For aerial view of Bletchley Road Schools through time click here

For aerial view of Fenny Stratford Schools through time click here

North Bucks Flying Post 1886

24/07/1886 - The Vicar reports that the sanitary accommodation at the National Schools in 'simply abominable'.

A meeting of ratepayers was called on Monday evening by the school managers, to consider the inadequate accommodation for children at the Fenny Stratford National Schools. There was a small attendance due to the weather. The Vicar, the Rev. A.H. Barrow, presided and asked what would be best to be done. Some children had to sit on the floor and others were turned away. The average attendance in 1881 was 113; 1882: 133; and 1886: 174. Then, when H.M. Inspector heard that 'a sort of private school' had been started on the other side of the parish his ominous comment was 'You will not be able to go on so much longer, that's a fact'. He would make a report and it would be better for them to make improvements voluntarily, rather than be forced to do so. One idea was to extend the wings of the school by building on the adjacent piece of disused land and also to erect a first as well as a ground floor. Also the roof of the present building needed repair, the internal walls needed painting and renovating and desks were required. The cost would be about £200 in total. There was also a rumour that around 200 families would be coming to Bletchley from Leighton Buzzard as a consequence of certain alterations in the L.N.W.R. arrangements and the school managers might therefore have to provide for around 600 more children. The Chairman then made the comment that 'Personally, I should be very pleased to see a large school built in the Bletchley Road, but I do not know where the money is to come from'. Eventually it was decided to make no move until it was certain that the railway employees were coming.

06/11/1886 - 'An Important Notice;' appeared concerning the Fenny Stratford National Schools. The Board of Managers had been called upon by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council on Education to enlarge the schools forthwith and also make sundry repairs and rebuild the offices. The Managers were unable to meet these demands and therefore gave notice that a meeting of ratepayers be held at the schools on Mon. November 8th at 8pm, when a statement of the present condition of the schools would be submitted to the meeting for consideration.

20/11/1886 - Regarding a School Board for Fenny, the necessary signatures have been obtained and the requisition to Mr. Powell, Clerk to the Newport Board of Guardians, to call a public meeting, for the purpose of forming a School Board for Fenny, was sent off on Tuesday last.

04/12/1886 - A meeting of the Church School Managers & Teachers Association (North Bucks Branch) was held in St. Martins Mission Room, Fenny, on Sat. Nov. 27th. The chairman was sorry to inform them that the Fenny schools would soon have to come under a School Board, as additional accommodation was needed by the Education Department, and the Railway Co. had refused to help them. They preferred a rate supported school, to one of voluntary principle.

11/12/1886 - On Monday next there will be a meeting of ratepayers of the Parish of Fenny, to be held in the Town Hall at 12 noon. This is to pass a resolution as to what steps to take in the matter of forming a School Board. The meeting has been called by the Clerk to the Newport Pagnell Board of Guardians, in response to a request, signed by 50 ratepayers. They think it expedient that a School Board be formed.

18/12/1886 - Dunmore House School, Bletchley. In connection with the 12th half-yearly prize day, a gathering of friends of the pupils assembled in the schoolroom on Wednesday last. This was in response to an invitation by Mr. & Mrs. Holloway, the principals. Prizes were awarded for shorthand, music, French and ornamental writing, amongst other subjects. In addition 2 special prizes were awarded, silver engraved watches, for proficiency in bookkeeping. Entertainment was provided by the school band and after tea a dance was held in the evening

The School board meeting was held 'at the inconvenient hour of 11am'. The attendance was poor. It had not been advertised in the papers since the Education Dept had not allowed the expense. It was eventually resolved that a School Board be formed of not less than 7 members.

North Bucks Flying Post 1887

01/01/1887 - On Wednesday evening a meeting of Fenny Stratford Nonconformists was held in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, to consider the action to be taken at the forthcoming School Board election. Discussions took place as to who should be nominated for the Board and the meeting then adjourned on the understanding that another would be held as soon as it was known from the Education Department how many members would constitute the Board.

On Wednesday evening a meeting was convened by the Vicar and churchwardens of St. Martin's in the National Schools, to consider the steps to be taken in the forthcoming election of a School Board for Fenny Stratford. Mr. W. Rowland moved that the meeting should nominate 4 candidates and this motion was carried. One of the hopefuls was rejected and said after the meeting that he would stand as an Independent.

08/01/1887 - A meeting of the railway men of the L.N.W.R. took place on Monday last in the Co-op Assembly Room, to discuss who should represent them on the School Board of Fenny Stratford. They were of the opinion that they should be represented, since their children filled the schools. Mr. A. Read, the Goods Yard Inspector, was eventually chosen.

15/01/1887 - In the Wesleyan schoolroom on Wednesday evening was held a well attended and enthusiastic meeting of the Nonconformists in Fenny Stratford. This was to finally select the candidates and settle other business in connection with the forthcoming School Board. 4 candidates were chosen.

22/01/1887 - Notice to the ratepayers of Fenny Stratford, ref. The School Board election. On 31st January 1887 they will be called upon to elect 7 representatives to preside over the educational interests of the parish in accordance with the requirements of the Elementary Education Act.

05/02/1887 - On Monday the election of 7 gentlemen to form a School Board for Fenny took place. The Church candidates had blue placards, the Nonconformists red, and Mr. Rowland, as an Independent, yellow. At 12 noon Mr. Powell as the Returning Officer opened proceedings in the Infants Schoolroom, and the poll closed at 8pm. The counting of the votes took an hour & of the 391 papers issued, 386 were valid. Mr. Read had 678 votes & Mr. Rowland 274.

19/02/1887 - The first meeting of the newly elected School Board for Fenny Stratford was held in the National School last Thursday morning. Mr. Thomas was appointed school attendance officer at £7 p.a.

