Waterford School was built after 1855 but before 1859. It had two rooms, a classroom for infants and a school room for juniors and above (up to 14 years old). The dimensions of the rooms were:
Classroom: Length 28ft, Breadth 13¼ft, Height 9ft to wall plate.
School Room: Length 38ft, Breadth 18ft, Height to wall plate 12ft.
The wall plate was the part of the building wall where the roof began.
According to Isabel Smith, wife of Robert Smith of Goldings, the school was started as a Dame school in the chapel, under Mrs Hannah Skipper, (1813 - 1890), cf. And Such a Name, by Dorothy Abel Smith, ISBN: 1903607469. She goes on to say that "The children did not get real discipline till the school was placed under the Government with Mrs Ryles (then Miss Cordell) as their mistress in 1870."
Mrs. Smith's memory at least in term of dates seems to have been inaccurate since recorded in the logbook, started on 6th January 1873, Martha Cordell took charge of the school on that date. In terms of discipline she was probably more accurate since Miss Cordell writes that the children were "rather noisy". Further Kelley's Dirctory for 1855 names Miss Emma Hayes as mistress of Waterford School in 1859! Hannah Skipper was identified as the mistress in the 1862 & 1870 directories. The directory of 1886 confirms Mrs. Smith's statement that the school was formally held in a chapel.
Closure of the School
The school was transferred from the diocese to East Herts Education Authority control in 1921. It was still run by a management committee but this now reported to the education committee. The education committee considered closing the school in August, 1922 but this attempt was successful rebuffed by the managers.
At a managers meeting held at 6pm on Tuesday, 16th November, 1931, in the School room it was agreed by four votes to one that the school should be closed. Two reasons were given: the small attendance & the National need for economy. A proposal by Rev. W.G. Davies, the chairman, to close the big school but retain the infant school was defeated by one vote. The school was closed the following summer.
Mistresses of Waterford C of E School
Martha Cordell was born in 1852 in Ware, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann, 31. She married James Samuel Ryle, aged 36, in 1885 in Bengeo. They had two children, Geoffrey Eustace (1887) and Winifred Muriel (1890). Martha continued to be headmistress after she was married until 22nd February, 1916. She died in April, 1918.
Miss C.H. Smith succeeded Mrs. Ryle. She left the school on 26th July, at the end of the Summer Term in 1918 probably because the County Council would not recognise previous service under a different authority in her scale of pay.
Mrs Mabel Howell took up the post of mistress on 2nd September 1918 and continued until the school was closed at the end of August, 1932.
The Log Books
Below are the entries from the logbook from the earliest still surviving. They are worth recording since they are very complete including schemes of work initially for object lessons and then later for other subjects.
HALS references HEd 1/13/1 & HEd 1/13/2
People Mentioned Regularly in the Log Books
Robert Aylton Dunn (26 March 1867 – 1941) Lic. R. Coll. Phys. Lond. 1890; Mem R Coll. Surg. Eng. 1890; MB Bac. Surg.1894; MD 1897 was born in Stevenage. He qualified as a doctor in 1890 and he was a general practitioner in Stevenage until becoming the Medical Officer of Health for East Herts & Essex probably sometime in 1901. He married Eleanor Rutherford who hailed from Scarborough, in May of that year at either Holy Trinity or St. Leonard's Church in Bengeo. They did not have any children. In 1911 they were living at The Grove, Bengeo and by 1939 when Robert had retired at 15 Bengeo Street. Robert's father George who hailed from Devon was also a doctor and was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.