Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Education

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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Diane K Bolton. H P F King. Gillian Wyld. D C Yaxley, 'Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Education', 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, (London, 1971), pp. 95-98. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol4/pp95-98 [accessed 16 June 2024].

Diane K Bolton. H P F King. Gillian Wyld. D C Yaxley. "Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Education", in 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, (London, 1971) 95-98. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol4/pp95-98.

Bolton, Diane K. King, H P F. Wyld, Gillian. Yaxley, D C. "Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Education", 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, (London, 1971). 95-98. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol4/pp95-98.


The earliest evidence of organized education in Hillingdon parish dates from the 1660s when Robert Hall, an ejected schoolmaster, was said to be giving tuition to the children of Uxbridge dissenters. (fn. 1) Two licensed schoolmasters, one of whom was Nathaniel Snell, (fn. 2) are mentioned in a parochial visitation of 1673. (fn. 3) Further denominational tuition for six poor boys of Uxbridge was provided under the trust of 1706 instituting the Uxbridge lectureship. (fn. 4) By this date the manorial trustees were also providing limited, and probably undenominational, teaching for poor girls in premises in the Lynch. (fn. 5) Subsequent 18th-century developments centred on the efforts of the Uxbridge manorial trustees to extend educational facilities in the town. They covenanted in 1728 to rebuild the school-house in the Lynch, (fn. 6) and from about 1730 applied part of the market tolls towards the education of 20 boys and 22 girls. (fn. 7) Teaching was undenominational; (fn. 8) the boys' classes were held in a room over the market-house; the girls probably continued to use the old building in the Lynch. Numbers attending each establishment during the 18th century fluctuated between 20 and 30. (fn. 9) During the 1780s part of the proceeds of Townsend's charity (fn. 10) seems to have been applied to the upkeep of the free schools. (fn. 11)

In 1809 the lords in trust resolved to reorganize their early foundations. The old schools for boys and girls were united in one institution housed in the market-house schoolroom, and styled the Uxbridge Lancasterian or British School. A special school committee was elected to supervise the new institution, and a master and mistress appointed at annual salaries of 80 guineas and £15 respectively. Children 'of all labouring people or mechanics' were eligible for entry, and the school contained 204 pupils during the first year. (fn. 12) A school of industry was also established, and a mistress appointed at an annual salary of £40. The school was supervised by female members of the school committee, and until new premises in Belmont Road were erected in 1816, classes were conducted in the market-house room. (fn. 13)

By 1819 the average attendance at the Uxbridge British School, renamed in 1816 the Uxbridge Free School, had declined to 140, and about 80 girls attended the school of industry. In addition there were said to be several small day-schools in the parish where parents paid 'about 4d. a week' for their children's tuition. (fn. 14) By 1816 a small school for Protestant girls seems to have been established at Hillingdon End under the patronage of Thomas Clarke of Swakeleys, Ickenham. (fn. 15)

No further schools were established until 1827 when the West Drayton British School was built at Hockey Hole in the extreme south of Hillingdon parish. (fn. 16) In the following year the Hillingdon vestry conveyed a plot in Uxbridge Road to the vicar for the purpose of erecting a parish school for poor girls. (fn. 17) Building was completed in 1829, and the school, known initially as Hillingdon St. John's Girls School, and supported by church collections and parental contributions, opened with approximately 100 pupils. (fn. 18)

By 1835 there were said to be ten day-schools in Hillingdon parish, accommodating in all 261 boys and 185 girls, and serving a population of 3,842. There were also two private schools. Uxbridge, with a population of 3,043, had five day-schools, of which the largest was the British School with 187 pupils. One hundred and seven girls attended the school of industry; a third establishment had 51 boys; and two smaller institutions, established in 1827 and 1832 respectively, together accommodated 63 pupils. The three smaller schools were supported by parental contributions. In addition three girls' boarding schools together accommodated 137 children. (fn. 19)

