Acton: Education

Pages 42-49

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.

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Acton had two schoolmasters in 1628. (fn. 1) In 1637 Viscountess Conway bequeathed a rent charge for teaching six poor children at 1s. a week, which was paid out regularly by the churchwardens until 1816 and thereafter into the National school funds. (fn. 2) The rector, William Antrobus, in 1805 offered to assist the foundation of a school for the poor; (fn. 3) nothing further was mentioned, although a school for girls was said to have been established in 1808 under the auspices of the rector and supported by subscriptions. (fn. 4) In 1815 a special vestry meeting considered building a National school for 50 boys and 50 girls, supported by subscriptions and supervised by a committee of 14; (fn. 5) the round house and coal house by the north-west corner of the church were to be rebuilt, next to a new schoolroom. (fn. 6) In 1816 the school was formally united with the National Society (fn. 7) and by 1819 it had c. 110 pupils, taught by a salaried mistress with a house and supported entirely by subscriptions. The poor were said to possess sufficient means of educating their children in 1819, when there were also two boarding schools for tradesmen's children and two or three other small schools. (fn. 8)

In 1833 there were c. 100 pupils at the National school and c. 90, all fee paying, at four other day schools. There were also three boarding schools, one for 80 boys and the other two containing 50 girls, also supported by fees. (fn. 9) A separate infants' school was built by the parish in 1837, (fn. 10) and in 1843, in addition to the National school with 108 pupils and the infants' with 84, there was a common day school for 20 boys, besides three dame schools containing 35 pupils, two of them run by dissenters, for which 4d. to 6d. a week was charged. (fn. 11) One was probably a forerunner of the Wesleyan girls' school opened in the Steyne in 1846. (fn. 12) Poor children, regardless of religion, were also taught by the nuns of the Sacred Heart at Berrymead Priory between 1842 and 1850. (fn. 13)

Anglican education increased with the new building of the National school in 1853 and 1862, and the opening of National schools at East Acton in 1862, Acton Green in 1863, and South Acton, All Saints', in 1868, while Turnham Green's Roman Catholic school moved to Acton Lane in 1864. (fn. 14) By 1870 there were eight elementary schools: four connected with the Church of England, the infants' forming part of Acton National school, two Wesleyan, one Roman Catholic, and one of no stated denomination. Five were public schools, secured by deeds and attended by 398 boys and 303 girls, and two were 'adventure' schools, of which one had 46 boys and 15 girls. (fn. 15) The four National schools, Turnham Green Roman Catholic, and the Wesleyan day school were all recognized as efficient in 1871, and it was considered that the total of 1,381 places sufficed. (fn. 16) Two evening schools were started in 1874, run as public elementary schools for boys, in Acton and South Acton. (fn. 17)

In 1875 a school board was requested by the managers of the National schools, whose threatened closure, on grounds of expense, would have lost 1,400 out of 1,800 places. (fn. 18) The board, with seven members, took over at the end of 1875, (fn. 19) but met much opposition, because it rented church schools for a nominal sum and allowed the school managers to control the premises until 9.45 a.m., in order that religious instruction could be given to pupils arriving early. Many nonconformists claimed that schools maintained from rates ought to be unsectarian, and the inspector in 1877 thought the practice likely to provoke conflicts of interest over financing between school managers and the board, who were often the same personnel. (fn. 20) Nevertheless the arrangement continued as long as the buildings were required.

The first board school was opened in 1880, with a second in 1882 and a third not until 1891. The board also took over the Wesleyan school in 1895 and opened a new temporary school in 1898. A persistent shortage of places was relieved by using nonconformist churches and mission rooms. Under the Education Act, 1902, Acton became a Part III authority and the U.D.C.'s education committee replaced the school board. (fn. 21) Four permanent schools and one temporary one had been opened by 1909, with another permanent school replacing the temporary one in 1912. In 1909 the council stopped negotiations for another new school on complaints of extravagance in building. (fn. 22)

An intermediate evening school was held at Priory school, with 119 students in 1902, (fn. 23) and from 1905 a central school provided higher elementary education, for which children had had to go outside the parish. (fn. 24) In 1906 the county grammar school for boys was opened, in which Acton boys made up a third. (fn. 25) A scheme was drawn up under the Act of 1918 to improve secondary and technical instruction, besides reducing elementary classes to 45 and abolishing temporary and older accommodation. In 1919 it was estimated that more than 3,000 additional places in elementary and central schools were needed for the next three years. Secondary provision was poor and many older pupils had to go outside the parish or to private schools. More than half of the secondary places in Acton were filled by children from outside. (fn. 26) Although the plans for new central schools were not carried out immediately, the sites chosen were eventually used in 1939 and 1955.

From 1924 the central school took seniors only, a new school being opened for the juniors. By 1930 reorganization into senior and junior schools was in progress, in accordance with the Hadow Report. Five schools were opened, including one completely new junior school, and three old ones closed. Montessori methods were adopted for the infants' classes and practice was afforded for Montessori students. (fn. 27) By 1936 the borough had seven senior schools formed from the central and elementary schools, although no new buildings were provided.

Acton became an 'excepted district', responsible for primary and secondary education, under the Act of 1944. By 1952 there were eight primary and one voluntary aided all-age and six secondary schools. Two were grammar schools, the county school for boys and Haberdashers' Aske's, a direct grant school, for girls, and a third, Acton central, was selective. (fn. 28) A new secondary modern school was opened in 1955 to replace an old senior school and another in 1957 to replace the central school. (fn. 29) Reorganization in 1961 (fn. 30) left only two secondary modern schools. In 1963 a voluntary aided Roman Catholic secondary modern school was opened. (fn. 31) Few changes were made in primary education, the two new schools after the Second World War being a reopened Church of England school and a voluntary aided Roman Catholic school.

From 1965 Acton formed part of Ealing L.B., which reorganized all its schools in a three-tier comprehensive scheme in 1974. (fn. 32) In 1979 Acton had 8 first, 5 middle, 2 combined, and 4 high schools.

