Writtle History

Writtle Schools

In 1818 three houses adjoining the churchyard had been pulled down and the girls school and school house were built on the land. This school built by Henry Lambirth, the local brewer, was the first charity school in the village and educated the very poor. Religious instruction came high on the list of subjects, with reading and gardening and for the boys arithmetic. The girls were taught weaving and knitting, but were thought too inferior to be taught arithmetic. Part of the original buildings are now incorporated in the Christian Centre. The Writtle Archives room was once the domain of the headmistress and top girls class.

There were several private schools, one of these was Dawsons Academy, established about 1800, for the education of farmers sons. The present Post Office is now on the site of the actual school, but the pupils boarded in Richmond House next door. Thomas Dawson and his wife Sarah ran the school which in the 1841 census had 24 scholars. They were mainly boys, between the ages of 7 and 15. They were taught church catechism, to read and write, common and vulgar arithmetic and the few girls did plain work, all for 3p a week. The school was sold in 1845 and was taken over by Miss Elizabeth Watkins and her school for young ladies. A scrap of paper was found under the floor boards during renovation work, which was school work by Isabella Polley 1875, Preserve carefully your reputation, a good motto for a refined young lady.

In 1888 the village Charity school was reorganised and run by a board of prominent persons, called a Board School. By this time the boys had moved to a site on the Green, now occupied by the Writtte Library. The Board School sign can be still seen on the front facade above the windows.

In 1902 the school was taken over by the Borough Council and remained there until the two schools were combined and moved to new buildings in lodge Road in the 1960's.