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Hullbridge Village History

The School Roll of Honour.

List of Heads.

List of teachers.

List of Cooks and helpers.

List of Pupils

To see the admissions to Hullbridge School from 1945 till 1971 please click on the relevant icon of the book.

Admission log 49-54 School Admission log 1955-59. School Admissionlog 1960-64 School Admission log 1965-67 School Admission log 1967-69 School Admission log 1970-71

The start of the school

The History of Education in England website :- provides a very good insight into the timeline on how education was brought to everyone and through the different types of schools. Sunday schools with the teaching of the Bible was one of the most common forms of education and so it is not surprising that the first school for Hockley / Hullbridge was alongside the ancient local church of St Peter and St Paul at the top Church Hill. This meant for the children of Hullbridge and High Elms a 2 mile trek there and 2 miles back each school day.
The first school was a small cottage (1828-39), accommodating 20 boys and 25 girls from both Hockley, Hullbridge and High Elms.

On 16 October 1811 The National Society of the Church of England was formed. Its stated aim was ‘that the National Religion should be made the foundation of National Education’. The mission of the Society was to found a Church school in every parish in England and Wales and with prodigious energy it began a national system of education establishing nearly 17,000 ‘National Schools’ supplemented by the State from 1870 onwards.
The Society funded building, enlarging and equipping classrooms through grants to prospective founders.
The parish of Hockley made a successful representation to the National Society and were able to build a two room school built on the site of the old vicarage, it could accommodate 50 boys in a room 20ft x 15ft and 72 girls and infants in a room 21ft x 16ft.
Schooling was not free, 1d or 2d a week depending on parents means. Because of the fee and the usefulness of having the children to work at home or in the fields, especially at harvest time, meant attendance was not very good. An inspection in 1857 identified only 34 children were present and these were mainly very young.

In 1882 the responsibility of the school was taken over by the newly formed "Hockley School Board".

A school can be found on Ordnance Survey maps of the village of Hullbridge between 1873 and 1896. It is situated on the left hand side of Ferry Road approaching the river, after Pooles Lane. This happens to be the same place that the old chapel ruins / mission hall stood. (refer to St Thomas's ). In the 1878 Kelly's directory held at Essex Record Office under Hockley there is an entry School (infants) Hull Bridge, Miss Maria Raven, mistress. It would offer lessons for the younger children and evening classes for adults during the winter nights.

After 1896 no school is shown on Ordnance Survey maps until one can be seen on the right hand side before Pooles Lane after 1903.


In Easter 1902 the Hockley School Board opened the Hullbridge school at a cost of £50 for the land and £65 11s 0d for the school, master's house and furnishings. The school was built for 120 pupils. The first headmaster Mr C H Snelgar was accompanied by his wife. Tragically he died in July1902 and his wife became temporary head, till Mr H B Blackeby came. The school is the building that stands today (2008) at the front of the school.

According to the school logs (Essex Record Office ref:- TS/613/1,2,3 & 8 ).
The school became HULLBRIDGE Council School in 1903 when responsibility for Board schools passed to the Education Committee of Essex Council. It was all standard until 1937 when the 'over elevens' transferred to Rayleigh Senior School and the school was renamed HULLBRIDGE Primary School. The 1950s saw a great increase in pupil numbers resulting in a temporary classroom being erected in 1954 and the construction of new premises in 1959. In 1971 the school separated into infants and juniors and was renamed Riverside County Infant and Junior Schools.

The Headmaster in 1907 was Mr Thomas Day who was never going to last long, being 63 years old. He was accompanied by the daughter of a barge owner Miss Maria Raven.

Mr Day retired with his wife Catherine to nearby Wadham Park and can be seen there in the 1911 Census.

Photo taken 1907 of the school master outside his house. A photo taken around 1907 showing the school master standing in the porchway of his house whilst next door is his wife in standing by the school boundary.
(Courtesy of Dave Wiffin)
Photo taken 1907 and used as a postcard showing the recently built Primary School
				   			 	 			and School Masters house. A photo taken from Ferry Road of Hullbridge Council School around 1907 it is of the school as it was with the entrance to the side. The house next door is that of the school master. The land preceding the school had not yet been developed.
(Courtesy of Dave Wiffin)
Back of postcard sent by Headmaster Thomas Best talking about the 
				   						photographer taking pictures of the children crossing the river. The back of the above postcard sent 16 Oct 1911 by Mr Best to Mrs N Crampton in Grimsby. He says "My Dear M.
I thought you would like a photograph of our school and house. This is the first I think that has been taken, The photographer has been down to the river to take the children as they are being rowed across. When they come I must send you one. Should like to have a line from you so do write soon. Kindest regards to Mr C and love to your self ??