Reorganization of existing facilities began in 1834 when the lords in trust declared the market-house schoolroom inadequate. New buildings were erected on a site in Cowley Road, and the British or Free School vacated the market-house in 1835. In 1836 the old premises were being used for meetings of the Mechanics' Institute. (fn. 20) The British School received its first Government grant in 1836; (fn. 21) and until the 1870s seems to have contained between 80 and 100 pupils. (fn. 22) By 1879, however, the institution was in financial difficulties, the master's salary was reduced, a pupil teacher absconded, and it was thought that the school would have to close at the end of the year. (fn. 23) Further Government grants, however, enabled it to continue, and attendance began to improve. By 1903 the establishment, then known as Cowley Road school, and controlled by the county council, had an average attendance of 193. (fn. 24) The school continued in the Cowley Road premises until 1928 when the pupils were transferred to Greenway County School. (fn. 25) Until about 1942 the school buildings were used as a county library (transferred in 1940) and domestic science centre for the Uxbridge district. Since 1942 the premises have been used as a school meals kitchen. (fn. 26)

Attendance at the girls' school of industry during the 19th century seems to have remained constant at between 100 and 120. The school was receiving Government grants by 1903 when it contained 127 girls. (fn. 27) The school premises were extended in 1910, and attendance had increased to 168 by 1926. In 1928, as part of an extensive reorganization of educational facilities in Uxbridge, the pupils in the school of industry were transferred to the Whitehall and Greenway county schools. (fn. 28) The old building was then used as an infants' department, and subsequently known as Belmont Road Infants School. (fn. 29)

To meet the needs of a steadily increasing population the Hillingdon church school was considerably expanded during the late 19th century. An infant girls' department in Royal Lane opened in 1869, (fn. 30) and a boys' school was built on the Uxbridge Road site in 1895. (fn. 31) By 1906 the Hillingdon church schools accommodated 140 boys, 128 girls, and 124 infants. (fn. 32) The girls' department was transferred in 1924 (fn. 33) to the newly built Uxbridge Road County School, which was itself reorganized in the early 1930s as Hillingdon Junior (mixed) School. (fn. 34) The former girls' department of the church school was used by the boys' department until 1928, when the whole school was reorganized as an infants' department. The infants' school in Royal Lane was then converted into a church hall (opened 1930), and the pupils transferred to the Uxbridge Road premises. By 1934 there were more than 300 pupils and the building was much overcrowded. Church control ceased in 1938 when the establishment became a county school. Three years later the premises were damaged by enemy action. (fn. 35) After the war the school was renovated and continued in use as Hillingdon Infants School. (fn. 36)

A number of new schools were also established after 1835 to relieve pressure on existing institutions. New Windsor Street Infants School was built in 1839, (fn. 37) and accommodated between 140 and 170 infants until its closure in 1911, when the pupils were transferred to the new Whitehall County School in Cowley Road. (fn. 38) Hillingdon and Cowley National Boys School in Hillingdon Road was built in 1841 to provide education for poor children from the two parishes. (fn. 39) Attendance increased from 65 in 1865 to 123 in 1927. (fn. 40) The school seems to have been closed shortly after the latter date. St. John's Church of England School, built on glebe land in St. John's Road, was erected in 1846 under the auspices of the National Society. (fn. 41) Initially the school accommodated 28 boys and 62 girls, drawn chiefly from the Uxbridge Moor district; (fn. 42) but the premises appear to have been extended about 1865, and in 1903 there were 157 pupils. (fn. 43) Senior departments were transferred to Whitehall County School in 1911, (fn. 44) and in 1963 the church school accommodated 70 children. (fn. 45)