Public schools. (fn. 33)

Basic historical information and numbers on the roll for existing schools have been supplied by head teachers. Except where otherwise stated, the remaining historical information and accommodation and average attendance figures have been taken from: files on Church of England schools at the National Society; P.R.O., ED 7/87-8; Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1859-60 [2681], H.C. (1860), liv(1); 1865-6 [3666], H.C. (1866), xxvii; 1866-7 [3882], H.C. (1867), xxii; 1870-1 [C. 406], H.C. (1871), xxii; 1871-2 [C. 601], H.C. (1872), xxii; 1878 [C. 2342-1], H.C. (1878-9), xxiii; 1880-1 [C. 2948-1], H.C. (1881), xxxii; 1882-3 [C. 3706-1], H.C. (1883), xxv; 1884-5 [C. 4483-1], H.C. (1885), xxiv; 1885 [C. 4849], H.C. (1886), xxiv; 1888 [C. 5804-1], H.C. (1899), xxix; Return of Schs. 1893 [C. 7529], H.C. (1894), lxv; 1899 [Cd. 315], H.C. (1900), lxv(2); Returns relating to Elem. Educ. [C. 7529], H.C. (1894), lxv; Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants, 1898 [C. 9454], H.C. (1899), lxxiv; 1899 [Cd. 332], H.C. (1900), lxiv; List of Schs. under Admin. of Bd. 1903 [Cd. 2011], H.C. (1904), lxxv; 1905 [Cd. 3182], H.C. (1906), lxxxvi; Return of Non-Provided Schs. H.C. 178-XX (1906), lxxxviii; Public Elem. Schs. 1902-3 [Cd. 1490], H.C. (1903), li; 1906 [Cd. 3510], H.C. (1907), lxiii; 1907 [Cd. 3901], H.C. (1908), lxxxiv; Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1919-38 (H.M.S.O.); Mdx. C.C. List of Educ. Svces. (1957, 1963, 1964); Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1852, 1862, 1890, 1908, 1926); Kelly's Dir. Lond. (1880-98); Acton, Official Guide (1936 and later edns.).

The following abbreviations are used: a.a., average attendance; accn., accommodation; amalg., amalgamated; B, boy, boys; bd., board; bldg., building; C.E., Church of England; Cong., Congregationalist; demol., demolished; dept., department; educ., education; G, girl, girls; ho., house; J, JB, JG, JM, junior, junior boys, girls, mixed; I, infant, infants; M, mixed; mod., modern; Nat., National; parl., parliamentary; R.C., Roman Catholic; reorg., reorganized; roll, numbers on roll; S, SB, SG, SM, senior, senior boys, girls, mixed; sch., school; sec., secondary; tech., technical; temp., temporary; vol., voluntary; Wes., Wesleyan. The word 'school' is to be understood after each named entry.

Acton County Grammar, Gunnersbury Lane. First purpose-built county grammar sch. in Mdx., opened 1906 for 200 B aged 10 to 19 on 4 a. of Woodlands Ave. site, Acton hill. (fn. 34) 240 by 1908, one third from Acton. Financed by fees, Educ. Bd.'s grant, and Mdx. C.C., and managed by local higher educ. committee of C.C. Commercial training, besides arts and manual subjects, for London University and London Chamber of Commerce. Two-storeyed wing added c. 1934-6. Larger sch. built 1939 at Heathfield Lodge, Gunnersbury Lane; Woodlands bldgs. later annexe of tech. college. (fn. 35) Admitted G c. 1958 and fully co-educational by 1966. Comprehensive, renamed Reynolds high, from 1974. (fn. 36) Roll 1979: 1,040 M. (fn. 37)

Acton Green C.E. I. Opened 1863 as Nat. sch. in ho. in Middle Street, later Gladstone Rd., and financed by sch. pence and rector. 1864 a.a. 56 I. (fn. 38) New sch. built 1870 on site adjoining St. Alban's church, financed by parl. grants and sch. pence. 1870 a.a. 127 M. Rented by sch. bd. 1876. (fn. 39) 1878 accn. 206 M. 1888 a.a. 193 M. JMI by 1891. Replaced by Beaumont Pk. (q.v.). (fn. 40)

Acton Green Middle, see Rothschild first and middle.

Acton Nat., see St. Mary's C.E.

Acton Wells First And Middle, School Rd., Victoria Rd. Opened 1909 on 4½-a. site (fn. 41) for 358 SM, 358 JM, 408 I, replacing Willesden Junction temp. (q.v.). 1919 a.a. 324 M, 145 I. 1927 accn. 496 M, 400 I; a.a. 469 M, 255 I. Reorg. between 1932 and 1936 for 320 SM, 364 JM, 364 I. 1938 a.a. 211 SM, 360 JM, 158 I. After 1945 SM formed Acton Wells sec. mod., which closed by 1955. JMI became combined first and middle sch. 1974. Roll 1979: 310 M. (fn. 42)

All Saints' C.E., Strafford Rd. Opened 1868 as Nat. sch. by vicar of South Acton, with 40 I. Financed by sch. pence (2d.), parl. grants, and vol. contributions. 1870 a.a. 92 I. Schoolroom added 1874 and adjoining sch. for 196 B opened 1875. Rented by sch. bd. 1876. 1877 I sch. accn. 100 G, 165 I; a.a. 166 G, 237 I. (fn. 43) Some pupils attended Osborne Rd. (q.v.) from 1880. 1888 a.a. 396 BGI. 1898 accn. 494; a.a. 414. Closed 1904. (fn. 44)

Beaumont Park, Acton Lane. Opened 1891 for 300 B, 300 G, 428 I. 1891 a.a. 200 B, 225 G, 157 I. Enlarged 1898 for 540 B, 540 G, 548 I. Temp. accn. for 105 B and 60 G in iron bldg. added by 1906. 1906 a.a. 586 B, 546 G, 514 I. Temp. accn. 1911 for additional 85 G in 3 rooms rented from Acton Green Wes. mission. (fn. 45) 1919 a.a. 416 B, 450 G, 328 I. 1927 a.a. 366 B, 317 G, 279 I. Reorg. between 1927 and 1932 for 450 SG, 450 JG, 400 I. 1938 a.a. 123 SG, 193 JG, 164 I. Closed after Second World War. Bldgs. used by Priory G sec. mod. until 1961, by Cardinal Newman R.C. sec. mod. 1963-76, and Acton Green middle from 1976.

