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Lamberhurst School History


Compiled by Barbara Uren, 2005, from information gathered from W.Morland's book ‘LAMBERHURST SCHOOL’ 1970, School Log Books from 1895 – 1963 and various items held by Lamberhurst Local History Society. The photographs are reproduced courtesy of the Lamberhurst Local History Society Archive.

This early photograph of School Hill is the first of a series of photographs taken early one morning in 1862. Note the height of the tower, the clock facing the road and the north gable end facing down the lane. This stage of the tower was raised in 1850 and the weathervane on top was made next door in the Forge by the blacksmith, Charles Haskell.

The Rev.Robert Hawkins, Vicar of Lamberhurst, obtained the site for a ‘Sunday School’ from Mr. Thomas Calverley of Ewell Castle who, as a member of the ‘National Society for promoting the education of the poor, in accordance with the principles of the Established Church’, gladly gave it.
After Charles Prickett, of the George Inn, had been persuaded to remove his hayrick the first school consisting of two rooms for 70 boys and 50 girls was begun.
William Alexander Morland – Court Lodge
Edward Hussey - Scotney Castle
Rev. Robert Hawkins - Vicar of Lamberhurst

Sunday School began, Sundays being the only day free for children to attend school.

The building of two rooms was completed, at a cost of £396. 6s. 6d. The ‘Day School’ began. The first pupil was admitted on the 22nd October. Teachers were Samuel and Ann Beasley who, lived in and had taught the children from the Poor House (Charity Cottages). Their salary was £20 p.a. for teaching on Sundays. Day School pupils were charged 1d, 2d or 3d a day.

W.A.Morland died and left £200 for the School. His heir William Courtney Morland and the rest of the family decided to make the building into a worthy memorial to him.

A second storey was added and also a Master's House with Dutch Gables, Tower Stairway, and (the first) clock. Charles Haskell made the weathervane, next door in the Forge. The first to live in the new Schoolhouse were Mr & Mrs. Joseph Newington, Headmaster & Mistress of the Boys and Girls Schools, always referred to as “The Schools” (Ground floor – Boys School & First floor - Girls School). Mr Newington was also Parish Clerk, Church Sexton and Organist.

W.C.Morland also built an Infants School on the other side of the road known as “Mrs Moreland’s Infants School”. The attached Teachers House was named Caroline Cottage after her. (Now ‘Autumn End’.) It closed in 1877 when the Education Act made it unnecessary, and it became the ‘Working Men’s Club’ or ‘The Institute’.

The School c1863 with the Forge and Wheelwrights next door. Note the raised tower, new clock and lack of a porch. .

At some point prior to 1877 an additional 15 feet was added to the tower and a double-faced turret-clock, made by G.F. Vale of London and dated 1863, was added.

school clock
Clock by G.F. Vale of London, dated 1863


A new wing was added at the north end to match the existing Master's House. The Dutch Gable was rebuilt, to face east and the main London to Hastings road, instead of north, down School Lane. Mr & Mrs Newington left in March.


Mr Jeff and boys
Mr. Jeffrey and Boys. First school photo 1878

Frederick Jeffery, aged 22, and his wife were appointed Headmaster and Mistress, for a joint salary of £120 plus the Master's House. Mrs Henley, who lived in the Village, was appointed Headmistress of the newly amalgamated Infants School, at a salary of £60 p.a. The Boy's School was downstairs and the Girl's School upstairs with the Infants sharing the Girl's Department and divided by a curtain. The school leaving age was 10.

Mrs jeff and henley
Mrs. Jeffrey, Mrs. Henley and the Girls' School


Henry Burrows from Broadway, Worcestershire, aged 19, was appointed Assistant Teacher of the Boys School. (He was organist at St.Mary’s Church for 57 years and a talented artist and photographer.)
Children’s Pence abolished.

Mrs Jeff and Burrows c1880
Mr. Jeffrey, Mr. Burrows and boys c.1880

A new separate Infant's School, for 120 children, was completed. It was built by Padgham’s the Builders of Lamberhurst at a cost of £577. (Later the School Hall)
The Playground was for girls and infants only - boys played in the road outside!


The School c1890
Note the front porch, raised dormer windows and north gable end now turned to face the main road. The trees on the bank opposite were planted in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee with the Victoria Walk (or Avenue) pathway constructed behind them.

Henry Burrows retired to take up Photography full time.

Headmaster, Frederick Jeffery died aged only 46. George Waters became Headmaster. His first entry in the School Log reads:-
“Being a Bank Holiday, attendance was low.”

Mrs Waters, wallace and boys
Mr. Waters, Mr. Wallis and the Boys' School

There were 323 pupils on roll, 109 boys, 119 girls and 95 infants.

school from back
This photograph is included courtesy of Robert Dancy.

The school leaving age was raised to 14.
Live ammunition was given to schoolboys for use in the Rifle Range in the Brewery Tunnels!

The name was changed from ‘National Schools’ to ‘Church of England Schools’.

Dustbins were provided in place of the ‘Ash Pit’.

Mr Charles Wallis, Assistant Schoolmaster and a former pupil, volunteered in October. (He returned in 1917 minus a leg, lost when he was wounded in the trenches. His brother, Frederick, also a former pupil was killed in action.)
The School Garden was in operation, receiving glowing reports and congratulations to the School and Headmaster.

The Girls'School 1914. Mrs. Jeffrey on the left.

girls sch1914

Henry Burrows returned, aged 55, to ‘help out’ due to the War and a shortage of teachers.