12/03/1887 - The School board held a meeting on Monday afternoon in the classroom of the National School, where the Clerk submitted drawings and estimates for a Seal, for the Board, from various firms. It was decided to order a plain one from Messrs. Shaw & Co. at 23s 6d. Discussions took place on the school accommodation. The present buildings were too small to accommodate the children of the parish and it was suggested that an Infants School should be built, with the present buildings being used for the boys and girls. At present they were overcrowded by 76 pupils. The Chairman said that if the Board took over the schools it would need to do the repairs stated by the Inspectors and also to attend to the master’s house 'very defective in the matter of drainage'. It was agreed to consult certain architects as to the cost of righting the present schools, and also to add an Infants’ room. And also to provide a costing for entirely new schools.

19/03/1887 - The School Board had received letters from Mr. Gotto in respect of his charges for estimating the cost of repairs. They would be 2 guineas if they subsequently employed him and 6 guineas if they did not! Eventually it was carried that the Board would apply for a lease of the schools of 7 or 14 years, being able to terminate this period by giving 12 months notice at the end of 6 or 13 years.

26/03/1887 - Dunmore House Schools (30 Boarders). The principals are Mr. & Mrs. A. Holloway with 18 years experience. There are 6 resident masters and governesses. Also a resident French master, himself a Frenchman. Preparation is carried out for Civil Service exams. The building is a 'Handsome Residence replete with every Comfort and Convenience, erected expressly for the Reception of Young Ladies and Gentlemen. Separate Departments'.

02/04/1887 - The usual fortnightly meeting of the Fenny Stratford School Board was held on Monday afternoon, in the National School classroom. Clerk read the letters he had received in reply from the Managers of the present school. They would transfer the Schools to the Board on a lease of 7 or 14 years at a nominal rent of £1 p.a., terminable by 12 months notice at the end of 6 or 13 years. The Board would have the use of the Schools from 9.30am until 5pm every week day and after 6pm on Mondays, excepting Christmas Day and Good Friday. The Managers would sell the furniture to the Board on the consideration and stipulation of the Education Act, at a price to be fixed by a valuation. The Board would have a gas meter for their exclusive use. The Chairman said he had a long letter from the Education Department stating the conditions on which the schools would be transferred and the fact that these would have to be done by a solicitor. He had written to the Railway Company and the Directors had replied that they were not contemplating any change at Bletchley that would materially increase the staff there. He had also received a petition signed by 74 persons, the parents of 219 children living at the Bletchley end of the parish, stating the inconvenience for the children, so far away from the school. The proposal to build a new school for the Infants was also no good, since they would be separated from the older children, who now looked after them. They would prefer new schools to be built. Mr. Read said the petition was a fraud with half of the signatures having been signed by women on behalf of their husbands, not knowing what it was. Only 13 people were at the meeting from which the petition emanated. His suggestion was to 'Throw it in the fire, Sir.' It was agreed to reply to the petition saying the cost would be too much.

Mr. Small was appointed solicitor, for the transfer of the school from the Managers to the Board. A clause in the deeds stated that the principal minister of the Church of England 'may use the schools for a Sunday School' and 'shall have the sole management thereof'. It was finally agreed to write to the Education Dept. to ask what alterations in the school were required and if they would insist on enlarging the existing schools if an Infants School was built.

23/04/1887 - The Fenny Stratford and District Teachers Association held a special meeting in Bow Brickhill schoolroom on Saturday afternoon, to consider the dismissal of Mr. Siggs, the master of Bletchley National School. The Rev. William Bennitt had sacked him because his wife was expecting another child! As per the letter 'Bletchley Rectory, March 24th 1887: Sir, I hereby give you notice that the services of yourself and Mrs. Siggs will not be required as teachers in Bletchley's schools after June 24th 1887. Yours truly, William Bennitt'. 'You must go, for I cannot see how the school is to be carried on'. Asked if that was the only reason he replied yes. Mr. Siggs enquired why he had been dismissed and not allowed to resign. The Rev. answered that he saw no difference, which caused laughter in the assembly. Mr. Siggs had written up the matter and it was now in the hands of the Executive Committee of the N.U.E.T. He told the meeting that although the reason given was the only excuse, now he had brought it this far the Reverend was trying to find others. A document was then shown stating Bennitt to be the sole manager and not the Education Department, who had been misled in a 'glaring infringement of the Education Act'. The rector was reported to have said to friends that he was very pleased with the school. As for the schoolmaster, 'My school is in a flourishing state, and I have left no stone unturned to give Bletchley School a name for proficiency which it never had before'. In conclusion it was said that H.M. Inspector had been satisfied with the state of things. The Chairman gave his opinion that the reason for dismissal was illegal. It then became apparent that the Rev. was trying to blame Mr. Siggs for being harsh. The meeting expressed sympathy and support and said the matter was now in the hands of the Executive.

14/05/1887 - Advert by Fenny Stratford School Board. 'The School Board is desirous of purchasing a PLOT OF LAND for the purpose of erecting a new school thereon, and invites persons having suitable land to dispose of to tender for the same'. The plot would need to be from 3/4 to 1 acre with frontage of not less than 60 yards abutting onto the main road between Stag Bridge, Fenny Stratford and the Railway Bridge at Bletchley Station. Tenders were to be directed to the Rev. A. Barrow, chairman of the Board, on or before Monday, May 23rd, before 12 noon.

At a meeting of the School Board at the National School on Monday April 29th, the Board considered the question of better accommodation for the schoolchildren, for at present the schools were not large enough. The Clerk said he had written to the Education Department but as yet had received no reply. The Board made a decision to advertise for a piece of land for a possible new building.

The present Managers of the National Schools had written to the teachers saying that their services would not be required after the end of next July. If they wished to be kept on, they had to apply to the School Board. The Board had received a letter from Miss Slough asking for a renewal of her position as teacher of the Infants and this was agreed. The other teachers were to send in their letters.