Berrymede First, formerly I, see Osborne Rd.

Berrymede Junior B, see South Acton B.

Berrymede Middle, Osborne Rd., South Acton. Opened 1931 for 542 JG from Osborne Rd. I (q.v.), using upper floor of Osborne Rd. bldg. 1938 a.a. 338 JG. Amalg. with Berrymede JG 1961 (see South Acton B) to form Berrymede JM in same bldgs. Middle sch., occupying both bldgs. in Osborne Rd., from 1974. Roll 1979: 300 M.

Bromyard M Sec. Mod., see Faraday high.

Cardinal Newman R.C. High, Creffield Rd. Opened 1963 as mixed vol. aided R.C. sec. mod. sch. in former Beaumont Pk. sch., taking S pupils from St. Mary's R.C., Turnham Green (q.v.). Comprehensive high sch. from 1974. Moved 1976 to former Haberdashers' Aske's bldg. in Creffield Rd., (fn. 46) which had been extensively modernized. Roll 1979: 570 M.

Central, Shakespeare Rd. Opened 1905 for 340 SM, 340 JM, 403 I, with initial intake of 242 SM, 281 JM, 190 I, inc. pupils from Gunnersbury Lane (see Wes. day). (fn. 47) Weekly fees 6d. (SM), 4d. (JM), 3d. (I); one tenth of SM places free. (fn. 48) SM fees abolished 1919. (fn. 49) SM received higher grade instruction, although application for higher elementary status withdrawn on change of age structure. (fn. 50) 1908 accn. for JM increased to 400 a.a. 244 SM, 371 JM, 323 I. 1910 accn. 497 SM, 497 JM, 410 I, children over 16 being excluded. (fn. 51) 1919 a.a. 398 SM, 452 JM, 311 I. Reorg. 1924 when JMI formed Derwentwater (q.v.). 1927 accn. 480 SM, a.a. 408 SM. 1938 a.a. 365 SM. After 1945 became a selective mixed sec. mod. Closed 1957 and replaced by the Elms (see Twyford high).

Derwentwater First And Middle, Shakespeare Rd. Opened 1924 for JM and I depts. of central sch. (q.v.), on same site. 1927 accn. 441 JM, 350 I; a.a. 417 JM, 299 I. 1938 a.a. 330 JM, 278 I. First and middle schs. from 1974. Rolls 1979: 292 M and 365 M.

East Acton C.E. First, East Acton Lane. Opened 1862 as Nat. sch. for 39 I in converted cottage under managers of St. Mary's C.E. Financed by parl. grants, vol. contributions, rent for a 'small bit of ground', and sch. pence (1d.). Adjoining ho. for teacher. New sch. for 92 M, 80 I built 1870 on land granted by Goldsmiths' Co. of Lond. (fn. 52) with aid of parl. bldg. grant. 1871 a.a. 37 I. 1910 accn. 64 M, 80 I. (fn. 53) 1919 a.a. 77 MI. Reorg. 1926 as East Acton J for 250 JMI, with roll of 137. Sch. used for demonstrating Montessori methods, intro. 1929. (fn. 54) Closed 1931 and replaced by John Perryn I (q.v.). Reopened 1950 for I. Extra accn. for 4 classes in huts. First sch. from 1974. Roll 1979: 177 M.

Elms, Sec. Mod., see Twyford high.

Faraday High, Bromyard Ave. Opened 1955 as Bromyard M sec. mod., with pupils from John Perryn sec. mod. Reorg. 1961 as Faraday sec. mod. with pupils from Priory schs., and new bldg. added. Comprehensive, renamed Faraday high, from 1974. Roll 1979: 730 M.

Gunnersbury Lane, see Wesleyan day.

John Perryn First And Middle, Long Drive, East Acton. Opened 1931 for 648 M, 336 I; 355 pupils from East Acton, Acton Wells, Derwentwater, and other schs. (fn. 55) 1932 a.a. 491 M, 325 I. Reorg. between 1932 and 1936 for 360 SM, 288 JM, 336 I. 1938 a.a. 162 SM, 217 JM, 225 I. First 4 I classes on Montessori lines. (fn. 56) SM formed M sec. mod., replaced 1955 by Bromyard (see Faraday high). First and middle schs. from 1974. Rolls 1979: 109 M and 322 M.

Osborne Rd. I, South Acton. First sch. to be opened by sch. bd. 1880, on south side Osborne Rd., (fn. 57) for 337 I. Pupils from All Saints' (q.v.). (fn. 58) Sch. pence (2d.). 1880-95 a.a. 170, 1888 222. Temp. bldg. 1895 until sch. enlarged. Original bldg. enlarged 1897 and 1898. (fn. 59) 1898 a.a. 466 I. 1899 accn. 564 G, 664 I. From 1905 renamed South Acton G and I. (fn. 60) 1927 accn. 542 G, 450 I; a.a. 423 G, 390 I. Reorg. 1931 as Berrymede J sch., later middle (q.v.) on upper floor and Berrymede I for 450 on ground floor. 1938 a.a. 241 I. Became Berrymede first sch. from 1974 and moved to new bldg. in Park Rd. North. Roll 1979: 252 M.

