The opening of the All-Age Council School, 1910:
In 1902 Balfour's Education Act raised the school-leaving age to 14 years. School Boards, which were run on a parochial basis, were replaced by the more county-based Local Education Authorities. The Board Schools were renamed Council Schools and the Voluntary Schools were renamed Non-Provided Schools, although they continued to receive aid from the rates and were supervised by the LEAs.
In Hungerford, a sweeping change was about to take place in 1910, when all the old voluntary schools were closed in the summer, and were replaced by a single new All-Age Council School which opened in September 1910 for the start of the new school year.
The schools that closed included:
- the old National School in High Street,
- the British School in High Street,
- the Wesleyan School in Church Street, and
- the Infant National School, Eddington
The larger building was for the senior and junior children aged 6-14 years, and the smaller building to the left was the Infant School for the 3-5 year olds.
The Council School was designed to the most modern standards, and had excellent facilities, including central heating, running water, and flush toilets - although the toilets which were housed in the playground, and often froze in the winter! These facilities, of course, were not as yet in many of the houses in Hungerford. There were many visitors to see the modern building.
Mr Caleb Camburn, Headmaster 1910-1921:
The first headmaster (for senior and junior children) was Mr Caleb Camburn, who had previously been Master at the Wesleyan School in Church Street. He devised the school motto "No Quest, No Conquest" and taught the boys metalwork and made the school's weathervane with them soon after the school opened. He never married, and lived at the home of Mr & Mrs Gibbons in Charnham Street. Mr. Camburn retired in 1921.
The Mixed School Log Book includes the following - the very first by Mr Caleb Camburn:
"School was opened on Monday morning 12th September 1910. At 8.50 the scholars were arranged in the playground according to their forms and marched to their places in the Hall."
The Infant Log Book for the school includes the following:
12th Sep 1910: Hungerford Council School opened. Infants Department commenced duty.
- Miss E. Davis - Trained Certificated Teacher (Headmistress)
- Miss EJ Sperring - Certificated Teacher
- Miss W. Waddington - Uncertificated Teacher
- Miss V. Sperring - Monitress
142 children were admitted during the week commencing 16th September.
The 1920 Kelly Directory stated that the school was designed for 594 pupils.
Miss Elizabeth Davis was appointed Mistress of the Infants in 1910. She was born 1882 in Gloucestershire, and went to reading University. During the First World War she married Mr Ernest Munford, who lived at 129 High Street, where he ran Hungerford Printing Works. They had one daughter Betty (who died 2009). Elizabeth Munford retired in 1927, and died aged 72 in 1954.
The older boys did gardening, and the older girls did dancing, and everybody had to act in the Christmas Concert Party.
Mr Camburn retired in 1921, and he was awarded MBE. He wrote the final chapter of Rev WH Summers' "The Story of Hungerford".
Major Owen Purdue Attewell, MC and bar, Headmaster 1921-1925:
He was succeeded by Major Owen Purdue (sometimes spelled Perdue) Attewell, MC and bar.
Additional information about Major Attewell (b. 1885) was kindly provided by Brian Sylvester, Aug 2018:
Many teachers became officers and some were decorated for their bravery. Owen Attewell, master at Welford Village School, volunteered in August 1915, joining the 4th Battalion RoyaFusiliers. By October 1915 he was a sergeant and was commissioned in 1916. By 1917 he was a major, subsequently winning an MC and bar. After the war he returned to teaching.
Supplement to the London Gazetter, 24 Sep 1918: For conspicuous gallantry and devoption to duty. During the night attack this officer was in command of the third line. He handled his Company with great skill, despatching outflanking parties to assist the two leading lines wherever held up. The mopping up and consolidation of the enemy front line posts, with which he was entrusted, was very thoroughly done under heavy shell fire. His coolness and cheerfulness contributed greatly to the success of the operation.