(Courtesy of Dave Wiffin)
Photo taken 1907 and used as a postcard showing 
	 									children attending Hullbridge Council School. A photo taken from Ferry Road of Hullbridge Council School around Oct 26th 1908 (as per writing on back of card) it is of children and staff of Hullbridge Council School. The gentleman in the hat with a white beard is believed to be Headmaster Thomas Best. The female teacher is unknown.
(Courtesy of Dave Wiffin)


Photo taken 1923 from Evening Echo 1992 showing Mrs Ida Street in a
	 									classroom with her class. A photo taken from inside Hullbridge Primary School around 1923. The picture shows boys and girls in the same class of children being taught in the only school building at that time, which is now the old building sitauated at the front of the school on Ferry Road. The classroom is believed to be the classroom at the far left which is eventually turned into the dinning room. The teacher is Mrs Ida Street and she is standing by the door leading into the large classroom which was divided by a partition. Behind the blackboard and easel is the door leading out into the playground. For those observant, the children are facing the wrong way, backs to the blackboard. It is believed the photographer had the children face the light to allow him to obtain the best picture possible, note the 2 boys in the front without a desk.
(Courtesy of Evening Echo.1992)
Photo taken 1923 from Evening Echo 1992 showing Mrs Ida Street in 
	 									front of Ivy King with Mr and Mrs Staines alongside. A photo taken around 1923 showing Ida Street, then Smith, with other Hullbridge teachers Ivy King in front of Ida and Mr and Mrs Staines to the side.
(Courtesy of Evening Echo.1992)


Photo taken 1927 from Evening Echo 1992 showing a class of children in the
	 									 large divided classroom. A photo taken from inside Hullbridge Primary School around 1927. The picture shows boys and girls in the large classroom in the only school building at that time, which is now the old building situated at the front of the school on Ferry Road. The classroom is the in the center of the school building most possibly the right hand side.
It is divided by sliding concertina doors which are pulled back in the mornings for assembly., when the teachers can be bothered. This time the children are facing the right way around. The conditions are very cramped but looking at the books piled under the desk this is most likely how things were as there is one pile per child. The desk on the left is most likely the teachers. Mrs Coward remembers the names of many of the children who shared her class all those years ago:- Miriam Deavin, Ernie Judd, Grace Huckle... Sissy and Dick Cook, Jack Holden, Les Holden, Ivy and Harry Ridgeway, Joan Stevens,Dirk Firmin.
(Courtesy of Evening Echo.1992 (Mrs E.Coward, nee Dowling of South Woodham))
69 pupils and staff of Hullbridge School 1927 School photograph taken 1927 showing 69 children Mr and Mrs Staines and trainee teacher Ida Smith.(Courtesy of Evening Echo.1992 (Mrs E.Coward, nee Dowling of South Woodham))

In an article written by Jim Worsdale of the Evening Echo he writes Those youngsters seated at their school desks way back in 1927 or 1928, smiling shyly or cheekily at the camera, probably did not realise they would be making history.
But just a year or so after this moment in time is frozen in the click of shutter over lens, these subjects of a photographer whose name is now beyond recollection had become among the last of generations of children to cross the River Crouch from South Woodham Ferrers every weekday morning and late afternoon to and from the village school in Hullbridge.
In 1929 Woodham finally had its own school. Before that, ... children made the long trek across marshland and scrubland from their scattered and isolated homes to the Crouch. Then they were carried by pony and trap at low tide or rowed across when the water was deep over the hardstanding.
One of the children's teachers from those times is standing left in the lovely old photo of school staff dating from around 1923. She was Ida Smith then. Later she became Mrs Ida Street. Now nearly 70 years on, she lives still in Rayleigh.
Mrs Street-seen in above photo says:
"Your pictures of children crossing the Crouch brought back happy memories for me. I started as a teacher in Hullbridge school in 1923. My first class was infants. When we closed school it was my duty sometimes to go with the children from Woodham Ferrers down to the Crouch to see them safely across. The horse and cart belonged to the licensee at the Old Anchor Inn.
The horse was kept in the meadow at the side of the pub, now a car park. I taught at the school for 25 years and have such pleasant memories of those times."
Those memories are shared by Mrs Evelyn Coward, now 72. As Evelyn Dowling, born in South Woodham long ahead of its development as a riverside new town, she walked more than a mile to and from the river every day to catch the ferry or ride with other youngsters in the pony and trap. She was among those taught by Ida Smith.

Photo taken approx 19?? from Evening Echo 1992 owned by Mrs E Coward 
										 showing the Hullbridge Ferry in operation carryng passengers/children from
										  Hullbridge to South Woodham. A photo taken from from South of the river looking across to Hullbridge approx., 1927.The picture shows approx., 9 passengers being ferried across by Mr Dick Hymas from Hullbridge to South Woodham Ferrers. A local Thames barge is at anchor with some crew on board. A large number of children wait at the waters edge to be ferried across. The old Anchor Inn is behind the house on the left (Rose Cottage).
(Courtesy of Evening Echo.1992 (Mrs E.Coward, nee Dowling of South Woodham))

For other years please click on the relevant button below:-

Acknowledgement is made to the following contributions that this history was compiled from:-