Education for the children of Uxbridge Moor dissenters was provided from about 1846 in temporary premises near the canal. The school, known as the Moor Ragged School, was organized as part of the Waterloo Road mission, (fn. 46) whose members appointed a mistress at a salary of 8s. a week. Premises in Waterloo Road were occupied in 1864, and until the closure of the day-school in 1892 the institution accommodated about 60 pupils. (fn. 47) St. Margaret's, Uxbridge, National School was opened in 1864 as a mixed school for 300 children. The adjoining infants' department was added in 1869, (fn. 48) and by 1870 the school had 213 pupils. In 1906 the average attendance was 289. (fn. 49) The school seems to have closed about 1927. (fn. 50) St. Andrew's National School, erected on a site adjoining the church, was opened in 1869 to serve the new St. Andrew's ecclesiastical parish. (fn. 51) The school received an annual grant, and in 1870 had 55 pupils. (fn. 52) The premises were considerably extended in 1897, (fn. 53) and by 1927 accommodated 128 girls and 117 infants. (fn. 54) About two years later the school was reorganized as an infants' department, and in 1930 the girls' school building was converted into a parish hall. (fn. 55) St. Mary's Roman Catholic School, Rockingham Road, was built in 1895 to serve the Uxbridge district. (fn. 56) Since that date it has accommodated between 50 and 70 children. (fn. 57)

Until about 1870 educational facilities for the Yiewsley district of the parish were inadequate. West Drayton British School, which was just within Hillingdon parish, provided education for local dissenters' children, but many Hillingdon children attended the National school in Station Road, West Drayton. (fn. 58) In 1872, however, St. Matthew's C. of E. School was built in High Street, Yiewsley. (fn. 59) By 1887 a second church school, known as Starveall Infants School, had been opened. (fn. 60) This school seems to have been situated near Stockley Bridge, Yiewsley, but details of its history and closure are unknown. (fn. 61) St. Stephen's County Infants School, St. Stephen's Road, Yiewsley, was built in 1905, and in 1910 a second county school was opened in Providence Road. Some of the pupils from the St. Matthew's and St. Stephen's schools were then transferred to the new premises. (fn. 62) This virtually completed school building in Hillingdon parish until the 1930s when a number of new schools (fn. 63) were opened to meet the rapidly expanding population.

Bishopshalt Grammar School developed from the Uxbridge County School which occupied premises in the Greenway from 1907. This building was vacated in 1928 when the school was transferred to the house in Royal Lane which had been built on the site of the old rectory house owned by the bishops of Worcester. (fn. 64) The school then adopted the name Bishopshalt and was constituted a grammar school. The Greenway premises were subsequently occupied by the Greenway County Secondary School. A second grammar school, Vyners Grammar School, Warren Road, just inside the northern boundary of Hillingdon old parish, was opened in 1960. (fn. 65)

In September 1963 there were nineteen maintained schools in the old parish of Hillingdon. 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 September 1963, and the final figure denotes the age-group of the pupils: (fn. 66)

St. John's C. of E. (1846, c. 1865). 70. 5-11; St. Andrew's C. of E. (1869, 1897). 171. 5-11; St. Matthew's C. of E. (1872). 311. 7-11; St. Mary's R.C. (1895). 140. 5-11; St. Stephen's County Infants (1905). 225. 5-7; Bishopshalt Grammar (1907). 784. 11-19; (fn. 67) Providence Road County Primary (1910). 238. 5-11; Whitehall County Primary (1911, 1927). 511. 5-11; Hillingdon Junior (1924). 279. 7-11; Belmont Road Infants (1928). 84. 5-7; Hillingdon Infants (1928). 226. 5-7; Greenway County Secondary (1928). 705. 11-16; (fn. 68) Oak Farm County Primary (1934). 734. 5-11; Evelyns County Secondary (1936). 840. 11-16; St. Bernadette's R.C. Primary (1939, 1961). 268. 5-11; Colham Manor County Primary (1951). 467. 5-11; Abbotsfield (Boys) County Secondary (1952). 768. 11-17; (fn. 69) Ryefield County Primary (1960). 384. 5-11; Vyners Grammar (1960). 604. 11-17.

