Updated: National School with more Headteachers

Plus some quotes from Mr Hall's Memory Book. Lent to me by Mrs Abbott

School Lane
Maypole 1914

Benfleet National School

In the 1840s the Reverend John Phelps, vicar of SOUTH BENFLEET , appealed for subscriptions to found a SCHOOL in the parish. The target of £420 reached, the premises built ‘near the village centre along a path leading to Canvey’.

Some of the Head Teachers

1851 -61     Mrs Elizabeth Freeman Mistress

1871           Miss Rosina Plowright Mistress

1878           Mr Walter Burt Master

1882           Miss Alice Bull Mistress                                       60 children male/female

1894           Mr John Sully Master                                           75 children male/female

1902           Mr William Clark Master                                       75 children male/female                                                             (Average attendance 62)

1913-26      Mr Robert Hall Master

Mr Hall trained to be a teacher at St Mary’s College Carnarvon, 1888 and 1889.

(Two years of labour now are past, For College days are o’er, And with mingled feelings of joy and grief, I Leave Carnarvon Shole)    Written: whilst sitting on the top of Carnarvon Castle, the day before leaving college. December 12th 1889 (Thursday afternoon)

(January 1890 First teaching post Grandborough National School, Nr. Rugby)

March 28th 1923 First year class of 23 pupils 5 to 7 years

George Beechey, Sidney Sutton, Albert Burnham, Stanley Jermyn, Sydney Coles, Arthur Chalkley, Victor Hare, Percy Bone, Fred Robinson, Leonard Chenery, (Winston Varry, left same morning) Henry Mock ridge, Fred Thorne, Wilfred  Wright, Fred Lees, Connie Griffith, Daisy Foley, Dorothy Whymark, Catherine Bailey, Edna Parker, Masie Gibbens, Violet Smith, Doris Pitts.

The names written by the children who would now be 93 to 95 or more years old, their names in the book may be incorrectly spelt or I may have misread them. They would have been some of the children who walk down the High Road to the new Benfleet Primary School in 1926.

What tales they could tell, the depression, the second world war, how basic life was when they were growing up in Benfleet.

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  • In my research for the Archive’s Exhibition on 8th March 2014 and having been given a photograph of children at the National School dated 1911, I needed to check that this may be the earliest photograph of South Benfleet’s schoolchildren in the Archive’s collection.   My aunt’s name, Edna Parker, appears to have been incorrectly listed in the article given above.   She was born on Christmas Eve in 1909 so she would have been older than the 5 to 7 years grouping as listed.

    In fact looking closely at the photograph of the maypole she is in the centre with her head to one side.  Taken in 1914 this would have made her 5 years old which fits the picture well.

    This newly acquired picture dated 1911 will be on display at the Exhibition.

    By John Downer (25/02/2014)
  • My Aunt, Ivy Finch from Essex Way, Benfleet went to this school, she was born in March 1918, so would have been there 1923, would she have stayed there until she was 14 years old? 

    By Mavis Ann Thurley nee Turner (13/12/2013)

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