Priory First, formerly also B and G, Acton Lane. Opened 1882 for 360 B, 300 G. 1888 a.a. 524 G. Sch. pence (2d. and 3d.). I shared G accn. until extension built (fn. 61) to include large central hall, seating 600, also used for public assemblies. Temp. bldgs. for tech. educ., erected by Mdx. C.C., in grounds until 1894. (fn. 62) 1893 accn. 1,025 BGI. Extension built 1896 for B, including offices for Acton sch. bd. (fn. 63) 1899 accn. 1,447 BGI, a.a. 1,177. 1903 accn. 550 B, 542 G, 550 I. 1906 a.a. 576 B, 465 G, 455 I. 1927 accn. 500 B, 499 G, 400 I; a.a. 402 B, 383 G, 306 I. Reorg. between 1927 and 1932 for 500 SB, 499 SG, 400 I. 1938 a.a. 272 SB, 251 SG, 221 I. After 1945 SG formed Priory G sec. mod. and moved to Beaumont Pk. SB formed Priory B sec. mod. in original bldg. Priory G amalg. with Elms sec. mod. (see Twyford high) and Priory B with Faraday sec. mod. (q.v.) 1961. Priory I became first sch. 1974, occupying half of Priory bldgs., with youth centre in other half. Roll 1979: 180 M.

Reynolds High, see Acton county grammar.

Rothschild First and Middle, Acton Green. Temp. iron bldg. opened 1904 as Rothschild Rd. sch. for 280 I to relieve Beaumont Pk. (q.v.). 1906 a.a. 156 I. From 1909 accn. 295. 1912 a.a. 254. Closed 1912 and replaced by Rothschild sch., built on verandah system, (fn. 64) for 545 JM and 400 I on same site, taking many pupils from Beaumont Pk. and Southfield Rd. (q.v.). 1919 a.a. 438 JM, 344 I. Reorg. between 1927 and 1932 for 450 JB, 400 I. 1938 a.a. 193 JB, 224 I. After 1945 reorg. as Rothschild JM and Rothschild I on same site. Two classroom huts built in playground 1967. JM and I amalg. 1973 but reorg. separately as Rothschild first and middle schs. 1974. Middle sch. renamed Acton Green middle 1975 and moved to Beaumont Pk. bldgs. 1976. Acton Green roll 1979: 190 M. Rothschild first roll 1979: 170 M.

St. Mary's C.E., Oldham's Terrace, High Street. Day sch. for poor children of parish joined Nat. Soc. 1816, when 100-20 BG taught by mistress with salary and ho. (fn. 65) Schoolroom built opposite almshouses in Steyne. (fn. 66) Financed entirely by annual subscriptions 1819. (fn. 67) Separate sch. for I built 1837 at north end Oldham's Terrace. 1846-7 a.a. 43 B, 40 G, 79 I. Financed by subscriptions and sch. pence (1d.). (fn. 68) New sch. for BG, with master's ho., built 1853 at south end Oldham's Terrace, with Nat. Soc. and parl. bldg. grants. Sch. pence (1d.). 1854 a.a. 78 B, 41 G. 1857 a.a. 86 I. G moved into new extension built 1862. (fn. 69) 1870 a.a. 325 BGI. Rented by sch. bd. 1876. 1878 accn. 496 BGI, a.a. 392 BGI. Sch. pence raised 1883 to 6d. for B and 4d. for G. (fn. 70) 1888 a.a. 412 BGI. 1906 accn. 204 B, 155 G, 163 I; a.a. 148 B, 134 G, 174 I. 1919 accn. 310 B, 129 G, 142 I; a.a. 224 B, 110 G, 136 I. BG bldg. sold to U.D.C. 1926. (fn. 71) Reorg. 1926 for 184 JM, 122 I. 1932 a.a. 233 JMI. Closed 1932. I bldg. housed Acton Wells special sch. (q.v.) 1926-72. B and G bldg. replaced by labour exchange.

St. Mary's R. C., Turnham Green. Opened 1853 in Chiswick by parish priest for BGI, financed by sch. pence (1d.) and priest. (fn. 72) 1864 a.a. 27 B, 23 G, 25 I. New sch. built 1864 for 325 M in Acton Lane opposite Gladstone Rd. junction. Vol. aided by 1893, financed by parl. grants, endowment producing £44 14s. a year, and vol. contributions. 1893 a.a. 165 M. Trust for educ. and religious purposes created 1902. 1906 accn. 251 M, 74 I; a.a. 210 M, 67 I. 1909 accn. 123 M, 90 I, and temp. accn. for 130. (fn. 73) 1927 a.a. 284 MI. Single dept. sch. from 1932. 1938 accn. 236 M, 91 I; a.a. 229 MI. By 1952 mixed vol. sch. for all ages. S pupils formed Cardinal Newman R.C. sec. mod. (q.v.) from 1963, when JMI moved to new bldg. in Turnham Green. (fn. 74) Acton Lane bldg. demol., site forming grounds of Acton Green middle sch.

St. Vincent's R.C. First and Middle, Pierrepoint Rd. Opened as private day sch. (fn. 75) but vol. aided primary sch. with intake of 350 JMI from 1963, when larger bldg. needed. First and middle sch. from 1974, with additional accn. in two huts. Roll 1979: 445 M.

South Acton B, Osborne Rd. Opened 1904 (fn. 76) on north side of rd., opposite I sch., for 360 SB, 360 JB, taking pupils and staff from All Saints'. Manual centre in bldg. in grounds. (fn. 77) 1906 a.a. 474 SB, JB. 1908 a.a. 303 SB, 231 JB. 1919 accn. 400 SB, 360 JB; a.a. 335 SB, 261 JB. 1927 a.a. 255 SB, 249 JB. Closed 1931 and replaced by Berrymede JB for 640 in same bldg. 1938 a.a. 353 JB. Amalg. with Berrymede JG (q.v.) 1961.

