. 48; O.S. Map 25", Essex, LXVI. 16 (1896 edn.).
  • 43. Return of Schs. 1893, [C. 7529], p. 172, H.C. (1894), lxv; Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council 1876–7, [C. 1780–1], p. 771, H.C. (1877), xxix.
  • 44. Ed. 21/5323; E.R.O., C/ME 7, p. 246.
  • 45. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1886), 255.
  • 46. Ed. 21/5322; Wilson and Whitworth's Romford Almanack (1910), 60.
  • 47. E.R.O., C/ME 9, p. 829; C/ME 49, p. 761; C/ME 50, p. 443.
  • 48. H.R.L., Cornell MSS.; Ed. 21/5325.
  • 49. Ed. 2/171; Ed. 21/5325.
  • 50. Ed. 21/5324.
  • 51. Cf. V.C.H. Essex, v. 301; Educ. in Essex (1928–35), 118–9; E.R.O., C/ME 33, p. 501–2.
  • 52. E.R.O., C/ME 49, p. 761; C/ME 50, p. 443.
  • 53. Ed. 21/5329.
  • 54. E.R.O., C/ME 26, p. 337; C/ME 27, p. 476.
  • 55. Havering Official Guide (1973), 73.
  • 56. E.R.O., C/ME 25, p. 140; C/ME 27, p. 172; C/ME 30, pp. 228, 377–8.
  • 57. Ordeal in Romford, 25–7.
  • 58. E.R.O., C/ME 49, p. 761; C/ME 50, p. 443.
  • 59. E.R.O., C/ME 42, p. 385; C/ME 44, p. 307.
  • 60. E.R.O., C/ME 40, pp. 91–2, 727–8, 824; C/ME 44, p. 211.
  • 61. First headmistress of Romford county high school.
  • 62. Inf. from school.
  • 63. S. Roberts, Romford in the 19th century, 29; E.R.O., C/ME 5, p. 154; Wilson and Whitworth's Romford Almanack (1910), 60, 62.
  • 64. E.R.O., C/ME 31, p. 136.
  • 65. Educ. in Essex (1960–64), p. 24; Havering Official Guide (1973), 75.
  • 66. E.R.O., C/ME 30, p. 676; inf. from Essex Educ. Dept.
  • 67. E.R.O., C/ME 16, p. 470; C/ME 17, pp. 181, 537, 749; C/ME 24, p. 193; Havering Official Guide (1973), 75; inf. from school. For Hare Hall see p. 62.
  • 68. E.R.O., C/ME 23, pp. 243–4; Romford Guide (1935); V.C.H. Essex, v. 299.
  • 69. E.R.O., C/ME 39A, p. 252; C/ME 39B, p. 383; C/ME 41, p. 703.
  • 70. Educ. in Essex (1956–60), p. 26; (1960–64), p. 26.
  • 71. E.R.O., D/Q 24/6.
  • 72. Char. Com. Files; inf. from Vicar.
  • 73. Inf. from school.
  • 74. E.R.O., C/ME 42, p. 677; C/ME 46, p. 695; Educ. in Essex (1945–52), 23.
  • 75. Havering Official Guide (1966–7), 39.
  • 76. E.R.O., C/ME 47, p. 461; C/ME 58, p. 473.
  • 77. E.R.O., C/ME 47, p. 679.
  • 78. Harold Hill R.C. Church Souvenir (1953).
  • 79. Educ. in Essex (1952–56), 21–2.
  • 80. E.R.O., C/ME 42, pp. 677, 701; C/ME 48, p. 616; Educ. in Essex (1945–52), 31; (1960–64), 23–4.
  • 81. Inf. from Headmaster.
  • 82. Inf. from school.
  • 83. Inf. from Mr. B. J. Townsend.
  • 84. Inf. from school.
  • 85. E.R.O., C/ME 49, p. 182.
  • 86. Essex Education Bdg. Suppl. July 1958, p. 5; Sept. 1960, pp. 2, 22–3.
  • 87. Educ. in Essex (1960–64), 22; inf. from school.
  • 88. Romford Official Guide (1935); inf. from college.
  • 89. E.R.O., C/ME 7, p. 338; C/ME 24, p. 810.