02/07/1887 - At a meeting of the Fenny Stratford School Board on Monday last, held in the classroom of the National School, Mr. Gotto produced plans of the site on which the new schools are to be built. The question arose as to how much land the Board needed and it was agreed about an acre would be required. Mr. Gotto would provide a pencil sketch of the schools. He then discussed the size of the schools with the members and whether they would need a house. The Managers questioned the need for a house but let the matter drop. Eventually it was decided to build a school for 200 pupils and Mr. Gotto would draw the plans. Mr. Gotto then submitted plans for alterations to the present schools and revealed the cost to be nearly as much as the new schools, around £300.

09/07/1887 - Mr. and Mrs. Holloway of Dunmore House Schools, Bletchley, are taking their usual summer trip to the continent for 1 month, commencing on August 1st. They will take charge of 1 or 2 additional children under 14 years for an inclusive charge of £6 6s.

16/07/1887 - At the School Board meeting in the school classroom, last Monday, the main topic was to inspect and consider the plans submitted by the architect, Mr. Gotto. A government inspection of the school had been held that day and the Inspector concluded that a school for 200 would be no good at all. He insisted on an infants’ school being provided lower down in the parish, towards Bletchley, using the present schools for the girls and infants. A new boys’ school would then be built on the site proposed for the new infant school. In the light of all this, at the conclusion of their meeting the Board decided not to commit themselves to anything!

30/07/1887 - Dunmore House Schools on Wed. July 27th celebrated their 13th half-yearly Prize Day. About 40 parents and visitors attended. The Rev. H.S. Smith gave out the prizes including a 3 guinea silver watch, engraved to Miss Louie Thomas for proficiency in book keeping, both single and double entry. Then followed entertainments to include recitals, songs etc.

13/08/1887 - H.M. School Inspector considered that besides the Infants Schools now proposed by the School Board, another Infants School would be required at the Bletchley Station end of the parish. The population there was already 600 and increasing.

24/09/1887 - Advert - Dunmore House Schools (30 boarders), Principals Mr. and Mrs. A. Holloway, 20 years experience.

15/10/1887 - A meeting of the School Board in the National Schools was held last Monday and a letter from Mr. Small was read, referring to the powers of the Board. If they kept holding out and did not do what the Education Department wanted after 12 months the Education Department would select a Board of their own, i.e. the Department would insist on having an Infants school at the Bletchley end of the parish. The present mixed school would be for infants and a new boys’ school would be built on the site that had been purchased. A decision was then seconded that a letter be sent to the Department asking if the Board abandoned the idea of using the existing schools and agreed to erect a group of new schools in the centre of the parish, they would withdraw their request for the provision of a new Infants school at Bletchley.

05/11/1887 - A meeting of the School Board was held last Monday evening in what was formerly known as the National School but which from now on will be called the Fenny Stratford High Street Board School. The name for the school, as required by the Education Department, was suggested by Mr. Tidmarsh.

Mr. Green resigns as clerk to the Board School.

Discussions took place at the School Board meeting as to where the new schools should be built. One suggestion was on a piece of land at the lower end of Napier Street but a member said that he had once lodged there and found it to be very damp. Other suggestions were to build a block of schools at Yards End and an Infants school at Bletchley.

The position of assistant schoolmaster is advertised in the 'Schoolmaster'. 25 replies have been received and a report will be made at the next meeting.

The School Board deputation had met the Mission Room Trustees and new arrangements were agreed. It would now be £8pa and the Board would erect offices to make a door through the south wall and do whatever the Education Department required. The Board was to erect a close fence on the Brooklands Road, the Trustees to pay half and the total cost not to exceed £10. Legal costs were to be borne by the Board, also those for cleaning and storing the chairs during the week. It was eventually resolved to take over the Mission Room on these terms.

A letter had been received from the cleaning lady of the schools, Mrs. Dimbleby, asking for an increase in her salary. The matter was left in abeyance.

12/11/1887 - A New Clerk is chosen for the School Board, the Rev. Walter George Barry.

The new assistant School master will be Mr. Slater, formerly of the Aston Board Schools. He will arrive on Thursday to take up the post under Mr. Cowlishaw, the Master.

19/11/1887 - Discussions took place as regards the siting of the Schools (Full details page 3). It was decided to approach the Trustees of the Mission Room (in Bletchley Road) to see if they would let the Room for use as a temporary Infants’ School.

The school master requested funds to purchase Bibles, which were duly ordered.

26/11/1887 - Advert: Dunmore House School. Resident masters and Governesses. French Conversation, shorthand, book keeping, by single and double entry, Latin and German thoroughly taught. Pupils of both sexes prepared for the Civil Service, Royal Veterinary College and Commercial Houses.

The School board have now decided to use the present schools for the girls & Infants -the larger being for the infants - and now require Mr. Gotto, the architect, to submit on Monday next his plans for the necessary repairs and alterations.

The trustees of the Mission Room had replied to the School Boards request to use the Room as a temporary school. Their conditions were that the arrangement would date from January next for a period of 3 years at £12 per annum. The Board would make any alterations at their expense. The agreement would only be valid during Board hours. The Board decided to try and modify the terms of this agreement.

03/12/1887 - Mr. Gotto presented his plans at the School Board Meeting, on the repairs and alterations necessary to the present schools to fit them for a girls and infants’ school. He said he understood the need but could do nothing until he received plans from the Education Dept.

The School Board held discussions about building a School at Yards End. See page 2 for details.

17/12/1887 - The mistress of the Infants’ school, Miss Slough, has applied for supplies of calico (for sewing), pictures, lesson boards etc. Also she has reported that the desks, cupboards and furniture of the schools need repair. This would be done after the school holidays.

The school teachers are owed 6 months salary. At the School Board meeting the Chairman left the room to fetch the chequebook, to pay them as much as possible.