Southfield First And Middle, Bedford Pk. Opened 1906 as Southfield Rd. sch. for 378 SM, 378 JM, 383 I on separate floors of bldg. on 1½-a. site. I from Beaumont Pk., SM from Beaumont Pk. and Cobbold Rd., Hammersmith. (fn. 78) 1909 accn. 419 SM, 381 JM, 400 I. 1919 a.a. 321 SM, 336 JM, 314 I; accn. increased 1919 to 415 JM, 1922 to 451 SM. 1927 a.a. 357 SM, 281 JM, 219 I. Reorg. 1932 as Southfield sch. for 415 SB, 382 JM, 350 I. 1938 a.a. 135 SB, 285 JM, 216 I. Reorg. after 1945 for JMI only. First and middle schs. from 1974. Rolls 1979: 122 M and 225 M.

Turnham Green R. C., see St. Mary's R.C.

Twyford High, Twyford Crescent. Opened 1957 as the Elms mixed sec. mod. in former home of Wegg family, (fn. 79) to which block was added. Pupils from central sch. and new 6th-form intake. Roll 1957: 464 SM. (fn. 80) Amalg. 1961 with Priory G sec. mod. and Acton sec. tech. to form new '7-year' sec. mod. in Elms bldgs., renamed Twyford sch. Extensions inc. teaching block early 1960s, tech. block 1971, and c. 15 temp. classrooms. Comprehensive high sch. from 1974, with peak attendance 1,100. Roll 1979: c. 800 M.

Wesleyan Day, Gunnersbury Lane. Opened 1846 for 50 G in ho. in the Steyne, rented by Thomas Farmer of Gunnersbury Ho. and managed by him in connexion with Wesleyan Normal Training Institution, Westminster Financed by Farmer and sch. pence; parl. grant for teacher from 1853. Sunday and day sch., with teacher's ho. built 1857 with new Wes. chapel east side Gunnersbury Lane. 58 pupils 1863. (fn. 81) 1871 a.a. 77 M. 1878 accn. 110 M, a.a. 103 M. 1893 accn. 136 M. Rented by sch. bd. 1895 as Gunnersbury Lane bd. sch. (fn. 82) Transferred 1901 to temp. accn. in Cong. Churchfield hall, Churchfield Rd. (fn. 83) 1903 accn. 357 M, a.a. 199. 1905 a.a. 87 SM, 181 JM, 96 I, when replaced by central sch. (fn. 84)

West Acton First, Noel Rd. Opened 1937 for 300 I, with full time nursery class for 30. 1938 a.a. 204 I. First sch. from 1974. Additional accn. in huts and open-plan bldgs. 1970s. Roll 1979: 196 M.

Willesden Junction Temp., Railway Cottages, Old Oak Lane. Opened 1898 for MI in iron bldg. erected by bd. behind St. Luke's mission church, leased from L. & N.W.R. (fn. 85) 1899 accn. 213 M, a.a. 193 M. Church leased during sch. hours from 1905 for additional accn. (fn. 86) 1906 accn. 123 M, 90 I; a.a. 127 M, 101 I. 1909 a.a. 198 M, 95 I. Replaced 1909 by Acton Wells (q.v.).

Special school.

Acton Wells, School Rd., Victoria Rd. Opened 1915 for 65 mentally deficient children, using 2nd floor of Acton Wells council sch. Attendance 1915: 45. Moved to St. Mary's C.E. I sch. bldg., Oldham's Terrace, 1926. Roll 1949: 40, from Acton, Ealing, and Harlesden, to age 16. Roll 1972: 39. (fn. 87) Replaced by Castlebar sch., Ealing, 1972. (fn. 88)

Technical and further education.

The county council provided technical education at Acton and Chiswick polytechnic (fn. 89) from 1899, to which Acton local board contributed. Designed to meet the needs of local industry, branch classes were held in Acton at the Priory schools from 1900, with 173 students in that year, and also at the central and county schools by 1911, when the total attendance in Acton was 360. (fn. 90) Acton school board, and later the technical committee of the U.D.C., also ran evening continuation schools from the end of the 19th century, for boys and girls who had left elementary school.

A junior technical school was also started, using the polytechnic until Acton technical college was opened in 1929, when it was transferred there. (fn. 91) By the 1930s it was run as a secondary technical school, taking boys at 13 years for 3year courses leading to apprenticeships in engineering. In 1938-9 there were 312 students. (fn. 92) In 1958-9 the technical school, much reduced, moved to Acton Wells secondary modern school (fn. 93) and from 1961 it formed part of Twyford school. (fn. 94)

Acton technical college, originally 'institute', was built in 1928 on the site of Grove House, High Street, by the county council, as the first of seven colleges to expand further education in Middlesex. (fn. 95) Opened officially in 1929, it provided evening classes in science, engineering, and building trades, which had outgrown the accommodation at Acton and Chiswick polytechnic, and housed a junior technical college in the day time. In 1931 it was decided to concentrate at Acton all the more advanced further education in the county, at that time comprising courses for Higher National Certificates and the Intermediate examinations for the external London degree. Courses to final level for the B.Sc. in engineering and science subjects were soon introduced, with management subjects to gain membership of professional institutes. The college was so crowded that local schools were used by 1931 and extensions to the original buildings were made in 1932 and 1937-9. In 1939 the former county school in Woodlands Avenue was acquired. There were 3,912 students in 1938-9: 163 senior day, 147 part-time day, and 3,602 evening and weekend students. After D. Napier & Sons began to send apprentices to the college in 1936, the number of students on day release from employment rose to 321 in 1940-1 and 667 in 1944-5, increasing more rapidly thereafter.

By 1949 there were 410 full-time and 1,368 part-time day students, most of them from outside Acton. Sandwich courses started in 1955, by which date there were 100 full-time and 250 part-time teachers for nearly 5,000 students, more than half of them being evening students, one third being on day release schemes, and one tenth on full-time day courses.

In 1956 it was decided to do all the advanced teaching in new buildings in Woodlands Avenue, near the former county school, and to create two separate institutions. The Woodlands classes were formed into a regional college of technology, renamed Brunel college (below). The High Street buildings housed a local technical college, which continued with 254 full-time and 1,924 part-time students in 1957-8 and mainly undertook courses for City and Guilds certificates and the General Certificate of Education. Although it had lost its most highly qualified staff and its pre-eminence among Middlesex colleges, the college still used the former county school and acquired a former laundry building in Winchester Street in 1968, besides a disused annexe of Ealing Mead school in 1977. There were 642 full-time and 3,213 part-time students in 1978-9, when there were courses for certificates of the Business Education and Technical Education councils and in computing, mathematics, and the sciences.

