Great Stanmore: Education

Pages 108-109

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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In 1790 the master of the workhouse was made responsible for teaching paupers' children; £80 was borrowed from the funds of the Sunday school and, by 1798, a schoolroom was built in the workhouse. (fn. 1) In 1819 the rector stated that the poor were not without the means of educating their children. (fn. 2) By 1833 19 boys and 33 girls attended an infant school, supported by school pence and by subscription. (fn. 3)

Great Stanmore infants' school, next to no. 56 Stanmore Hill, was erected in 1845 at the expense of Miss Catherine Elizabeth Martin of Woodlands, who endowed it with £1,000. The building, in an ornamental half-timbered style, consisted of a schoolroom with seating for 100 and an adjoining mistress's house. The average attendance of 70-80 pupils, first recorded in 1871, (fn. 4) varied little in the late 19th century, although the school was enlarged to accommodate 175. (fn. 5) Control was vested in the rector until 1899, when the infants' school was placed under the same management as the National school. (fn. 6) Conditions in the schoolroom and classroom were criticized by the county council's surveyor in 1904 but after repairs (fn. 7) the structure remained in use until 1960, when the pupils moved to the near-by National school building. (fn. 8) They were moved to St. John's school in Green Lane in 1964, soon after the former infants' school had been demolished. (fn. 9)

Great Stanmore National school was founded by 1826, the year of its union with the National Society. (fn. 10) The school, which was supported by voluntary contributions, was attended by 20 boys and 40 girls in 1833, but its site was not recorded. (fn. 11) Land on Stanmore Hill, south of the infants' school, was acquired in 1859 and a new building was opened in 1861. Accommodation comprised a boys' schoolroom, girls' schoolroom, and classroom, with an adjoining house for the teacher. The income came mainly from voluntary contributions, supplemented by school pence, a sermon, and a rent of £30 from a piece of land. Part of the land, which presumably had formed the endowment of the earlier National school, was soon sold to meet building costs, (fn. 12) although an annual grant was paid from 1863. (fn. 13) A new schoolroom was proposed in 1880, when the rector feared the establishment of a school board, (fn. 14) and in 1885-6 the school, which had accommodated 151 pupils, was enlarged to take 287. (fn. 15) Average attendance, however, after rising from 75 in 1861 to 158 by 1882-3, was little affected. (fn. 16) The girls' classroom was pronounced totally unsuitable in 1904, whereupon the trustees agreed to carry out extensive improvements. (fn. 17) In 1906 Great Stanmore National school could accommodate 317 juniors and 171 infants, although the average attendance figures were only 153 and 68; (fn. 18) there was accommodation for 253 juniors and 156 infants between 1919 and 1932 and, after reorganizations, for a total of 261 children in 1936 and 169 in 1938. (fn. 19) In 1960, after protracted negotiations, the juniors were moved to St. John's school, which had been built by the county council but which was to be managed by the London Diocesan Board of Education. When the infants followed in 1964 the new school, north of the junction of Stanmore Hill and Green Lane, became known as St. John's Church of England junior and infants' school. (fn. 20) In 1970 it was full, with 320 pupils, although there were plans to double the accommodation. The old school building and master's house, of red brick with stone dressings, stood empty, awaiting demolition. (fn. 21)

Stanburn school, for juniors and infants, opened in temporary premises in 1936. (fn. 22) A new building in Abercorn Road was opened in 1938, (fn. 23) when it accommodated 250 children. (fn. 24) Four huts, added in 1947, were still used as classrooms in 1970 and children were also taught for a time in a clinic in Honeypot Lane and, from 1949 until 1960, in the Baptist church halls. A block of four more classrooms was built in 1969, for both juniors and infants. In 1970, with 480 juniors and 335 infants on the roll, there were further plans for building. (fn. 25)