Supplement to the London Gazetter, 2 Dec 1918: For conspicuous gallantry and good leadership when temporarily in command of the Battalion. He personally superintended the joining up of his Battalion in the dark prior to an attack; and next day, when an attack was ordered on a further objective at short notice, he made a daring reconnaissance, which enabled him to make such excellent dispositions that the attack was an entire success. During the reconnaissance he captured a party of seven unwounded and three wounded prisoners.
He was a keen member of the masons - initiated into Hope Lodge 7 Feb 1922, and Founding Assistant Secretary at the consecration of Hungerford Lodge No 4748 in 1925.
(Owen Purdue Attewell was born 25 Jan 1885, and died 2 Sep 1971 at 22 Fifth Road, Newbury. He lived in Welford, Berkshire in 1911 (Census) In 1939 he appears to be the Headmaster of the Elementary School Blakemore End Road, Little Wymondley near Hitchin. Follow this to read his obituary in the Newbury Weekly News, 9 Sep 1971, kindly sent by Brian Sylvester, Sep 2018.) See also a short account of Major Attewell by Brian Sylvester, Sep 2018.
His entry on The Wardrobe Museum, Salisbury website includes: "9th Bn, Royal Berkshire Regiment - A sepia photograph of Sergeant Owen Attewell taken in 1915. He was not a career soldier but a pre-war school teacher being the master of Welford and Wickham school, located a few miles from Newbury. He started his war service at Welford, as a Special Constable but enlisted into the Royal Berkshire Regiment on the 14th August 1915. His potential for leadership was quickly spotted and by the 18th he was promoted to full corporal. By October the same year he was promoted to sergeant. He remained with the Battalion for a year receiving a Commission in 1916 into the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. By 1917 he had risen to the rank of Major and over the year that followed won a Military Cross and Bar. The finale to his army career was when he rode at the head of the 4th Fusiliers into Cologne. After the War he returned to Welford and his profession of teaching. In 1921 he took up the position of Master of Hungerford Council Elementary School. He is buried in the Parish Church Great Shefford Berkshire."
His headship lasted until 1925 when he resigned. The Senior Master looked after the school for about a year.
Mr R B Jeal, Headmaster 1927-1954:
In 1927 Mr RB Jeal was appointed Headmaster. He came from a similar post at Harwell village school. The number on roll at this time was about 360 children.
At about the same time (1927), Miss Letitia Colley was appointed Headmistress of the Infants' School. She came from Lewisham. There were about 100 on the infants' roll.
During the Second World War, a number of families came to live in Hungerford, and many eventually settled in the town.
In 1944 it was at long last recognised by the government that separate provision for secondary education of children aged 11-15 years was necessary. Where Grammar Schools existed, these were able to provide secondary education for those children who passed the entrance tests. In larger towns, many Technical Schools took children from 11 years. In smaller towns, Butler's Education Act of 1944 called for the building of new schools - which were to be called "Secondary Modern Schools". After the 2nd World War, priority for building the secondary modern schools was given to the large towns first.
Despite numbers growing in Hungerford's All Age Council School, it was a further 19 years before Lambourn and Hungerford, the last in Berkshire, received their new Secondary Modern School.
A form of re-organisation had taken place in the Newbury area in the early 1950s - in that children over the age of 11 years in the peripheral villages around Hungerford were sent to the Hungerford All-Age School for their secondary education. Thus children were transported daily from Kintbury, Inkpen, West Woodhay and Hungerford Newtown (under the Berkshire LEA), and from Ham, Shalbourne, Chilton Foliat and Little Bedwyn under the Wiltshire LEA.
Their village schools were therefore able to function as Primary Schools many years before Hungerford.
The school was already getting overcrowded - see "Classes in cookhouse - overcrowded Hungerford County School" - NWN, 4 Mar 1954
Mr Jeal retired in 1954 after 27 years as Headmaster. During his retirement he continued to live in the town, and he died in 1959 after just five years of retirement.
Diana Lane contacted the Virtual Museum (Sep 2018) to say that her father Arthur Lane taught at the school for two year, 1954-Summer 1956. He is shown in the photo of teacher in 1955.