Small select private schools and dame-schools have existed in the district since at least the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 70) In 1840 Mrs. Moore's boarding-school for 'young ladies' gave instruction in English, history, geography, writing, arithmetic, and needlework for 20 guineas a year, and a M. Godard advertised French and dancing lessons. (fn. 71) There were said to be eight private schools in Hillingdon parish in 1870, together accommodating 124 children. (fn. 72) Some of these schools provided organized preparatory education for boys entering the large public schools. Possibly the most important was Evelyns School at Colham Green, which was founded in 1872, and maintained close connexions with Eton until it was closed in 1931. (fn. 73) Of the independent schools in Hillingdon in 1963 the largest were Rutland House School (125 boys), established in 1951 in The Cedars, the house in Vine Lane occupied during the early 18th century by Samuel Reynardson the botanist, (fn. 74) and Frays College in Harefield Road. This school was founded about 1926 as Uxbridge High School, and occupied several buildings in Uxbridge before moving to the present premises about 1929. Eric Blair (George Orwell) the novelist taught French at the school for a short time about 1934. In 1963 the school had 210 pupils, aged between 5 and 16 years, and a staff of 12. (fn. 75)

Two Roman Catholic girls' schools were established in Hillingdon in the early 20th century. The Sacred Heart of Mary Convent School, Hillingdon Court, accommodated 130 girls, some of whom were boarders, in 1963. (fn. 76) All Souls School in Pield Heath Road was opened in 1902 as a residential school for mentally defective girls. Subsequently the premises were considerably extended, and in 1963 basic education and domestic training were given to approximately 100 girls aged between 7 and 16 years. (fn. 77)

Technical education in the parish began about 1830 with the formation of a mechanics' institute in Uxbridge. (fn. 78) Lectures on astronomy and scientific and industrial topics were held at first in a room in the market-house and, after 1835, in the room formerly occupied by the British School. (fn. 79) Nothing further is known of the Uxbridge Mechanics' Institute: some of its functions were apparently assumed by the Literary and Scientific Institution which was formed in 1836. (fn. 80) In 1895 a committee, probably of nonconformist sympathies, was formed to organize 'technical' education in Uxbridge. A system of evening courses was established, and classes including book-keeping, art, shorthand, cookery, horticulture, and French were held in various Uxbridge schools. In 1904 a day centre for pupil teachers was instituted in the Old Meeting House, and two years later transferred to the Primitive Methodist chapel. The entire scheme seems to have been discontinued in 1907. (fn. 81) In 1963 evening institutes were held in the Greenway, Abbotsfield, and Evelyns secondary schools and in Vyners grammar school. (fn. 82)

In 1937 the county education committee approved the purchase of 5 a. of the Hillingdon Farm estate, with access to Park Road, for the building of a technical institute. Revised plans were drawn up in 1957 and work on the site began in 1961. A principal was appointed from 1965, when the first staff members moved into the new administrative block. Uxbridge Technical College opened in September 1965 with 40 full-time teaching staff and 1,323 full- and part-time students, divided between the Commerce and General Studies Department and the Engineering and Science Department. (fn. 83)