Brunel college of technology opened in 1957 with departments of management and production engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics, electronics, and electrical and mechanical engineering from Acton technical college, and became a college of advanced technology in 1962. Its buildings in Woodlands Avenue, begun in 1951 for the technical college's science departments but not completed until 1957, housed 1,200 and were later extended. Engineering courses were still taught at the technical college in High Street, plans for another block at Woodlands being superseded by the college's move in 1965 to Uxbridge common. Brunel became a university in 1967.

Thomas Huxley college opened in 1967 as Acton college of education, to prepare mature students for teaching, and was housed in the town hall. The number of students quickly increased to 300. Its name was changed in 1971, to honour the Ealing-born scientist, and the college moved into the former Brunel building in Woodlands Avenue in 1973. There were courses leading to the Certificate of Education and the B.Ed. degree of London University, besides in-service courses for teachers in west London, mainly in mathematics. The college closed in 1980, after the government had decided to cease teacher training there and Ealing L.B. had abandoned plans to merge it with Ealing technical college, which housed some of its own departments in the same building. (fn. 96)

Private schools.

The Society for Maintaining and Educating Poor Orphans of the Clergy purchased the copyhold later called Orger House in 1804, for a school, which was transferred from Thirsk (Yorks. N.R.). (fn. 97) There were 50 boys in 1809 (fn. 98) and Dr. Bell's system, the basis of the National Society's system, was adopted in 1811. (fn. 99) The school was moved to St. John's Wood, Marylebone, in 1812. (fn. 100)

A boarding school used the former assembly rooms, Acton wells, by 1816, (fn. 101) and in 1819 there were two boarding schools in the parish for the children of tradesmen, and two or three other small schools. (fn. 102) They may have been the schools existing in 1826, which included two boarding schools and two preparatory schools in Acton and a preparatory school in East Acton. (fn. 103) In 1833 feepaying pupils were about twice as numerous as the children at the National School. There were four day schools with c. 90 children, a boys' boarding school with c. 80, and two girls' boarding schools with 50 altogether. (fn. 104)

Felix Mullens ran a boys' boarding and day school by 1826 at Orger House, probably the boarding school which had 80 boys in 1833. (fn. 105) His schoolroom was used for services in 1836-7, while the parish church was being altered. (fn. 106) Mullens was still there in 1842, (fn. 107) but by 1851 had been succeeded by George Smalley, who was boarding 21 boys aged 7 to 14 years. (fn. 108) He was succeeded by a Frenchman, Stanislas Bard, who had run a day preparatory school in 1832, an academy in 1845, and a mixed boarding school in High Street in 1851. Orger House was burned down shortly before 1858, when the school apparently did not reopen. (fn. 109)

Frances Beechey ran a ladies' day and boarding school in 1826 and 1832, described as a boarding and finishing school in 1828 when it was at Acton House, West Acton. (fn. 110) Her school near the Rectory apparently had c. 40 boys in 1832. (fn. 111) It had probably closed by 1845, although Miss Beechey was described as an infants' school mistress in Gunnersbury Lane in 1851. In 1832 Mary Ann Fowler ran a day school at the Manor House, described as a seminary in 1845, when Ann Fowler also had a school; both had closed by 1851. (fn. 112) Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart from France opened their first convent in England at Berrymead Priory in 1842, where they opened a private boarding school for Roman Catholic girls and a free day school for the poor. Both convent and school moved to Roehampton (Surr.) in 1850. (fn. 113)

A commercial school was run by Frederick Geary at Acton House, Acton Vale, in 1851, when two other schoolmistresses, a French and dancing teacher, and a teacher of classics and mathematics also lived in the parish. (fn. 114) In the late 19th century the number of private schools increased: there were 12 in 1873 and 15 in 1890, 9 of them ladies' schools, (fn. 115) but most were short lived.

Acton Collegiate school, day and boarding for boys, was established in 1864 by Henry Mayner Coules, who had an academy in Mill Hill Road in 1873. (fn. 116) In the 1870s the school occupied Bank House, which had been a girls' industrial school c. 1865, (fn. 117) but it had moved to no. 6 Apsley Villas, Horn Lane, by 1886. (fn. 118) Coules offered mathematics, modern languages, and science, and training for the universities. The school was taken over between 1926 and 1928 by Miss C. C. Coules, who had run a ladies' school at no. 1 Apsley Villas in 1890, and had closed by 1940. (fn. 119)

Queen's College school was started in 1871 by Mary Pierce and was at no. 1 Apsley Villas, Horn Lane, in 1890 and at Shalimar, Pembridge Road, by 1901. At one time the largest private girls' school in Acton, it included a kindergarten and prepared girls for public examinations, besides offering science and cookery. It closed between 1905 and 1911. (fn. 120)

Springfield college was a boys' boarding and day school run by Henry Waymouth, who opened a collegiate school at nos. 8 and 9 Apsley Terrace, Horn Lane, c. 1889, moving to Hill House, Acton hill, by 1901. The school provided a commercial education and training for public school and other examinations. After its closure, between 1906 and 1911, the buildings were demolished. (fn. 121)

Acton Commercial college, a boys' boarding school, at Grove House, High Street, from 1896, was run by E. C. Sunnock, a trustee of Acton Methodist church. It provided preparatory classes for young boys and courses for careers in business, the civil service, and engineering. By 1911 the school had been taken over by John Mackay, under whom it moved to the Mall, Ealing, as Ealing college in 1925, (fn. 122) Grove House being sold to Acton U.D.C. and demolished. (fn. 123)