North Bucks Flying Post 1890

04/01/1890 - Advert. 'Notice to parents'. Mr. Holloway of Dunmore School 'desires to intimate to parents' in Fenny Stratford, Bletchley and neighbourhood that from January 1st, 1890 the inclusive fee of £2 15s and that of £1 10s, now charged for General subjects, will be reduced to £2 2d and £1 1s respectively, for day scholars, for term of 16 weeks. This will include tuition in shorthand, French, book-keeping and 4 piano lessons per week. In addition to the usual hours of instruction all pupils are entitled to attend from 6-7pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings for private study with the boarders, under the supervision of a teacher. Pupils are prepared amongst other ambitions for Certificates in the Society of Sciences, Kensington, Pitman’s, the Phonetic Society and the Civil Service. The three terms a year commence on January 1st, May 1st and September 1st. Alfred Holloway, F.R.S.L., Fs. Sc. London, Dunmore House School.

Contractors have begun building the new board school in Bletchley Road.

The School Board election takes place on January 28th. Seven members are to be elected. Two railway men have been selected as candidates.

11/01/1890 - A short meeting of the School Board discussed a loan for the building of the new schools.

18/01/1890 - Mr. T.G. Kirby has been proposed for the pending School Board election. He had been chiefly responsible for the abolition of flogging of children not at school before 9.30am.

For a list of nominations for the School Board, including Dr. McGachen, page 5.

25/01/1890 - In the local paper the hopefuls for election to the School Board make their appeals.

01/02/1890 - The polling of candidates for the School Board took place last Tuesday, the polling booth being at the Board School. Polling closed at 8pm and before 10pm a large crowd had gathered in the playground to hear the results. T.G Kirby polled 424 votes, J. Baisley 351, W. Rowland 185, Dr. McGachen 157 and T. Pacey 9 amongst the other candidates. There were only 5 spoilt papers 'which speaks well for the intelligence of the Fenny Stratford ratepayers'.

22/02/1890 - The first meeting of the newly elected School Board took place on Monday evening in the Board Schools. The first business was to elect the Rev. A.H. Barrow as Chairman and Mr. J. Baisley as Vice-Chairman.

14/03/1890 - A special meeting of the School Board was held last Monday evening. A letter from Mr. Welsh was read complaining about the quality of materials used in the school construction. He said that, on visiting the schools, he found them being faced with bricks of mild clay, not the pressed bricks stated in the specification. When asked why, the architect, Mr. Hull, said that pressed bricks could not be obtained in time and, if he had waited, the work would not be complete until the end of May. He was quite satisfied with the bricks which were costed at 30s/1000 as against 54s/1000 for pressed bricks. The Chairman read the conditions under which the architect had taken on the work and it was found that he had the power to alter the material for any other of a suitable quality. Mr. Baisley then said that ground lime was being used instead of the lias lime. The pressed bricks would last four times as long and it should be for the Education Department to rule if the specification was to be adhered to. Eventually it was ruled that Mr. Hull would use the pressed bricks but the Board would have to pay for pulling down some hundred yards of walling and for building it up again.

04/04/1890 - At a meeting of the School Board a list of irregular attendances was read out by Mr. Thomas, the Attendance Officer. Flu had caused many absences during the last 6 months.

At the meeting of the School Board Mr. Bonner, clerk to the solicitor, Mr. Small, was in attendance for the purpose of getting the Seal of the Board affixed to a document. This conveyed all the land at Yards End to Mr. E. Holdom, a transaction that resulted in a loss to the Board of £17, combining the transfer and interest.

The Assistant Schoolmaster who was recently taken on had proved unsuitable 'due to and affliction' and the position was re-advertised. 41 applicants responded and a shortlist of 2 was drawn up. The Board had offered an increased salary to attract applicants of a higher calibre and eventually Mr. Parkinson was selected for interview.

It was decided to allow the 'soft bricks' already used in building the Board School to remain and not pull the wall down. They had advised that the quality of the bricks was sufficient.

25/04/1890 - At a meeting of the School Board it was asked what was being done about an Assistant Master. All the 6 candidates previously selected had now found other employment and the one especially chosen had failed to answer.

At the School Board meeting the account for services rendered by Mr. Small, the solicitor, were presented. These included the sum of £504 19s 8d for the purchase of land from Sir Philip Duncombe and also the land at Yards End, at £11 2s 4d.

At the School Board meeting the Chairman stated that the schools were to be finished within six months of the signing of contracts. The penalty for any overrun would be £3 a week with a saving clause in the event of bad weather etc.

At an interview between the architect and the sub committee of the school board it was decided to take that (the drawing) at Mr. Kirby's house as an example for pointing.

23/05/1890 - Mr. Staniford is the Clerk of Works at the Board Schools. The schools are coming on well - the structure is solid, the walls are well finished off, and good timber is being used for the beams etc. The concrete floors are to be covered by boards. The girls' room is large and lofty with plenty of space and ventilation. The infants' school is at the opposite end of the building to the girls, and 2 classrooms are provided for them. Connecting the two schools is a long covered passage. Two large playgrounds are to be provided, and the whole will be enclosed by a brick wall. The house for the mistress is roomy and nearly complete.

On Monday afternoon a fatal accident occurred at the new Board School, concerning a man named Redmill, of Northampton. He was foreman of the joiners, and whilst he and a labourer were raising one of the large beams, which support the roof, the beam slipped. Redmill did not jump out of the way, but tried to save the beam. It fell against the wall of the building and slid to the ground carrying him with it until it fell across his stomach. Mr. Staniford came immediately and under his guidance a stretcher was made from canvas nailed to wooden poles. Redmill was carried to his lodgings where Dr. Deynes attended him, ordering the man to be removed to Northampton Infirmary where he died on Wednesday night. He had been held in high esteem by his employers, Messrs. Martin of Northampton, with whom he had been for considerable time.

Another accident at the Board School concerned Mr. Morris, of Bow Brickhill. He was helping a mason move some heavy stones when one of them slipped and crushed his fingers.

30/05/1890 - The School Board architect suggested that a larger cistern than the one specified should be fitted. After discussion it was decided to keep the original.

