Pound Lane School
This is the story of Pound Lane School compiled partly from the school's log books, from newspaper articles and other sources. We have tried to set this in the context of what was happening in Epsom at the time, whether national celebrations or day to day events.
Click on the top map to see an extract from the 1866 OS map, and the bottom map for the 1913 edition.
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Even before the beginning of the twentieth century, Epsom was developing fast. In 1895, Epsom Court Farm was divided up for building and there was a proposal to improve Kingston Lane, the road from Epsom to Surbiton. The improved road became known as Hook Road.
1907 began with heavy snowfalls and so much fell that local, out-of- work men were hired to clear it. Many declined this work and their names were noted so they would not be offered work in the future.
The car was beginning to make an impact and the Council tried to introduce a speed limit of 10 miles an hour between East Street in Epsom and the top of South Street. Most of Epsom's roads were very dusty and had not been tarred which was the best way to solve this problem.
Tarring the road c.1907
The new asylums at the Manor, Horton and St Ebba's were nearly completed and work on the fourth asylum, Long Grove, was under way. The new hospitals required a large number of staff for all kinds of work, from porters, maintenance workers, gardeners etc. Consequently new houses were built along Hook Road and new roads, such as Lower Court Road, were under construction to meet the demand for accommodation.
Horse drawn milkcart
Even with all this development Epsom in some ways continued to be a rural area. For example, there were still nine cow keepers with 193 milk cows supplying the town with its fresh milk.
Horton Hospital c.1915
The New Schools
Epsom Elementary Council School, Hook Road (Pound Lane) School (School no 113) comprised three separate school buildings. These were a Mixed Infants' school, ages 5 - 7, a Girls' School, for ages 11- 14 and a Boys' School, for ages 10 - 14. The individual schools each had their own space and separate entrances within the building. The school had an open day for intended scholars on the 2-3 September 1907 and opened for lessons the next day with 208 boys, 169 girls and 125 infants attending.
The opening and first pages of the School Log Book
The school log books contain reports to the County Education Authority and to HM Inspector from the Board of Education on numbers, attendances, and the struggle to reduce class sizes. Details of staff changes, absences and returns, illnesses, inclement weather, arrangements for school closures, changes in school hours, school activities were all recorded by the head teacher in the log book.
Throughout the period of the log books, visits by the managers were regular occurrences. They listened to lessons, checked the school registers and attended various functions in the schools. In the first weeks following the school opening, one of the Managers visited daily.
May Day 1908
A long tradition began at the school on May 1 1908 with the crowning of the first May Queen who was chosen by the school's children.
"The Queen was crowned by the wife of Major Coates MP. The Major, Mrs and Miss Coates were present, together with the Managers and a large number of resident gentry" [GSLB]
This ceremony became an annual event for which the school became well known.
May Day in Edwardian Epsom was a major event. Children gathered hawthorn from the hedgerows and the main hall was filled with greenery and flowers and a central platform set up. The Queen was attended by four maids and any former May Queens still at the school who also had their maids. All had floral crowns and the new May Queen's train was held by page boys in pea green suits. The May Queen was elected by the girls themselves because of her good qualities and it was felt that she was the right kind of girl to represent them. Following the coronation there was singing and Maypole dancing.
Empire Day 24th May
24 May 1908 "Today was commemorated as "Empire Day". Talks on the Empire were given by each Master to his boys from 1100 - 1145. At 1134, the children assembled in the playground, sang Kipling's Recessional, gave three cheers for Mr Braithwaite, the donor of the flagstaff and flag, sang "God save the King" and then gave three cheers for "King, Country and all the people of the Empire". The school was given a holiday in the afternoon." [BSLB]
This too became an annual event - the last date mentioned in the BSLB was 1931 when the book was full. The occasion had never received prominence in the log books of the other schools, but Carol Hill remembers the day being celebrated at Ewell Girls' school in the 1940s.
Dr Barnardo's Home, Epsom - Mittendorf House was replaced by the Sorting Office in East Street in the 1960s
Every school day, boys from Dr Barnardo's Home were marched to the school from the Mittendorf House, their home in East Street, which stood where the Sorting Office now stands. The boys had their own uniforms of navy blue polo neck jerseys and shorts.
Mittendorf House began as a home for girls and boys but by 1908 it only housed boys. In 1918, the house was renamed Clayton House and it closed in 1937.
In March 1908, seventeen boys from the Dr Barnardo's Home left the school and were sent to Canada. Throughout the period of the Boys' log book, new batches of boys arrived and stayed a short while before being sent to Canada.
Circus Elephants at The Ewell Horse Pond
"Owing to a visit of Sangers' Circus, School opened at 1.30 and Registers closed at 3.30. This, it was thought, would prevent children staying away to attend the afternoon performance at 3.45 pm" [GSLB 19 September 1907].
However this did not seem to work for the Boys' School as the entry in their log book for that day read "19 Sept 1907- the attendance this week so far has been very good indeed. This afternoon the attendance dropped from 227 to 184, owing to the presence of a circus in the town. To minimise the effects of this, school was held from 1.30 to 3.30"
"Lord George Sangers' Circus was a regular visitor to Epsom and was no doubt the best. It was held in a field just behind the boy's school in East Street. Crowds used to flock into the town at midday to watch the procession parading in the High Street. I can only guess at the number of horses, but I do remember there were 2 huge coaches each drawn by 40 horses.Lord George Sanger rode in a very old stage coach at the rear.School was out of the question in the afternoon so we would not miss this treat." [From the Memoirs of an Epsom Postman
The circus procession would pass through Ewell and the animals would refresh themselves in the Horse Pond.
The Derby and race meetings
Epsom High Street on Derby Day
During the Spring race meeting, school was dismissed at 2.10 so children would not have to go home during heavy traffic but the children stood on street corners calling out "give us your old mouldies" in the hope that race goers would throw them pennies.
So many children were absent from school in race week that it was decided that the schools would close for the first week in June rather than for the Whitsun week holiday.This was partly due to the volume of traffic in the town and also because many of the boys would be working at the race course.
Epsom Technical Institute - Church Street
In 1913, both Elementary Schools began to use the Technical Institute in Epsom. There were classes in woodwork for the boys and in 1915, cookery, laundry and housewifery were introduced for the girls.
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