Helen Hopkins ran a girls' day school at no. 28 Churchfield Road West by 1890, which closed c. 1932. (fn. 124) Leith House, no. 10 Burlington Gardens, was a girls' day and boarding school run by Alice Mackerness in 1890. It was taken over by Mrs. Stredder by 1901, when it also had a kindergarten, and prepared girls for examinations. By 1914 Mrs. Stredder had moved her school to no. 102 Goldsmith Avenue. After the First World War it was known as Shirley House school for girls, with a preparatory department for boys. Under Miss M. Stredder in 1939, it had closed by 1955. (fn. 125)

Haberdashers' Aske's school for girls, financed by Robert Aske's trust, was the most important girls' school in Acton, where it moved from Hoxton in 1898. Temporary premises were used (fn. 126) until new buildings, designed by Henry Stock for 350 girls, were opened in Creffield Road on the Springfield Park estate in 1901. Girls were taken from the age of 8, later 5, and prepared for university. The upper school also had a secretarial and business training department. A new wing was built in 1910 and accommodation increased to 550 places by 1924, and 600 by 1936. Playing fields of 6 a. near West Acton station had been acquired by 1936. (fn. 127) After the Second World War, the school became a direct grant secondary school for girls and in 1974 it moved to Elstree (Herts.), (fn. 128) its building being used by Cardinal Newman high school from 1976. (fn. 129)

The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul ran a day and kindergarten school at nos. 3 and 5 (later 45 and 47) Avenue Road in 1902. Convent and school moved to no. 9 Rosemont Road in 1930 and expanded into the adjoining premises at no. 1 Pierrepoint Road in 1959. Girls were taught to the age of 16. (fn. 130) In 1964, when more accommodation was needed, the school became a voluntary aided primary school. (fn. 131)

A few new schools, mainly day and boarding schools for girls, were later added to those that had survived from before the First World War, and a very few were recognized by the L.E.A. in the 1930s. The principal ones were East Acton House high school, East Acton Lane, started c. 1928 but closed by 1939 when the house was demolished, Lancaster House school at nos. 21 and 23 Cumberland Park, started by 1928 and still there in 1940 but closed by the early 1950s, and York House school, Grafton Road, which was recognized by the L.E.A. in 1934 but closed by 1939. The Parents' National Educational Union opened Ambleside school in Creffield Road hall c. 1930, for girls to the age of 17 and boys to 10. It was recognized by the L.E.A. and survived in 1940. (fn. 132)