Mr. Staniford produced plans and specifications showing that the Board was empowered to spend £150 on desks etc. and £65 for the master's desk, chairs, etc. It was decided to ask Mr. Hull to meet the Board members at the schools on Monday 2nd June and decide on the kind of desk, and also the gas fittings.

06/06/1890 - At the meeting of the School Board it was asked how many children are to be taken from the Mission Room to the new school. The number would be around 60, with the Room closed as a school. At the School Board meeting, it was asked on what conditions the old schools were held. The Board paid £1 per year rent and had obtained a loan for the amount of repairs done. The new schools had been built for the girls and infants but there was sufficient ground to expand later if necessary.

The Boys' School had an average attendance of 102, and it was decided to provide for 150. A head certificated teacher was needed for 60 pupils and a trained master for 70.

The average attendance at the Girls School was 95; and the cost of the mistress's house was about £550. It was decided to have a head mistress, an untrained mistress and 2 pupil teachers.

27/06/1890 - At the meeting of the School Board on Friday evening last, it was recommended to provide a trained headmaster for the Boys’ School, and when the schools were in working order, if there were any extra pupils, then to consider the need for a pupil teacher. The head would have a salary of £125 and a house, whilst the assistant master would receive £65 pa. It was recommended to offer the positions to Mr. Cowlishaw and Mr. Adcock, the present head and assistant. For the Girls’ School, an untrained head mistress was proposed at £40 pa, the position to be offered to Miss Freeman. An assistant would be advertised for.

For the Infants’ School it was recommended that a trained headmistress be appointed at £75 pa, an increase of £5 on the present salary. A trained assistant mistress would also be advertised for a £50 pa. It was recommended that Miss Sear be appointed as an extra assistant at £25 pa. The recommendations were all carried unanimously.

It was agreed they would need 70 dual desks for the girls’ room and 12 desks to seat 5 each for the girls classroom. The Infants’ room would need 12 desks to seat 5 each and 8 for the classroom to seat 9 each. The Babies’ room would need 30 seats. Pitch pine was decided to be the best material for its durability. Six tables and twelve chairs were to be provided for the use of the teachers and as much of the furniture as possible would be bought from suppliers in town. The gas company was to put in the gas supply and a contractor would install the pipes but the fittings were to be acquired locally.

11/07/1890 - The new Board Schools are nearing completion. The bricklayers are building the fence walls and when these are surmounted by iron railings and the ground put in order the buildings will be an example to be proud of. The infants and girls will attend after the summer holidays whilst the boys will remain at the old schools in the High Street.

The 19th half yearly prize day of Dunmore House School was celebrated on Thursday last. 14 certificates were awarded by the Society of Science, Kensington for Practical Music, and 6 Pitman’s Certificates of Proficiency in shorthand by the Phonetic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. A short musical programme was then given, followed by tea and at 10pm, supper. Dances and other diversions brought proceedings to a close at 3am. The pupils will now begin their 6 week vacation, returning on Sept 2nd.

12/09/1890 - A meeting of the members of the School Board was held at New Schools Friday last. Mr. J. Baisley was chairman. Cheques were signed for £1200, the balance due to the contractor, and £160 for school furniture etc. The clerk read a list of articles required by the caretaker Mr. T.V. Green for his use in cleaning the school and decided to divide the order between tradesmen of the town. The front of the schools had been laid to turf and the fire Brigade would be asked to water it on Monday evening.

The fire brigade turned out on Monday evening 'to give a little drop of comfort' to the parched grass in front of the new schools.

26/09/1890 - Miss M. E. Kenning of Dunmore House School Bletchley was awarded a bronze medal at Addison Hall, Kensington by the Society of Science for Practical Music.

31/10/1890 - The mistress of the Girls’ School has applied for a piano or harmonium. The Clerk (of the Council) was instructed to get prices one of Alexander’s selected at net price of £6.10s.

North Bucks Flying Post 1891

02/01/1891 - Mr. Eaton, a member of the School Board, is leaving for promotion to a position in connection with the L.N.W.R at Northampton..

Dunmore House School held its 20th half-yearly (semi-annual) prize day on Thursday December 18th (1890).

The newly established school of Mrs. Kemp, in Bletchley Road, had its 'breaking up' tea party on Friday December 19th (1890).

30/01/1891 - The meeting of the School Board could not be held. The chairman had been summoned to London, on a case of illness. Mr. Baisley, as vice-chairman, was still recovering after his fall on the ice and Mr. E. Holdom could not attend because of a family bereavement. As for Mr. J. C. Eaton, he had left the town.

06/02/1891 - Mr. Small had finished his business with the School Board and Mr. F.M. Day was now appointed as solicitor. According to the census there were 681 children in the parish. 487 attended the public Schools, 35 the private schools and 29 between the ages of 5 to 13 did not attend any school. The rest were under age.

An account was received from Messrs. Rowland for turf for the new schools.

01/05/1891 - Attendance at the schools was bad and Mr. Thomas, the attendance officer, asked for an increase in his salary. He is now to be paid £10.

03/07/1891 - Mr. Leon is about to present a piano to the school, after a request from the governess to the School Board for a musical instrument was turned down.

31/07/1891 - Tenders are invited for papering the schoolhouse.

21/08/1891 - The building committee of the Fenny Stratford Baptist Chapel invites tenders to erect a new chapel and school on the old site.

28/08/1891 - Dunmore College, established 10½years. 'Reference to over 300 parents'. Separate schools for young ladies and gentlemen. Principal - Alfred Holloway FRISH, 25 years experience. 'Composer; and Author of "Conversational French", 4th Edition, 4s'. NB. The handsome new College, containing 21 rooms, will (D.V.) be opened at Xmas.

09/10/1891 - On noon of Friday last as the children were leaving the Board School, a lad named Foskett was knocked down and kicked on the forehead by a horse.

18/12/1891 - A Savings Bank will be held at the Bletchley Road Schools on Monday, January 4th 1892 from 5am-5pm, and all successive Mondays except Bank Holidays. Children may deposit sums of 1 penny; Post Office bank books will be free of charge.