Mrs Jeffery and Mrs Henley (whose son, Thomas, a former pupil, was killed in action) retired together after 38 years service.
Henry Burrows completed an Illuminated Roll of Honour of 147 former pupils now serving. (We don’t know what happened to it and would love to hear of its whereabouts?)

33 former pupils are named on our Roll of Honour.

The Memorial Cross was erected on the bank opposite the Schools where so many of the fallen had spent their boyhood years.

The Schools became a Mixed School with 196 pupils. The Headmaster was George Waters with Assistants Mrs Waters and Henry Burrows.

The Kent Messenger took children’s photographs.

Henry Burrows retired- again.

George Waters retired after 35 years: “If Jeffrey took over a backward school and left a sound one, George Waters took over a sound school and left an outstanding one.”
A local man, Edward John Noakes becomes Headmaster.

The schools celebrate 100 years.

Lamberhurst became a reception area for evacuees. 120 children, 11 Teachers and 4 helpers were admitted from Conway Road School, Plumstead in September, followed by hop-pickers’ children and many others. Many got homesick or were missed by their parents and so drifted back home.

October 16th - there was a “German Bomber overhead from 1.05pm till 1.30pm”. All the children were in the shelter (cellars under the Forge) until fighters attacked and drove it away.
November 11th - Two minutes silence was observed at 11am in the shelter.
There were ‘red’ alerts almost daily, dog fights overhead, bombs falling and planes shot down.

The School had 60 ‘native’ and 16 evacuated boys and 56 ‘native’ and 17 evacuated girl pupils. Court Lodge housed the evacuated boys of Kings School Rochester. A school canteen opened in ‘The Institute’. Air Raid Shelters were begun on the school premises by Mr A.Padgham’s firm. In September the remaining evacuated pupils were absorbed into Lamberhurst School. Mr R.C.Pearse of Conway Rd. School joined the Staff.

Jan 9th – Soldiers were billeted in ground floor rooms for the night.
May 13th – The new shelters were wired for electricity.
Dec 1st – A further 20 rods of Allotment were taken over by the school.

The name was changed to Lamberhurst Church of England Junior Mixed and Infant School. Seeds arrived for planting in the school garden and canteen allotment. The senior boys were now cultivating more that ¾ of an acre.

Feb 12th – At 9.30am “An enemy parachute mine landed. The blast broke 13 windows and caused ceiling plaster to fall. The Chief ARP Warden was notified. The Rescue and Demolition Squad cleared the broken glass, patched the windows.”
June 16th – “2 windows were broken by bombing at 8am. All children kept on ground floor or in shelters owing to bombing.”
June18th - “3 more windows broken by Pilotless Bombs.”
July 3rd – “30 children kept away by parents through fear of gun-fire. Many splinters fell on roof & playground.”
July 4th – “Another window broken by pilotless-bomb blast.”
July 10/11th – “More windows broken by pilotless-bomb blast.”
Due to the ‘Doodlebugs’ Lamberhurst became an ‘Evacuation Area’ and several children left for Wales. At least thirteen 'Doodlebugs' fell in the Parish.
Aug 11th – “Flying bomb explosion caused tiles to fall from the clock-tower.”
Aug 25th – “Several roof tiles broken & displaced by flying bomb.”
Dec 7th – “Bomb damage repairs to school roof finished & scaffolding removed.”
Dec 12th – Evacuated children returned from Wales, some with Welsh accents!

The school closed for 2 days for “Victory in Europe.”

PC Fright – visited and gave the children a talk on ‘Road Safety’.

A Radio and three load-speakers were installed. Mr. Edward John Noakes retired after 17 years.

Site for a new school proposed at “the back of Sand Road” (Pearse Place was not constructed until 1963.)

J.A. Stuart-Black took over as Headmaster. May 28th – Two-day holiday for Coronation of H.M.Queen Elizabeth 2nd.
June 4th – Report – beginning of the end for the School Garden.

A photographer arrived and took individual photographs, photographing 90 children in 15 minutes!

“Lease of the School Garden came to an end today–with the departure of most of the seniors to Paddock Wood School the purpose of the garden disappears.”
The main chimney stack was taken down and rebuilt. (in a different style.)

September 11th – “Reorganisation complete. We are now a Primary School with Infants & Juniors only.” Roll 91 – 65 present. Mrs Hickman, daughter of George Waters presented the School with the ‘Waters Cup.’

The Road Crossing Patrol uniform and sign were delivered.
June 29 – Mr Farmer began his duties as School Crossing Patrol.
The ‘Waters Cup’ was to be presented for ‘School Work’.

school 1960
The school and forge c1960

The firm of H.Luck of East Peckham began building the new Canteen. Meals were delivered from Cranbrook Junior School and served in the old canteen premises (Mrs Morlands Infants School/ The Institute/Boy’s Club)

The first meal was prepared in new kitchen.

Leaks were reported in the concrete roofs of the air-raid shelters.
(Logbooks end.)

Money raised by Parent Teacher Association provided the School with a Swimming Pool.

The school celebrated its 150th Anniversary. Class 3 were “evacuated” to the Hall due to the collapse of their ceiling.

The school swimming pool was removed.

School Clock weights – “Electrified; courtesy Mr K.McAlpine” . (The last person to wind the weights by hand was John Uren.)

After over 170 years of education on this site the School moved to new premises in Pearse Place.

The Old School is converted to five residential apartments with the planning condition: - “Village Clock to be kept maintained and kept in working order.”