John Hartley Primary School – Hartley’s educational history before 1812 We can get some idea of literacy from the marriage registers, where the couple and a witness had to sign the register. The table below contains an analysis of the registers from 1775-1812. Spouses not from the parish of Hartley are not included, but all the witnesses are – some of them will not be from Hartley, but you can’t tell.
The “companion” figures may be a better indicator of learning, as there is some evidence that literate people were chosen as witnesses – for example, Francis Treadwell of Fairby Farm appears several times as a witness. Hartley Primary School There was no school in Hartley in 1818, but some children were sent by subscription to a nearby school (?Ash, founded 1735). A Sunday School was started in 1829 and this is still true of the Parliamentary Inquiry of 1834 which found that Longfield had a Sunday School, Fawkham had 2 day schools 32 and a Sunday School had 20 and Ash had 4 day schools. and 2 Sunday schools (C of E and Baptist). In the school list of 1831, there are 22 children who were in school at that time. The winner of the annual award was Thomas Deane, who became a carpenter and wheelwright and lived at Bay Lodge in Ash Road. (Hartley Parish Magazine, March 1926). But the locals wanted a proper school, so Fawkham, Hartley and Longfield decided to join forces to pay for a school for 70 children in 1841. The first school building was thatched. The owner of Middle Farm (William Smith-Masters of Camer) sold them the green in 1841 for £2 and the school cost £135 to build. The site of the school was small – only 44 meters by 22 meters. Some of this money came from local people and some from the Church of England National Society for Education, as it was a church school at the time. Press reporting on church and education in the 1840s suggests that it was as much about social control as it was about improving the working class masses. In 1841, a teacher’s house was also built, the cost of 35 pounds was covered by the government. It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but remember, today’s sliced loaf can be bought for three times as much as 4p, while milk cost ½ a penny a pint and a farm laborer’s wages were 51p a week. We can compile a list of directors from 1841 from various sources. Especially in the census. 1841 James Cox, 451 851 Maria Jones, 421 861 Maria Jones (also Kellys 1867) 1871 Fanny and Rebecca Drace, sisters 1881 Mary Nellingham, 24 (also 1882, Florence Kellys 1882) 1891 Floreence 4 Emilys, Crown, a Florence Kellys 1882 1903)1911 Miss Ella Rose Bragger (also Kellys 1913) 1914 Miss Margaret Theresa Fiddis1944 Miss Dorothy Barnes1970 Mr Alan Connick 1870 Compulsory. It was only in 1891 that public education became free. A lady who studied here in the 1850s recalled that on Sundays the children would walk in pairs from school along the green to Hartley Church. In winter they were given red clothes to be the best Sunday, and in summer white calico cloaks and straw cloaks. There is another excellent account of the school between 1912 and 1917 in West Kent Within Living Memory (West Kent Federation of WIs, Maidstone, 1995). Along with the school, there was a neighboring house where the teacher lived. School around 1907 The school was expanded in 1893 and partially rebuilt in 1907. In 1907, Mr. Inspector. Philips was convinced that the Reverend Bancks, as Chairman of the Governors, would do all he could to frustrate the necessary repairs (“The vicar, if possible, will stop to the last”), but was eventually persuaded by the Diocese and the Diocese. the board’s threat to close the school. if something doesn’t happen. A new, large school hall was built, the old room was grassed over and used as a canteen and physical education. There were also new playgrounds, restrooms and changing rooms. As the population grew, the school had to be expanded again in 1936, 1957 and 1962. The map shows the approximate expansion of the site since 1841 (pink), 1893 (green), 1907 (yellow) and 1957 (blue). The base map is a large 1/2500 Ordnance Survey map from 1965. Anne Humble, who attended the school in the 1960s, has written about her memories of the old school, along with a photo of the school taken shortly after it closed around 1968. We entered the school through the door shown in the picture. We sat in rows facing the blackboard on the far wall. In the lower left corner was a coal or coke boiler. In winter, they put our three-pint milk bottles in the boiler to warm up. I think the last school [for adults] was in 1963/1964 because I went to Round Ash Way School in 1964/1965. Mrs. Barnes was the head teacher. There were 3 classes. A space divider separated the two. It can be pulled back, so we can create a larger room. Miss Drinkwater was one of the teachers, and perhaps Mrs. Pritchard or Mrs. Cox. We went to the Country Club to play summer rounds and take nature lessons. The third class was very new and had nothing to do with this building. The toilets were outside and we had to cross the playground in all weathers to use them (no one complained!). We played a lot with jump ropes during play and sometimes with balls or jacks. We knew many missing rhymes. We provided the ropes, balls and hoists from home. The chase was big again. We used to slide on the ice in winter. The food was served at lunchtime, but I went home with my sister and neighbors. In the last century there were two long-term headmistresses: Miss Fiddis from 1914 to 1944 and Miss Dorothy Barnes from 1944 to 1970. Writing in Hart in July 1970, Miss Barnes said that when she arrived there were “small, ill-equipped two-teacher schools” where classes were constantly interrupted by air raids. When the older children were replaced in 1946, their number dropped to 29, but by 1970 there were already 427 enrolled with 11 teachers. The new school at Round Ash Way opened in November 1968 with 7 senior classes. Babies followed at Easter 1969. Kent County Council spent £14,236 on Phase 2 improvements between 1968-70. The new Ash Green Primary opened in September 1971 with 320 places (Source: KCC – “Education in Kent 1970-1974”). Hartley Primary School was converted from a council-run school to a state-run school in 2013, which is taken over by the Leigh Academies Trust. The school currently has no governing body, but a “local development group” which advises the Longfield Academies Board as official governors. When the school was built in 1841, only 199 people lived in Hartley, today there are thousands. Numbers rose rapidly from a low point in 1946, with numbers first reaching 100 in 1959 (Hart May 1969). So the old school became too small and a new one was built in Round Ash Way (1965). The infants continued to use the old building until it closed for good in December 1968. The new school was officially opened by Professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College London, inventor of Maglev Railways. Hartley Kent: Hartley Primary School The old school was demolished and replaced by three new buildings facing the green. Other Schools Our Lady of Hartley RC was founded in 1942 by sisters who had been expelled from Alderney. The school was originally a wooden building on Woodland Avenue, but was replaced in 1976 by the current school on Stack Lane. It was converted into a school in 2014 as Hartley Primary is part of a trust that includes several academies, including Kent. Partnership of Catholic Schools. Steephill School – Founded by Miss Eileen Bignold in 1935 and now managed by the Educational Trust. There were old schools – this was an oppressive school for the sons of nobles, run by Mr. Stickland until the 1950s. One teacher here would be 1950s television presenter Gilbert Harding. There were also schools in the 1930s at Bonsalls in Church Road; Fairby High School, Stoep, Fairby Lane; and Merton House (now Amberley, Merton Avenue, run by former headmistress Mrs Cromar
John Hartley Primary School
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