North Bucks Times 1919

21/01/1919 - School Manager's meeting. Aylesbury had written that an increase in the caretaker’s salary had been before the Education Committee and from October 1st last he would receive 10s a month extra and £5 allowance for his 2 children. (Bletchley Road Schools.)

Mr. Riley, architect to Bucks Education Committee, had visited the Schools and noted the need for repairs to the turret on the roof of the Infants’ Dept. Also he had inspected the school road between the departments and found them in reasonable repair. In fact they were in better condition than the main road (Bletchley Road) outside the schools! He suggested some temporary repairs with granite chips. Tar macadam would be a great improvement but after discussion it was decided to leave this until after the summer.

Mr. Watkins, secretary to the County Education Committee, had written to say the Education authority was now empowered to institute school swimming classes. He asked for managers views in connection with the present swimming place in the river and was told it needed much work, especially to make it suitable for the girls. It would need to be enclosed to make it private. Lady Leon suggested that Mr. Riley, the architect, be asked to report on the probable cost. She suggested the Urban Council be approached with a view to co-operate with the Education Committee.

The Infants’ department was revealed to be understaffed due to the number of pupils. Lady Leon recommended that Aylesbury be approached for the supply of an un-certificated teacher as a temporary measure.

04/02/1919 - Repairs to the roof turret of the Infants School proved ineffective. One part may have been overlooked and the caretaker is to investigate.

Some of the former masters are returning to the Schools from H.M. Forces and the temporary staff will be moved elsewhere.

11/03/1919 - Lady Leon & Representatives of the school had met with the Urban Council and Mayor Chadwick at the Bathing Place. They decided that if the floor of the shed was concreted and the partition put up, it would temporarily do. The steps and other bits needed repair. The overall cost was proposed to be split by the Education Authority and the Urban Council.

15/04/1919 - At the monthly meeting of the Managers of the Bletchley Road Council Schools, the Bletchley Urban Council consented to carry out the suggested repairs at the Bathing Place, to make it suitable for school swimming classes of both sexes. The estimate cost was £30.

29/07/1919 - Secretary to Bucks. County Education Committee held an inquiry at Bletchley Road Council Schools, with reference to the New Education Act which required grouping of schools.

19/08/1919 - A recent fire, which broke out about 3.30a.m., completely gutted the building and destroyed the contents of Mr. A. E. Jacobs' garage. Three large motor lorries were destroyed as well as three cars, several motorbikes, a large quantity of tyres, spares and also petrol. The Bletchley Urban Council Fire Brigade was quickly on the scene with their steam fire engine, drawing water from the canal. The building was fairly new and stood on the site of the old National School. This school had later become a branch school under the Simpson & Woughton School Board and remained as such until arrangements were made by the then Fenny Stratford School Board for the Simpson Children living at the town end of the parish to attend the Bletchley Road Schools. The old school building was then sold and became the Paper Coil Factory. This came to an end when the premises burnt down. The site then stood vacant for a while until purchased by the garage company. The old school buildings stood at an elevation considerably above the present level of the High Street, as does the Picture Palace next door. The site was then excavated by the new owner down to the level of the street and a large and commodious garage erected with offices and other accommodation. All this was burned down in the fire.

23/12/1919 - The Lord Lieutenant of the County offered a German Field Gun as a war trophy. It was recommended to accept the offer and place the gun on the lawn in front of the Infants’ School.

North Bucks Times 1920

13/01/1920 - The Bletchley to Fenny Stratford underground telephone cable is being laid. The cable layers had now reached the Bletchley Road Schools on the way to Fenny Stratford. In the process they had 'destroyed' about the only piece of asphalt footpath in town, bordering the garden fence. This belongs to the Education Authority and 'war is certain to break out between H.M. Postmaster General and Aylesbury'.

13/01/1920 - Mr. Riley, architect to the Bucks Education Committee wrote regarding the condemned out offices at the Boys School. Plans for new ones had been submitted in 1915 but had to be put on hold during the war. Now it was recommended to erect the new offices but not to convert the present building into a carpenter’s workshop. This would be pulled down in the summer holidays and the material used for the new building.

The roof turret of the Infants’ School was still leaking. The woodwork needed to be cut back for further investigation.

The Council gave permission for a captured German Field Gun to be displayed on the lawn of the Infants’ School.

23/03/1920 - The site for the Central War Memorial outside the boys’ Council School was approved.

It was decided to remove the turret on the roof of the Infants’ School.

01/06/1920 - During the Whitsun holiday, under instructions from the Architectural Department of the Bucks. Education Committee, 'a gang of demolitionists' have been hard at work at the Bletchley Road schools and removed the turrets on the Infants’ roof.

22/06/1920 - At the N.F.D.D.S.S. meeting, the Chairman, Mr. F. Clayfield, had two options: a) to buy a piece of allotment land on Bletchley Road, close to the Half Way House (adjoining the inn paddock) and on it erect a hut, as an institute or club house or to try and purchase for the same sum the Bletchley Grammar school, now on the market since the school is to be transferred to Elmers. The meeting, held at the Park Hotel, opted to try for the Grammar school.

22/06/1920 - Over the years the Bletchley Grammar school acquired many new pupils and eventually outgrew the Bletchley Road premises. The head, Mr. S. Howard Still, then purchased 'Elmers' for several years the home of a member of the Selby Lowndes family. When the alterations to Elmers are complete, there will be accommodation for some 50 boarders and 150 pupils. The buildings have main drainage, a water supply and central heating. The grounds of 7 acres are to be used for school purposes. 5 acres will be used for a football and cricket ground and the rest for tennis lawns and kitchen gardens.

29/06/1920 - Mr. Shardlow, head of the Boys’ department at the Council Schools, would resign at the end of the year. Under his agreement he could remain until the age of 60 but he was not prepared to re-organise the school as a 'central' school. He had given 24 years of service.

