Northolt: Education

Pages 121-122

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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In 1715 Dr. John Cockburn, Vicar of Northolt, commented on the absence of educational facilities in the parish, and instituted a scheme for the education of poor children. Three collections were made, and the money raised used to provide schooling for 6 children in part of the parish poorhouse. Cockburn continued to finance the venture, increasing the number of children to 16, until his death in 1729. (fn. 1) Several other 18th-century incumbents seem to have attempted to revive Cockburn's scheme. Gilbert Bouchery (curate 1738-49) observed that the parish children were 'surprisingly perverse and inattentive to all manner of instruction, exhortation and example'. (fn. 2) After 1780 some Northolt children undoubtedly attended the school founded by Edward Betham in Greenford. (fn. 3) In 1818 the Vicar of Northolt was financing a day school at which 37 poor children were taught by a single mistress. (fn. 4)

The mixed school opened in 1835 was that generally known in the early 19th century as Northolt National School. (fn. 5) The school was housed in the converted poor-house, which stood immediately west of the churchyard (fn. 6) and was described later as 'three wooden cottages, gutted, and made into one'. Under the auspices of the National Society tuition was given to 18 boys and 27 girls. Efforts to educate Northolt children were said, however, to be largely frustrated by the parents' practice of putting children out to work before they had learned to read. (fn. 7) The poor-house was used as a school until 1868 when the premises were declared inadequate. A new building to accommodate 88 mixed pupils was erected in the same year on a site adjoining the playground of the old school. (fn. 8) Subsequently the school was known as Northolt Church School. It was receiving a government grant by 1870, when the average attendance was 39 children. (fn. 9) A new classroom was added in 1881, (fn. 10) and the average attendance increased to 72 in 1899, and to 105 by 1906. (fn. 11) In the following year the Church School was closed and the pupils transferred to the new Northolt County Primary School, erected in 1907 at what is now the junction of Church Road and Western Avenue. (fn. 12) The former school, now called the Memorial Hall, is used as an old people's work centre and hired out for meetings. (fn. 13)

Northolt Primary School, built to accommodate 296 pupils, was, until 1931, the only school in the parish. The school's capacity was increased by the addition of prefabricated huts in the late 1930s, and by 1945 it accommodated 656 children. Since that date a number of new schools have been built in the parish, and in 1963 the Primary School, which was then scheduled for closure, accommodated only 341 pupils. (fn. 14)

The school now known as Wood End Secondary Girls' School was built in 1931 as an all-age department. In 1935 the infants were transferred to new premises erected on an adjoining site in Wood End Way. The infants' department was in turn reorganized in 1939, when it was taken over as a junior girls' school and the infants were transferred to the new Wood End Infants' School. (fn. 15)

Eliots Green Grammar School was erected in 1956 on a site in Eastcote Lane. In 1963 the school accommodated 590 pupils, of which approximately one-half were girls, and a full-time staff of 33. Pupils were prepared for the General Certificate and London University entrance examinations. (fn. 16)

In February 1963 there were fourteen maintained schools, excluding grammar schools, in the old parish of Northolt. 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 date of any extension; the next figure is the number of children on the roll at February 1963, and the final figure denotes the age-group of the pupils:

Northolt Primary (1907, 1939). 341. 5-11; Wood End Secondary Girls (1931). 328. 11-16; Wood End Junior Boys (1935, 1939). 269. 8-11; Wood End Junior Girls (1935). 216. 8-11; Wood End Infants (1939). 378. 5-8; Downe Manor Junior and Infants (1948). 317. 5-11; Islip Manor Infants (1948). 240. 5-8; Islip Manor Junior (1951). 368. 8-11; Gifford Junior and Infants (1951). 607. 5-11; Arundell Primary (1952). 288. 5-11; Barantyne Junior (1952). 368. 8-11; Vincent Secondary (1953). 773. 11-16; Walford Secondary (1955). 771. 11-16; Northolt Park Infants (1960). 210. 5-8. (fn. 17)


  • 1. Par. Recs., Dr. Cockburn's 'Register of the Par.'.
  • 2. Par. Recs.
  • 3. V.C.H. Mdx. iii. 219.
  • 4. Digest of Rets. to Cttee. on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224 (1819), ix(1).
  • 5. Ed. 7/87.
  • 6. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. xv. NW. (1868 edn.).
  • 7. Nat. Soc. files.
  • 8. M.R.O., Acc. 289/5; Nat. Soc. files.
  • 9. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Co. 1870 [C. 406], H.C. (1871), xxii.
  • 10. Nat. Soc. files; date on building.
  • 11. Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants, 1899 [Cd. 332], p. 169, H.C. (1900), lxiv; Public Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3510], H.C. (1907), lxiii.
  • 12. Ed. 7/86.
  • 13. Ex inf. the vicar.
  • 14. Educ. in Ealing, 1877-1945, copy penes Ealing libr.; ex inf. Borough Educ. Officer.
  • 15. Ex inf. Borough Educ. Officer.
  • 16. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 17. Ex inf. Borough Educ. Officer.