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Home History The Old School

The Old School

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2 Green End [map]

The school and its gardens occupy the site of the former Bell's Close.

"The first mention of a schoolroom in Landbeach occurs in 1639, when there was a schoolhouse with a piece of land attached to it which was maintained by the parish. In 1678 in an account of a Parochial Visitation, the Lady Chapel was being used as a school. Robert Masters' will in 1798 provided a cottage for the schoolmistress. By 1861 the cottage had been extended but as William Clay wrote "two rooms have been added on in the rear, at the expense of Mr. Tinkler, but even with this enlargement of the building, there is not more than sufficient accommodation for the village school and the residence of the schoolmaster and schoolmistress." So in 1868, "a rood of land was taken from Bell's Close for a school site, and the remainder divided into eight allotments at 10/- each a year, and two ditto at 7/6 a year." A year later, the school and schoolhouse were built at a cost of £600, the money being raised by subscription. They were built in less than six weeks by Mr. George Unwin and his brother John who worked from four in the morning until dark to finish in time. The school was simply one large room (five metres by nine metres) rather poorly lit and of single storey. The schoolhouse was of two storeys with three bedrooms upstairs, two in the cross wing and the third over the scullery. Downstairs, apart from the scullery, there was a sitting room and a kitchen. The school was very skilfully extended to the north some seven years later to meet the requirements of Foster's Education Act.

About sixty children attended the school and Miss Jane Smith was the Schoolmistress. Some controversy then ensued with the School Board who had declared the school inefficient and it was to be closed as the schoolmistress was not certificated and the desks were not of the correct type. After intervention by the Rector, The Rev. Bryan Walker, a compromise was reached whereby the schoolmistress was granted a certificate after a successful examination. New desks were purchased and the school was allowed to proceed.

The school remained in use until 1965 when the pupils were transferred, against much opposition from the villagers, to the new Primary School at Waterbeach and the Village College at Cottenham. The buildings stood empty until 1969 when they were purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Hawley who converted them into a pleasant modern home without altering the front elevation."

Reproduced, with permission, from Lynn, Historical Landbeach.

Last Updated on Sunday, 09 February 2014 15:14  

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