03/08/1920 - Commodious brick and tile premises, formerly schools, fronting the Watling Street are for sale at £1200, suitable for a factory or motor works.

28/09/1920 - A 'Commodious detached residence', the late Grammar School, is for sale with immediate vacant possession. The premises include two large schoolrooms.

North Bucks Times 1921

04/01/1921 - At the Swan Hotel, Fenny Stratford, on Thursday 20th January, Wallace A. Foll will sell by auction the freehold, by the direction of the Vicar and churchwardens of Fenny Stratford parish, of the High Street schools. They are divided into 6 lofty and well-lit classrooms with a floor space of 2700 sq. ft. Included are an outbuilding and yard. The school house stands apart from the school and is suitable for a private residence. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 sitting rooms, a kitchen and offices. Main drainage is featured and also gas and the council water.

11/01/1921 - The Bletchley Road Council Schools re-opened on Wednesday morning. Mr. J. H. Shardlow had retired at the end of the year and his successor will be Mr. F. E. Melton, at present in Taplow. Before that he was head at the Shenley and Loughton schools.

25/01/1921 - Sale of the High Street schools. They stand centrally in the High St., having a frontage of 70ft and a depth of 155 ft. They are substantially built with walls 14in. thick. A large ante room and 5 large classrooms comprise the building. Detached from this stands the school house, with 2 large sitting rooms and 3 bedrooms. An ante room, lodge room and store room are let to the St. Marin's Lodge of Freemasons until May 31st next, at £12.00 per annum. The school house is in the occupation of Mr. W. R. Cooley, who undertakes to leave by March 25th next. The purchaser was Hedley J. Clarke, at £625.00.

25/01/1921 - History of the High Street schools. In 1815 the National Society contributed the sum of £30.00 towards building a school, and aided with the help of the local gentry, this was started in 1819. It remained until 1859 as a school, when the building was sold and a new one erected. In 1861 the National Society again contributed another sum of money towards the maintenance of this school. As the National School it remained as such until 1887, when a School Board was formed. The High Street buildings were then rented from the church authorities, in whom they were vested, to serve as the Boys' department of the Board Schools. The School Board had the use and control of the schools for 5 days in the week, but the church held control and authority on Saturdays and Sundays. This continued until 1898, when the new Boys Department was erected on the Bletchley Road, adjoining the Girls and Infants schools. With the completion of the new building and the transfer to it of the boys, the High St. buildings reverted to the church authorities. They then saw a variety of uses, once a week being Sunday Schools, on the other days 'everything and anything': bazaars, concerts, dances, drama entertainments, jumble sales, political meetings and Primrose League gatherings. During the war the Royal Engineers of Staple Hall annexed the schools as class rooms of their own and until the Depot was dismantled, only the Military had right of entry to the buildings.

15/02/1921 - As from February 1st, Mr. Melton would be the new headmaster at the Bletchley Road schools.

22/02/1921 - Mr. Edgar Farwell, son of Mr. Richard Farwell of Victoria Road, Fenny Stratford, has been presented with the Royal Humane Society's honorary testimonial, for saving a boy from drowning, in the summer of 1919. Some schoolboys were under the care of Mr. Shardlow, headmaster, whilst bathing at the public bathing place, when one of the boys got into difficulties. Mr. Farwell dived in fully clothed and rescued him. Serving with the Navy, Mr. Farwell was presented with the award aboard HMS Monarch, a Dreadnought, in front of the assembled ship's company.

19/04/1921 - Mr. Riley, architect for the Bletchley Road Schools submitted an estimate of £700 for repair and redecoration. It had been 11 years since the last decoration and 6 years since the last outside repair.

14/06/1921 - The managers of the Bletchley Road Schools met on Monday week. A letter had been received from the County Education Works Committee, agreeing to the proposed external repairs but not the internal work. They congratulated the managers on the high state of cleanliness. The structural repairs will have to wait until next year.

North Bucks Times 1923

13/03/1923 - Upset has been caused by the appointment of a young lady as Inspector of Physical Training by Bucks County Council and her arrival at the Bletchley Road Schools to inspect boys' PT. This had come at a time when teachers' salaries were being reduced and local male teachers, some with military service, felt well able to handle PT for boys.

12/06/1923 - A dispute has broken out over a matter at least 25 years old, concerning the holding of Sunday School treats during term time and in the middle of the week. On a recent occasion, Bletchley Road Council Schools found that 48 children were to be absent in the next day as the Old Bletchley treats was being held. There had been no application for permission and no notice.

09/10/1923 - Bletchley Road Council School managers considered the question of school dinners during the winter period. Dinners had been provided from the cookery class, which was to cease shortly. It was decided that, as any other arrangement would be at greatly increased cost, the supply of hot meals would have to end.

Managers rejected an initiative by the Headmistress, Miss Haring whereby a room in the Boys’ Department would be opened two evenings per week before the evening higher education classes, so that girls could assemble for “social intercourse”. A gramophone and typewriter would be provided. The managers decided that proper authority had not been sought and demanded an explanation.

North Bucks Times 1924

08/01/1924 - Mr. Melton head of Boys’ Dept. has resigned, upon his promotion as Head of a school at Slough.

12/02/1924 - A public meeting of the residents of Old Bletchley was called by the overseers and held in St Mary's Schools on Saturday evening, to consider a scheme for acquiring 1¾ acres adjoining the schools half an acre was to be taken by the school trustees and the rest to be used as a public recreation ground. Sir H. Leon presided. The land belonged to Mr. Tranfield and his price for the half acre was 1/3d per sq. yd. The cost would total £150 for the school portion and £250 gross for the rest. A payment of £20 would retain the site for 6 months.

11/03/1924 - At a meeting of the Managers of Bletchley Road Council Schools, the Education Committee sanctioned the purchase of a new lawnmower.

