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
- 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.
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
- 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.
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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".
He was succeeded by Major DP Attewell. His headship lasted until 1925 when he resigned. The Senior Master looked after the school for about a year.
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.
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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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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The following section includes some personal reminiscences of an early pupil and a
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.
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.
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.
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
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.