Chandos secondary school for boys and Chandos secondary school for girls opened in Thistlecroft Gardens in 1939. Hutted classrooms were added to the girls' school after the Second World War and later a new brick building was shared by both schools. In 1970 there was accommodation for 650 girls and 453 boys. (fn. 26)

Dr. Samuel Parr, after being refused the headmastership of Harrow, opened a rival school in Stanmore Hill in 1771. (fn. 27) Although he began with 60 boys, the venture failed. In 1776 he moved to Colchester (fn. 28) and in 1780 his property at Stanmore, a copyhold known as the Great House, was sold. (fn. 29) In 1794 four pews in the church were temporarily taken away from a Mr. Dwyer, who had used them for many years for his school. (fn. 30) By 1833 there were 6 private schools in the parish, all of them established during the previous 15 years and together containing 86 boys and 27 girls. (fn. 31) In the late 1880s a boys' preparatory school moved from Brighton to Stanmore Park, which had been sold by Lord Wolverton. (fn. 32) A well-known cricketer, the Revd. Vernon Royle, was headmaster from 1901 until his death in 1929. After the school's move to Hertford in 1937 the mansion was demolished. (fn. 33) Alcuin House, a boys' preparatory school, opened in Old Church Lane in 1927 and closed in 1962. (fn. 34) Other private schools between the first and second World Wars included St. Nicholas's preparatory school for girls, in Gordon Avenue in 1926 and at Pynnacles Corner in 1929, and St. Brendan's girls' school, in Marsh Lane from c. 1933 until c. 1958. (fn. 35)


  • 1. M.R.O., D.R.O. 14/C1/2.
  • 2. Educ. of Poor Digest, 555.
  • 3. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 580.
  • 4. Ed. 7/86/20; plan and description penes Harrow Cent. Ref. Libr.
  • 5. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1878 [C. 2342-1], p. 948, H.C. (1878-9), xxiii.
  • 6. Schs. in receipt of Parl. grants, 1899 [Cd. 332], p. 168, H.C. (1900), lxiv.
  • 7. Nat. Soc. file.
  • 8. Ex inf. the headmaster, St. John's school.
  • 9. Hendon & Finchley Times, 19 June 1964; ex inf. the headmaster. See below.
  • 10. National Society, 17th Annual Report (1828), 80.
  • 11. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 580.
  • 12. Ed. 7/86/20.
  • 13. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1862-3, p. 445, H.C. (1863), xlvii.
  • 14. Nat. Soc. file.
  • 15. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1884-5 [C. 4483-1], p. 593, H.C. (1884-5), xxiii; ibid. 1885-6 [C. 4849-1], p. 556, H.C. (1886), xxiv.
  • 16. Ed. 7/86/20; Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1882-3 [C. 3706-1], p. 696, H.C. (1883), xxv.
  • 17. Nat. Soc. file.
  • 18. Public Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3510], p. 447, H.C. (1907), lxiii.
  • 19. Bd. of Educ., List 21 (H.M.S.O. 1919, 1922, 1927, 1932, 1936, 1938).
  • 20. Hendon & Finchley Times, 25 Mar. 1960, 19 June 1964.
  • 21. Ex inf. the headmaster, St John's sch.
  • 22. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 23. Bd. of Educ., List 21 (H.M.S.O. 1936).
  • 24. Ibid. (1938).
  • 25. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 26. Ex inf. the headmistress and the headmaster.
  • 27. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. & Wales, x(5), 629.
  • 28. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 244-5.
  • 29. Davenport MSS., Gt. Stan. ct. roll, Nov. 1780.
  • 30. M.R.O., D.R.O. 14/C1/2.
  • 31. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 580.
  • 32. See p. 99.
  • 33. Druett, Stanmores and Harrow Weald, 203, 206-7; Who Was Who, 1929-40, 1178.
  • 34. Harrow Gaz. 26 July 1962.
  • 35. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1926, 1929); Kelly's Dir. Edgware (1933); Kemp's Dir. Harrow (1958).