  • 1. See p. 91. For the history of Uxbridge (nonconformist) School see p. 92. For an abortive 16th-cent. attempt to provide a school in Uxbridge see p. 98.
  • 2. See p. 99.
  • 3. Guildhall MS. 9537/20.
  • 4. See p. 90; Lysons, Mdx. Pars. 184.
  • 5. M.R.O., Acc. 538/7.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. M.R.O., Acc. 538/3.
  • 8. Guildhall MS. 9558.
  • 9. M.R.O., Acc. 538/3, /4.
  • 10. See p. 90.
  • 11. M.R.O., Acc. 538/4.
  • 12. M.R.O., E. Mdx. 2/1; Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, x(5), 536-7; V.C.H. Mdx. i. 231-2.
  • 13. M.R.O., Acc. 538/4; Ed. 7/86; Digest of Rets. to Cttee. on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224, p. 538 (1819), ix(1).
  • 14. Rets. of Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224, p. 538 (1819), ix(1). For fees at the British Sch. see V.C.H. Mdx. i. 231-2.
  • 15. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, x(5), 536-7.
  • 16. Ed. 7/87. The subsequent history of the school is unknown. It was still in existence in 1881.
  • 17. Vestry Mins. 1828-37 penes Uxb. Bor. Council.
  • 18. Nat. Soc. files; Ed. 7/86.
  • 19. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 63, p. 565 (1835), xlii. Some inaccuracy may have resulted from uncertainty over the boundaries of Uxbridge chapelry.
  • 20. M.R.O., Acc. 538/5; E. Mdx. 2/2; see below.
  • 21. Mins. of Educ. Cttee. of Coun. 1849 [1215], H.C. (1850), xliii.
  • 22. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Coun. 1865-6 [3666], p. 743, H.C. (1866), xxvii; 1870 [C. 406] p. 503, H.C. (1871), xxii.
  • 23. M.R.O., E. Mdx. 2/2.
  • 24. Schs. under Admin. of Bd. 1903 [Cd. 2011], p. 170, H.C. (1904), lxxv.
  • 25. See below.
  • 26. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 27. Schs. under Admin. of Bd. 1903 [Cd. 2011], p. 170. H.C. (1904), lxxv.
  • 28. M.R.O., E/N.W. 5.
  • 29. See below.
  • 30. Par. Recs. terrier of benefice (1889).
  • 31. Ed. 7/86.
  • 32. Pub. Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3510], p. 448, H.C. (1907), lxiii.
  • 33. Bd. of Educ. List 21 (1927), p. 238.
  • 34. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 35. M.R.O., E/N.W.4.
  • 36. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 37. Ed. 7/87.
  • 38. Ed. 7/86; M.R.O., E/N. W.3/1, 2; Pub. Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3510], H.C. (1907), lxiii.
  • 39. Ed. 7/86.
  • 40. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Coun. 1865-6 [3666], p. 555, H.C. (1866), xxvii; Bd. of Educ. List 21 (1927), p. 239.
  • 41. Ed. 7/86.
  • 42. Nat. Soc. files.
  • 43. Digest of Schs. under Admin. of Bd. 1903 [Cd. 2011], p. 170, H.C. (1904), lxxv.
  • 44. Ed. 7/86.
  • 45. See below.
  • 46. See p. 94.
  • 47. Ex inf. the Superintendent, Waterloo Rd. Free Church.
  • 48. Ed. 7/86; Nat. Soc. files.
  • 49. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Coun. 1870 [C. 406], H.C. (1871), xxii; Pub. Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3510], H.C. (1907), lxiii.
  • 50. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 51. Ed. 7/86.
  • 52. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Coun. 1870 [C. 406], H.C. (1871), xxii.
  • 53. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 54. Bd. of Educ. List 21 (1927), p. 239.
  • 55. Nat. Soc. files.
  • 56. Ed. 7/86.
  • 57. Pub. Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3510], H.C. (1907), lxiii.
  • 58. V.C.H. Mdx. iii. 205.
  • 59. Ed. 7/86.
  • 60. Ed. 7/87.
  • 61. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 62. Ed. 7/86.
  • 63. See below.
  • 64. See p. 88.
  • 65. Section based on information supplied by the Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 66. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 67. See above.
  • 68. Ibid.
  • 69. See p. 109 sub Ickenham County School.
  • 70. Rets. on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224, p. 538 (1819), ix(1).
  • 71. Lake's Uxb. Almanack (1840).
  • 72. Notes penes Uxb. Bor. Council.
  • 73. Mdx. & Bucks. Advertiser, 11 Sept. 1931.
  • 74. See p. 62.
  • 75. Section based on information supplied by the headmasters.
  • 76. Ex inf. Div. Educ. Officer.
  • 77. Ex inf. the sister-in-charge.
  • 78. Hutson, 'Recollections'.
  • 79. See above.
  • 80. Hutson, 'Recollections'; see above, p. 81.
  • 81. M.R.O., E/N.W.1.
  • 82. Mdx. Educ. Cttee. Educ. List (1963).
  • 83. Paragraph based on inf. supplied by the principal.