18/03/1924 - The committee appointed at the public meeting held in St. Mary's Schools, Old Bletchley, on Saturday week to negotiate for the purchase of an acre and a quarter of land, which they proposed to use as a public recreation ground for the parish, has met Mr. G. Tranfield, the owner of the land. He consented to give 6 months option without asking for a deposit.

23/12/1924 - At an Old Bletchley public parish meeting it was agreed to purchase land adjoining the schools from Mr. Tranfield for use as a recreation ground. Sir Herbert Leon presided. This was agreed, and trustees appointed. Mr. Tranfield wished to include a clause forbidding football matches, on account of language disagreeable to neighbours and this was agreed. The financial position was said to be favourable with assets and promises totalling £369 towards overall costs of £500.

Bletchley Road Schools were closed on 4th December upon a fatal outbreak of diphtheria, and were not to reopen until 5/1/25.

Bletchley Gazette 1950

28/01/50 - There was local concern at the lack of progress in building new schools in Buckinghamshire, and at the cost when compared with other counties. It was suggested also that Bucks County Council were giving unfair priority to towns in the South of the County though this was denied: Slough was quoted as an example where school conditions had worsened greatly since pre-war.

1950's onwards - EXPANDING BLETCHLEY'S NEED FOR NEW SCHOOLS - by John Taylor

In April 1950 the Bletchley Park Training College, which had been established under the scheme for the emergency recruitment of teachers, completed its second and final course as an emergency college, and thereon would continue as a permanent 2 year college for the training of teachers, for classes of children aged between 5 and 11. In fact a school was now proposed for 240 children - primary, junior and infants - in Water Eaton and it was also decided that Holne Chase would now become a junior school for 160 children, complete with a headmaster's flat.

With Mrs. J. Smith soon to be appointed the new head of Bletchley Infants' school, from a teaching position at Wing, there were now plans for a new Infants' school for the Manor Farm estate at a cost of 42,576 pounds for 240 children.

1951 - There were now 1591 children attending the 5 schools in the town, because of which Bletchley Road Junior School was using not only their own premises but also the upstairs and downstairs of the Spurgeon Baptist Sunday school, as well as St. Martin's Hall and the Bletchley Road Methodist hut.

1952 - New schools in the town were now being proposed and Mr. William Crisp was appointed as head of the new Water Eaton Junior School, his previous role being taken by Mr. A. Snaith. Mr. Crisp had come to Bletchley as headmaster of the Bletchley County Junior school, when the junior school was created on the reorganisation of the old senior and infant schools in 1938, and with his present appointment several of the staff and almost half of the pupils would also transfer to the Water Eaton school in September, leaving Bletchley Road as a much depleted educational establishment.

Wilton County Secondary School officially opened in May 1954. The following month the Saints Junior School, which had already been open for several months, then held its first open day.

Another appointment would be that of Mr. H. Fielding as deputy headmaster of the Saints school. The only Bletchley born member of the staff, he had taught at the school since it opened, having previously taken classes for a number of years at Enfield.

The Saints Estate having been completed in 1954 at a cost of £650,000, found that by October 1955 the new school was already crowded and a ban would now be imposed throughout Bletchley on any infants attending school before they reached the age of 5.

In June 1956 several new teachers joined the Grammar School including as senior mistress, Miss F. Marrison, previously senior mistress at Aylesbury Grammar School, would teach history; whilst as arts mistress Miss K. Fryer, the daughter of Councillor E. Fryer, came from a teaching position at Northampton. Mr. J. Shakestaff, who lived at Wolverton and taught at the William Ellis School in London, would be science master and Mr. R. Willis, a teacher at Wolverton Grammar School, became the English and history master. Mr. F. Allen, teaching at Stony Stratford Secondary Modern and locally renowned as a meteorologist, would be geography master and Mr. Pilcher, on his return to Bletchley from studying at Loughborough College, would be games master. Vice captain of Leicester University Rugby XV, Mr. J. Sanderson was to be the new French master and Mr. G. Shire, presently teaching in London, would be the math's master.

In order to cope with the pressure for places, the Rickley Lane Junior School opened during the year 1959.

New staff were now being appointed for the Grammar School and so too was Mr. W. Storey as caretaker, who with his wife had previously been caretaker at a secondary modern school in Clare, Suffolk, for 5½ years. Before then he had been a member of the production team at the de Havilland aero engine works at Edgware.

In July 1962 Mr. A. Bennett, the woodwork master of the Bletchley Road Secondary school for the past 30 years retired and returned to his native Wales.

The new tower block at the Grammar School was opened on December 3rd 1962. There now being some 530 pupils, as opposed to 151 when the school first opened.

By 1963 there were over 3889 pupils attending the 12 schools in the town and at the beginning of the summer term 60 extra children were expected to start school at Bletchley. In order to accommodate this influx, one of the older classes at the Castles Infants School would be held at Bletchley Road Infants school and with classes at Warwick Road Methodist church and St. Andrew's Baptist church increased, the remaining children were admitted to the Castles Infants School; the contractors being Winston Hayes of Biggleswade.

In June Norman Fisher, chairman of the B.B.C. television programme The Brains Trust opened the White Spire School, the name of which arose from the steel spire that surmounted a copper roof.

As one of the schools having to cope with the new population, when lessons began at the Rivers Infants School in Trent Road at the end of January 1964, work was still being carried out due to progress being hampered by the severe weather of the previous winter.

From January 1965 the education authorities were wrestling with other problems for despite admitting 270 pupils, the Denbigh Secondary school had not been completed.

On Saturday afternoon, June 18th 1966, Mgr. Leo Parker (Appointed as the Bishop of Northampton in 1940) laid the foundation stone of Bletchley's first Roman Catholic School, situated off St. Mary's Avenue. The cost would be about £77,000 and the school intended to accommodate some 280 primary school children.

On the first day of the autumn term 1967 St Thomas Aquinas Primary, the first Roman Catholic school in the town, opened.

Top /Return to Timeline