Mr John Davies, Headmaster 1955-1979:
Mr John T Davies was appointed Headmaster, successor to Mr Jeal, in April 1955. He came from Deputy Headship at Portchester, Hampshire, after service in Secondary and Junior schools in Hampshire and the City of Southampton. There were 410 Junior and Senior pupils on the register.
Miss Colley retired on 20th December 1957 as Headmistress of the Infant School after 30 years service. The post of Headmistress was abolished, & the Infant School became a department under the Headmastership of Mr Davies. Mrs K Kittel was appointed Mistress-in-charge of Infants in 1958 & remained in that post until 1962. (Mrs Kittel was born in London & came to Hungerford in 1947. She trained as a Science teacher & taught in Africa for a time. She lived at 12 Bridge St. with her husband Mr Paul Kittel who had been a General Surgeon at Barts Hospital, London).
The old National School building in the High Street was used for Domestic Science teaching, woodwork and for accommodating one or two junior classes from time to time.
Mr. Davies remained responsible for the three departments until the re-organisation in 1963, when the total number of children (5-15 years) on the register was 585, of which 120 were infants (5-7yr), 160 were juniors (7-11yr) and 3O5 were seniors (11-15yr). There were 22 members of staff. The highest number on the register between 1958 & 1963 was 626 children.
An internal Leaving Certificate was devised for the Seniors during this time, many pupils moving on to Technical Courses at Newbury College at the age of 15 years.
The school produced two outstanding athletes at this period. One was Angela Savoury who was to become an International High Jumper, a contemporary of Mary Rand.
The opening of John O'Gaunt School, Jan 1963:
At last, in January 1963, the long awaited new John O' Gaunt Secondary Modern School in Priory Road was opened, allowing 290 senior children to be transferred from the Hungerford All-Age School. The immediate effect was that the All-Age School could function only as the Hungerford Primary School for Juniors & Infants. There were 310 pupils on the roll, with a headmaster and ten staff.
The Hungerford & Lambourn Schools were the second to last schools in Berkshire to be re-organised. Priority had been given to provide new schools in more densely populated areas first, such as Maidenhead, Windsor, Abingdon and Didcot, and the new town which was being established at Bracknell.
Follow this link for more on the Hungerford Primary School.
The Punishment and Exclusion Books:
At least two Punishment Books survive (held in the Primary School archive). They date from Apr 1921 - Mar 1957 and Mar 1957 - Feb 1979. The Exclusion Book from Jan 1937 - 1946 also survives.
In the early pages of the Punishment Book (1921), offences were recorded such as disobedience, telling lies, poking out tongue to teacher, throwing stones, continued talking, playing laughing and pushing in lines, fighting (but spoke the truth), inattention, truant, impertenance, sulkiness, blotting another boys' book, and "saying wicked things about another girl".
By 1941 the offences included throwing stones, stealing bus tickets, firing a cap in school, fooling about, not puting away steps, fighting, breaking ruler, breaking ruler, smashing boxes, and going to Croft in dinner hour.
In 1951 were recorded going down town during dinner hour, playing truant, going along to shop, smoking in dinner hour, laughing, throwing paper, laughing, swearing, stealing gooseberries, going to fish shop during play time, deflating tyres, and simply "hooligans"!
The record for 1961 includes the following offences (with the number of strokes of the cane): bullying (4), playing truant (2) brutal fighting (2) out of bounds (2), insolence to Mrs McCready (2), improper behaviour (2), insolence to Mr Rowe (4), breaking window (3), shocking work (2) pushing Susan Smith off school bus so that she injured her knee (4), swinging on trees (1), smoking (2), and evading written work by bandaging his hand when there was nothing wrong with it (2)!
In Feb 1979 the then headmaster Mr Davies wrote in the Punichment Book: "It has not been necessary to use corporal punishment in the school for a number of years. Loss of priveleges, the setting of extra work in break times - these are measures which meet with success, in keeping the discipline firm, together with the more positive policy of discipline by consent arising from mutual concern between teacher and taught, and respect for one another." [Excellent sentiment - HLP]
Reasons for exclusion included nits, scabies, verminous head, spot on R tonsil, ringworm on neck, impetigo and filthiness.