  • 90. E.R.O., C/ME 57, p. 137; inf. from Havering Educ. Dept.
  • 91. Havering Official Guide (1966–7), 45.
  • 92. Inf. from Hacton school and Havering Educ. Dept.
  • 93. Unless otherwise stated this section is based on: Universal British Dir. (c. 1798); Pigot's Dir. (1823–4, 1826–7); Robson's Dir. (1838); White's Dir. Essex (1848, 1963); Kelly's Dir. Essex (1855 and later edns.).
  • 94. E.R.O., T/A 141. Probably Robert Stonehouse, vicar of Childerditch 1666–83: Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 146; E.R.O., T/P 81/2.
  • 95. E.R.O., Educ. in Essex, 1710–1910, illus. no. 11; E.J. ii. 30; Greenwood's Map of Essex (1824); E.R.O., D/CT 186.
  • 96. Romford Baptist Ch., The First Hundred Years.
  • 97. H.R.L., Cornell MSS.
  • 98. E.R.O., Sage Coll. 606; D/CT 186.
  • 99. Strat. Expr., 19 Sept. 1883, p. 1; Romford U.D.C. Mins. 3 July 1899.
  • 100. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1859); E.R.O., Sage Coll. Sale Cats. vol. iii. 1, 2.
  • 101. Strat. Expr., 23 June 1888, p. 6; 4 Jan. 1890, p. 1, 26 Dec. 1891, p. 6; V.C.H. Essex, vi. 296 n; Daily Telegraph, 1 Apr. 1974.
  • 102. Strat. Expr., 28 Dec. 1889, p. 6; Romford L.B. Mins. 7 Nov. 1887; M. E. Sadler, Sec. and Higher Educ. in Essex, 384.
  • 103. Havering Official Guide (1966–7), 51.
  • 104. Brentwood Dioc. Mag., ix. 61; Havering Official Guide (1966–7), 51.
  • 105. Account based on: Kelly's Dir. Essex (1914 and later edns.); inf. from Headmaster.
  • 106. E.R.O., C/ME 18, p. 244.
  • 107. See p. 89.
  • 108. W. W. Biggs, Cong. Ch. Romford, 1662–1962, 23; Char. Com. Files; inf. from Revd. K. French.
  • 109. Unless otherwise stated this section is based on: Rep. Com. Char. [108], pp. 735–42, (1837–8), xxv (1); Char. Com. Files; E.R.O., Q/RSr 1; T/A 521/1–3, 9, 10; T/P 195/2, ff. 88–90.
  • 110. See p. 92.
  • 111. Ex. inf. Havering social services dept.
  • 112. Hist. Essex by Gent. iv. 324.
  • 113. E.R.O., D/AEW 17/180.
  • 114. H.R.L., Cornell MSS.; and see above, p. 93.
  • 115. Cal. Pat. 1548–9, 312; see also above, p. 83.
  • 116. E.R.O., D/AEW 19/144.
  • 117. See also p. 54.
  • 118. Ogborne, Essex, 137.
  • 119. Inf. from Mr. G. Grusin and Havering social services dept.
  • 120. This account, unless otherwise stated, is based on: E.R.O., T/B 262 (microfilm of the charity's records 1469–1899); D/DBeO 5; Ogborne, Essex, 136; S. Roberts, 'Notes on the charity and life of Roger Reede', Romford Record, i. 10–16; inf. from Roger Reede's trustees.
  • 121. Lysons, Lond. iv. 202; E.R.O., T/B 262/1.
  • 122. E.R.O., T/B 262/2.
  • 123. See below.
  • 124. Romford Record, i, pl. f. p. 22.
  • 125. E.R.O., T/B 262/23.
  • 126. See p. 55.
  • 127. Char. Com. Files.
  • 128. Inf. from trustees; Char. Com. Files.
  • 129. E.R.O., D/AER 2/82.
  • 130. E.R.O., D/DGe T90.
  • 131. See p. 77.
  • 132. E.R.O., D/AEW 15/279.
  • 133. E.R.O., D/AEW 19/72.
  • 134. Smith, Havering, 245–7; interest may have been paid on the Havering share until 1778: see above, p. 25.