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Theydon Bois Primary School

History of the School

The Early Days

Theydon Bois School first came into being in the early 1820s but it was not until 1840 when land was made available by Mrs Dare, the then patron of the curacy, that a proper school was built. Mrs Dare also provided around a third of the funds required to complete the building work. That building was situated in Coppice Row at the front of St Mary's Church and could accommodate up to 60 pupils. The first known School Mistress was a Mrs Mary Ann Maynard who was appointed in 1849.    She had two monitors to help her and although unqualified she successfully taught the children there for 31 years. Even in the early years there were not enough places and extra land was acquired in Loughton Lane for an additional Infants school. Around the turn of the century the school was in the hands of a Miss Glover who apart from being a very good school mistress was also apparently extremely adept when it came to using the cane and therefore keeping her charges in order. She retired in 1922 and was replaced in 1924 by Mr E.J. Fairchild. In 1932 under the 'Hadow' scheme, a committee set up by Sir William Hadow, Theydon Bois was granted Junior School status and 44 children who were 11 years and over were transferred to Epping Senior School. The 'Hadow' scheme was a precursor for the later Education Act and stated that all children over the age of 11 should be educated separately from the younger ones. Also at this time the population of the Village was growing at a dramatic rate with construction of the new Baldocks Farm estate and the pressure to supply places was huge. The outbreak of World War ll however, not only prevented any significant changes being made at the school but also prevented completion of the residential developments. It was not until as late as 1948 that anything was done about the overcrowding at the Coppice Row site. The photograph above is assumed to be the original school in Coppice Row, circa 1890-1900, although this is unconfirmed.

 

In June of that year part of the Telephone Exchange was commandeered to be used as classroom space as well as a dining hall and amazingly during this time around 110 meals a day were being prepared and served there. There still was not enough space to satisfy the demand for places though, so between 1953 and 1955 one class was relocated to the Working Men’s Club near the Queen Victoria Public House, while another was sent to the Sorrell Room, the old library in Coppice Row, and another to the old Village Hall in Loughton Lane. The main school building was now in a fairly poor state and in 1952 the PTA was formed to try and address issues such as the antiquated outside toilets and very poor washing conditions. Relocation was obviously now essential and in the early 50s an agreement to move to one new building was reached. A suitable site was found at the heart of the new Baldocks Estate and construction of the new school began but Mr Fairchild who had been the Headteacher for 31 years was due to retire in 1955. The search for a replacement to lead the school into an exciting new era began.

Punishment Book 1932 to 1965

A Significant Appointment                                    

The 17th of April 1956 was an extremely significant date in the  history of Theydon Bois Primary School as it saw Miss E.P. Burke  (pictured right circa 1974) appointed as Headmistress. Miss Burke  had previously been Headteacher at Chigwell Row Primary. Her new  surroundings were somewhat different from what she had been used  to as her new office was located in the Telephone Exchange. In the  early day of Miss Burke's stewardship she used to visit the various sites by bicycle leaving a trail of messages behind her to say where she would be going next. There was also a bizarre routine at assembly time, usually held at the Church Hall, where hand signals would be made by Miss Burke from a central point on the village green to the various other sites around the village to determine whether or not assembly would be held. This was only the case when there was uncertainty regarding the weather. There were however better things on the horizon and the organised chaos was about to end.

1950s

A New School                                                  

On the 8th May 1957 two classes moved into the new school in Orchard Drive and by July of that year it was fully occupied. Two months later on the 17th September Theydon Bois Primary School was officially opened. (The new school is pictured below left circa 1960, note the absence of the furthest right class of the infant section). The new building consisted of 7 classrooms, a hall, a kitchen and administration offices but soon after moving into the school it was realised that it was still not going to be big enough and on the 29th July 1960 the construction of 2 new classrooms and cloakrooms began. These two classes are currently occupied by Year 3/4s. Once completed the extension satisfied demand for a while but in 1966, with a roll now in excess of 400, the builders were back again. This time an additional class was added to the infant block and while it was being constructed one class was temporarily sent to the Village Hall just like in the old days.

 

Along with the opening of the new site came the new school uniforms around which the current uniform is based although in those days all children had to wear a blazer and a school tie. The leaf design that is the school's emblem was chosen from a selection of designs by staff and parents. The original colours of the badge were Green and Orange and the design signified the 5 main types of trees that could be found in Epping Forest.

1960s