- New All-Age Council School, 1910. The builder's shed and board can be seen to the left of the main building.
- "The Schools" , 1910 [Collier 1048] [MERL / DM]
- Infant School, c.1912-1918
- Senior & Junior School Building showing boys and girls segregated, c1910.
- The All-Age Council School, c1910
- The playground, c1910
- Winifred Waddington (later a teacher at the All-Age Council School), c1900.
- The Infant School group photo, (undated, c1911?)
- Miss Elizabeth Davies, seated
- Commerative Card on Mr Camburn's Retirement, 1921.
- Commerative Card on Mr Camburn's Retirement, 1921 (from Moya Dixon).
- Council Schools, c1913.
- Class II gardening. Teacher Miss Waddington. [Albert Parsons]
- Class II gardening, 1913. Teacher Miss Waddington. [Albert Parsons]
- All-Age Council School, Class II gardening, teacher Miss Waddington, c1913 [Albert Parsons]. (Kindly loaned by Mrs Mary Gent, Aug 2018)
- Class II gardening, 1913. Teacher Miss Waddington. Miss Tyler (later Mrs Barr) nearest corner of fence; Dolly Andrews (2nd from left) next Kath Hawkes; Winnie Clements in front of D Andrews; Miss Waddington, teacher; Edwina Hedges to the right of Miss Tyler; Gwen Cole extreme right; Reg Whiscombe seated with net. [Albert Parsons]
- Class III - open air with pet rabbits. Teacher Miss Sperring. [Albert Parsons]
- School Flower Show (undated) [Albert Parsons]
- Hungerford Infant School, Group I, ?c1921
- Class at Infant School, c1921 (Atherton Crescent in background)
- School football team, c1925 (Bert Champ back row, middle).
- Council School's Boys Football Team, 1924-25, when they won the Hill Cup. Mr Hobbs, Mr Attwell (headmaster) and Vic Tanner are the teachers shown.
- Boys gardening, c1925
- Concert Party, 1930 [Albert Parsons]
- Hungerford Council School Concert Party, 1931 [Albert Parsons]
- Hungerford Council School Concert Party, 1931 [Albert Parsons]
- Hungerford Council School Concert Party, c1932
- Boys' Cricket Team, c1938. Back row L-R: William Thorne (Ass head), Jimmy Chislett, Lew Spencer, Sidney Hull, Les Savory, John Marchant, Mr R B Jeal (Headmaster), Sid "Timber" Wood; Middle row: Alan Peachey, Les Wilcox, Robert North, Ken Huntley; Front: Doug Cox, Ron Bailey, William Ralph.
- Girls' Hockey Team, 1946
- Class photograph, inc Mr Jeal. "48" written on reverse, ?1948.
- Class photograph c1950? (Kindly donated by Muriel Vellender). Back row: 1. wife of Tony Gibbs; 5 Yvonne Vellender (nee Bennett); 8 Julia Stride (evacuee); 10 Penelope Ducker; Mr Jeal. Row 3: 4. Richard Hart; 5 Tony Gibbs; 6 Kenneth Greenaway. Row 2: 1. Monica Smith; 2. Myra Wells?; 4. Mr Priestley (teacher); 5. Rosemary Hassall.
Front row: 3. Gordon Wordley; 4. Brian Bailey.
- Mr R Jeal, photographed by John Balcombe Dec 1954. Mr Jeal was headmaster 1927 - 1955. (Original in Primary School Collection)
- All-Age Council School teachers, 1955. Back: Mr Williams, Arthur Lane, Beryl Morgan,??, ??, ??, Eric Priestley (Deputy head), ??, ??. Front: Frank Light, John Balcombe, John Davies HM, Mrs Balcome, Joan Pounds.
- All-Age Council School teachers, 1959. Back: ??, Eric Priestley, John Davies, ??, Frank Light. Front: Marjorie Eatwell, ??, Jill Newcombe, ??, Beryl Morgan, Joan Pounds.