  • 1. Guildhall MS. 9537/13.
  • 2. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 217; Digest of Schs. and Chars. for Educ. H.C. 435, pp. 66-7 (1843), xviii.
  • 3. Vestry min. bk. (1801-22).
  • 4. Lysons, Environs (Suppl.), 100.
  • 5. Vestry min. bk. (1801-22), 2 Aug. 1815.
  • 6. Ibid. 16 Oct. 1815.
  • 7. Nat. Soc. 5th Ann. Rep. (1816), 46.
  • 8. Educ. of Poor Digest, 533.
  • 9. Educ. Enquiry Abs. 554.
  • 10. P.R.O., C 54/11631, no. 8.
  • 11. Jnl. Stat. Soc. of Lond. vi. 128-9.
  • 12. Below.
  • 13. Anson, Rel. Orders and Congs. 390, 392.
  • 14. Below.
  • 15. Returns relating to Elem. Educ. [201], p. 570, H.C. (1871), lv.
  • 16. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 17. Ibid. ED 7/87.
  • 18. Ibid. ED 16/204.
  • 19. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1878 [C. 2342-1], p. 24, H.C. (1878-9), xxiii.
  • 20. Baker, Acton, 216; P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 21. Mdx. C.C. Primary and Sec. Educ. in Mdx. 1900-65, 26.
  • 22. The Times, 23 Jan. 1909.
  • 23. Sec. Schs. and Evening Classes under Bd. 1902-3 [Cd. 2323], p. 289, H.C. (1905), lix.
  • 24. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 25. Below.
  • 26. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/9.
  • 27. Ibid. Acc. 12/2; Acton, Official Guide [1928], 40.
  • 28. Acton, Official Guide [c. 1952], 12.
  • 29. Below.
  • 30. Inf. from the headmaster, Twyford high sch.
  • 31. Below.
  • 32. Below, Ealing, educ.
  • 33. Private schs. are separately treated below.
  • 34. Ealing libr., Acc. 6/8 (Acton county sch. cttee. min. bk.).
  • 35. 2nd Rep. Com. for Educ. of Poor, H.C. 547, pp. 74-5 (1819), X-B.
  • 36. Inf. from Mr. D. J. Kibblewhite.
  • 37. Educ. Authies. Dir. and Ann. (1979).
  • 38. Jolliffe, Acton, 79.
  • 39. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/24 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk.).
  • 40. Ibid. Acc. 5 (lease).
  • 41. The Times, 29 Nov. 1909.
  • 42. Threatened with closure due to low nos.: Acton Gaz. 21 Dec. 1978.
  • 43. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 44. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/28 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk. 22 Jan. 1903).
  • 45. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 46. Below, private schs.
  • 47. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/6 (Acton U.D.C. educ. cttee. min. bk.).
  • 48. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 49. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/9, p. 5.
  • 50. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 51. Ealing libr., Acc. 12/1 (log bk.).
  • 52. P.R.O., C 54/17138, no. 2.
  • 53. Ibid. ED 16/204.
  • 54. Ealing libr., Acc. 12/2 (log bk.).
  • 55. Ibid.
  • 56. Ibid.
  • 57. Memorial stone.
  • 58. Baker, Acton, 217.
  • 59. Datestone.
  • 60. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 61. Baker, Acton, 217.
  • 62. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/24 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk.).
  • 63. Datestone.
  • 64. The Times, 27 Sept. 1912.
  • 65. Nat. Soc. 5th Ann. Rep. (1816), 46; Educ. of Poor Digest, 533.
  • 66. Vestry min. bk. (1801-22), 16 Oct. 1815.
  • 67. Educ. of Poor Digest, 533.
  • 68. Nat. Soc. Church Schs. Enquiry, 1846-7, Mdx. 2.
  • 69. M.R.O., Acc. 1341/2/1-5 (plans).
  • 70. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/32 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk.).
  • 71. Ibid. Acc. 19/2 (Acton U.D.C. estate bk.).
  • 72. Below, Chiswick, educ.
  • 73. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 74. Below, Chiswick, educ.
  • 75. Below, private schs.
  • 76. P.R.O., ED 16/204.
  • 77. Baker, Acton, 230.
  • 78. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/28 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk. 7 May 1903).
  • 79. M.R.O., Hist. Notes 30/4/58; above, manors and other est.
  • 80. Ealing libr., Acc. 12/1 (log bk.).
  • 81. Hocking, Meth. Ch. in Acton, 5, 7.
  • 82. Ealing libr., Acc. 1/25 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk. 27 Dec. 1894, 24 Jan. 1895).
  • 83. Ibid. Acc. 1/28 (Ealing sch. bd. min. bk.).
  • 84. Ibid. Acc. 1/6 (Acton U.D.C. educ. cttee. min. bk.).
  • 85. Ibid. Acc. 1/26 (Acton sch. bd. min. bk. 22 Oct. 1897).
  • 86. Ibid. Acc. 5/17 (lease).
  • 87. Ealing libr., Acc. 9/1 (log bk.).
  • 88. Below, Ealing, educ.
  • 89. Below, Chiswick, educ.
  • 90. Baker, Acton, 220-42, 246.
  • 91. Ibid. 245; J. Flaherty, 'From Tech. Coll. to Univ.: Case Study of Brunel Coll.' (Brunel Univ. M.Phil. thesis, 1976), 23.
  • 92. Acton, Official Guide (1930, 1936); Flaherty, 'Brunel Coll.' 27-8.
  • 93. Inf. from the principal, Acton tech. coll.
  • 94. Above.
  • 95. Following 4 paras. based on Flaherty, 'Brunel Coll.' passim; C. Soper and G. Hutton, New Ways in Management Training, 12-13; inf. from the principal, Acton tech. coll.
  • 96. Inf. from the principal, Thos. Huxley coll.
  • 97. P.R.O., C 54/7842, no. 6; Constitutions of Soc. for Orphans of Clergy (1809), 12. Ho. identified from P.R.O., MAF 20/2/22, Bird's enfranchisement.
  • 98. Constitutions, 16, 80.
  • 99. Acct. of S.P.C.K. for 1811, 27 n.
  • 100. Acct. of Soc. for Poor Orphans of Clergymen (1817), 5.
  • 101. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. & Wales, x (5), 332.
  • 102. Educ. of Poor Digest, 533.
  • 103. Pigot, Lond. Dir. (1826-7); Com. Dir. (1832-4).
  • 104. Educ. Enq. Abstract, 554.
  • 105. Pigot, Lond. Dir. (1826-7).
  • 106. Vestry min. bk. (1822-57), 21 Dec. 1837.
  • 107. P.R.O., IR 29/2/1.
  • 108. Ibid. HO 107/1699.
  • 109. Ibid.; Pigot, Com. Dir. (1832-4); P.O. Dir. Mdx. (1845); above, manors and other est. Crockford's Scholastic. Dir. (1861), 76, records Bard as still at Orger Ho.: possibly the sch. reopened elsewhere or the ho. was rebuilt. Monson, Acton, 29, says that the sch. was burned down in the 1860s.
  • 110. Pigot, Lond. Dir. (1826-7); Com. Dir. (1832-4); Boarding Sch. and Lond. Masters' Dir. (1828), 9.
  • 111. Vestry min. bk. (1822-57), 26 July 1832.
  • 112. Pigot, Com. Dir. (1832-4); P.O. Dir. Mdx. (1845); P.R.O. HO 107/1699.
  • 113. Anson, Rel. Orders of G.B. and Irel. 390, 392; P.O. Dir. Mdx. (1845).
  • 114. P.R.O., HO 107/1699.
  • 115. Green's Dir. Notting Hill, Acton (1873); Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 116. F. S. de Carteret-Bisson, Our Schs. and Colls. (1879 boys), i. 753; Green's Dir. Notting Hill, Acton (1873).
  • 117. Baker, Acton, 238; rate bk. (1860s).
  • 118. Ealing, Acton, Dir. (1885-7).
  • 119. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1926, 1890); Kelly's Dir. Acton (1928, 1940).
  • 120. Acton Gaz. 4 Jan. 1901 (advert.); Baker, Acton, 238; Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 121. Kelly's Dir. N. Suburbs (1888); Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890); Acton Gaz. 4 Jan. 1901 (advert.); Baker, Acton, 238.
  • 122. C. Hocking, Brief Hist. of Meth. Ch. in Acton, 5; Paton's Schs. (1902), 261; Baker, Acton, 238; Acton Gaz. 4 Jan. 1901 (advert.); Rowland, Street Names, 20.
  • 123. Ealing libr., Acc. 19/2; below, Ealing, educ.
  • 124. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890); Kelly's Dir. Acton (1932).
  • 125. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890); Acton Gaz. 4 Jan. 1901 (advert.); Kelly's Dir. Chiswick, Acton (1914); Acton, Official Guide (1924); Kelly's Dir. Acton (1940, 1955).
  • 126. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 297.
  • 127. Acton Gaz. 5 July 1901; Baker, Acton, 238-9; Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1926); Acton, Official Guide (1924, 1936, c. 1952).
  • 128. Girls' Sch. Year Bk. (1977), 182.
  • 129. Above.
  • 130. Rel. Orders, 227; Kelly's Dir. N. Suburbs (1902); Kelly's Dir. Acton (1930, 1931); Acton, Official Guide (1939).
  • 131. Above.
  • 132. Acton, Official Guide (1928, 1930, 1934, 1938, 1939); Kelly's Dir. Acton (1940).