‘Foundations for Life’
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Alderbury School, January 1858.
`Three rooms (1) 42 x 20 x 8 1/2 (2) 27 x 20 x 8 1/2 (3) 12 x 20 x 8 1/2. 115 scholars, mixed, under Master (certificated) and sewing mistress who teaches the little ones in an upper room. Three pupil-
The land on which the school was built was acquired by the Radnor Estate as a result of the Enclosure Award in 1809. Part of the mediaeval hall-
An extension was later added to the north-
Absenteeism was a problem for rural schools; haymaking, beating for rabbits, potato picking, collecting acorns, child-
During the latter part of the nineteenth century improvements continued to be made, financed by the Earl of Radnor. In 1867 the floor of the upstairs infants` classroom was removed, leaving a gallery. A new classroom was added downstairs. In 1887, the school was improved and enlarged to accommodate more children. In 1890, to the relief of many, the government abandoned the payment-
It was not until 1903 that a trust deed was drawn up for Alderbury School although it had been founded by the 3rd Earl of Radnor about half a century earlier, as already described. The deed confirmed that the school was let to the Vicar of Alderbury and his successors for one shilling a year for the education of children and adults of the labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes in the Parish of Alderbury. The school took children between the ages of 3 and 13 years and the vicar attended each week to take prayers and rehearse the pupils in the catechism in readiness for the annual diocesan inspection.
In 1909, a new playground was opened and the schoolroom gallery was removed in 1911.
It was over an issue of financing cloakroom improvements demanded by the County Council in 1929 that Lord Radnor made over the lease of the school to the local authority. So, for a nominal rent, Alderbury National School became a council school.
The school gained a well-
At the beginning of World War II, in September 1939, the school hosted as evacuees the whole of Portsmouth`s Lyndhurst Road Junior Boys` School and its teachers, plus some girls.The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel schoolroom was hired until the numbers reduced. Some Portsmouth boys stayed throughout the war.
Among its many reforms the 1944 Education Act made provision for public education to be organised in three progressive stages -
Around 1972, the school acquired a prefabricated mobile classroom sited at the corner of Folly Lane. With local help and grants, the Parent Teacher Association raised enough money to build an outdoor swimming pool near the mobile classroom, for the use of pupils.
Mr Smith the headmaster recalls: `Our pool was built during 1979 and I remember the cheer that went up on cup final Saturday when Bobby Stokes scored the goal for Southampton that won the Cup against Manchester United. Transistor radios told the story as we beavered away down a large rectangular hole. Over 20 men of assorted backgrounds gave their help during summer weekends...`
In 1989 the school acquired its first computers as primary schools nationwide came to grips with teaching the new and revolutionary information technology.
A new Alderbury and West Grimstead School was also becoming a reality. The school was scheduled for closure at Christmas 1992. In the last term, visits were arranged to the new building to meet future classmates and staff. However, as the time drew near, mounting excitement was ringed with great sadness at the realisation that, for Alderbury School, an era lasting a century and a half was at an end.
The Friends of Alderbury School commissioned a watercolour painting of the school, as did the West Grimstead PTA for their school. Fittingly, both paintings hang side by side in the new school.
The above is abridged from "Education", Chapter 13 of "ALDERBURY and WHADDON -