- All-Age Council School teachers, 1964. Back: Helen Howlett, Eric Priestley, Ruth Mills, George Halliday. Front: Hazel Ralph, Marjorie Eatwell, John Davies HM, Joan Pounds, Cicely Fothergill.
"Sonner" North's recollections:
Alfred "Sonner" North was aged 12 years when he moved from the Wesleyan School in Church Street to the new All-Age School. He was therefore amongst the first pupils at the school. He remembered Mr Camburn as "very strict and austere". His first teacher was Miss Winkworth (her sister ran the corner shop in Eddington), and she called Alfred "wauf" then "wauffit" - and the nickname stuck! His next teacher was Miss Pickett, then Mr Bob Weaving who was killed in the First World War. Mr Pocock taught him in the top class. This master left to go into the army (Major Pocock). Alfred North remembered all the children having to go home to lunch (in his case to Myrtle Cottage, Wantage Road, Eddington - a 2-bedroom cottage with 11 children!). His father worked for Mr Wiggins, the blacksmith in Eddington. Alfred has been born in George Willis' house, 6 Oxford Street, Eddington in 1898, and lived there until aged 3 years, when they moved to Myrtle Cottage.
Alfred left school in 1912 aged 14 years, and went to work at Alexander's, delivering groceries, before joining the army and fighting in France for four years. He married in 1919 Miss May Pike (nanny to the three Pinckney daughters at Hidden Cottage) at Bath on Christmas Day, along with 18 other couples! Alfred and May lived at 4 Atherton Crescent since their marriage. Alfred worked all his life as a bricklayer.
Joan Pounds recollections:
Mrs Joan Pounds (late of Flat 18, Homemill House, New Milton, Hampshire) wrote in Jan 1993: "I taught at Hungerford All-Age School, until 1963, except for one year from July 1949 to June 1950.
I also ran the local branch of the County Library on Wednesday evenings from 1942 to 1956. When I took over from Miss Higgins in 1942, the Library was still held in the old National School, and continued so throughout the war years. It had only about 70 members at the time, and it was very eerie after everyone had gone and I was left to lock up in the blackout.
While I was absent for the year '49-'50 Miss Vera Cleverley kindly took over. Later, in about 1953, it was moved to a room in one of the houses near the Canal Bridge owned by Mr Hugh Dopson, who also owned the draper's shop opposite. Because it then became much more widely used, there was often a queue along the corridor and out into the street. It was a relief when Berkshire decided to open it more often and applied for a paid librarian. I was called to a meeting of the Trustees in 1955 and presented with a cheque which was added to by Berkshire County Council which enabled me to buy a gold watch worth £10. 10s. 0d. at the time and which is still in action.
As a result of being librarian, I became a member of the Social Committee, which met several times a year, and especially before Christmas, to allocate supplies of coal and / or groceries to deserving people in the town. Other members included, I think, Mr Bert Bushnell and Jack Williams' father. I can remember at one stage asking for a set of shelves to display the books as they were kept in padlocked boxes which were very heavy to lift. After much persuasion a kind of Welsh dresser was bought at one of Neate's sales.
Marjorie mentioning Mrs Kimble reminded me of a Mr White who also operated as a milkman, but from Church Street. As I lodged at the time in Prospect Road, I did not appreciate the fact that his cows made the trek from the dairy to the meadow in the lane at the back of the Angel Inn.
My wartime identity card reminds me that I did A.R.P. duty in the old National School, on Saturday afternoons, in 1943, but I do not remember the building being closed for long and later the first school dinners were served there."
A War Memorial on the wall in what was the Main Hall of the Junior School lists former pupils of Hungerford Schools who gave their lives in the two World Wars.
1910-21 Mr Caleb Camburn
1921-25 Major O P Attewell
1927-54 Mr R B Jeal
1954-79 Mr John Davies
Headmistress of Infants' School:
1910-27 Miss E Davies (later Mrs Munford)
1927-58 Miss Letitia Colley
Mistress in charge of Infants:
1958-74 Mrs K Kittel