Schools in Hertford in 1939

Geoff Cordingley

In 1931 the population of Hertford was recorded as 11,378 in Kelley’s Directory, presumably taken from the census of that year.  This number is 995 more than was recorded in 1911.  The population of the municipal wards were All Saints’ 4,984; St. Andrew’s 3,806; Bengeo 2,588.

Hertford Boys’ Grammar School

In 1930 the school moved to a new building on the hill above the town.  There were now 306 boys attending the school.  The Headmaster was Thomas H. Bunt   MA.  He lived at 3, Highfield Road with his wife Dorothy K (nee Sheehan.)  Mr. Bunt was appointed in 1931 and continued in charge of the school until 1956.

Major O.F. Christie (30/4/1867 – 1953) was chairman of the board of governors.  He was a retired Commissioner of Taxes who lived with his wife at Harmer Hyde.

Secondary Schools

Cowper School at the bottom of London Road

Cowper/Longmore Boys School

Cowper Testimonial School1 at the bottom of London Road was built in 1847 and by 1938 when the Cowper School building was considered unusable, the boys moved to the Longmore  building (previously the grammar school buiding.)  The school became Longmore Senior Boys’ School.  The girls who had previously been part of Longmore Mixed Senior School since 1931 were moved to join Port Vale Senior Girls’ School.  So the number of secondary schools in the town was reduced to two.

CG Stalley2 who in 1935 had taken over as head master of Cowper School from Mr. Strubel3 continued as headmaster.  Mr. Hunneyball4 who had been Head master of Longmore Mixed Secondary became a supply teacher until he moved to Yeovil to be Headmaster of Sommerlease Park Senior School.

Junior & Infant Schools

Abel Smith Junior Mixed School

Originally Abel Smith Memorial School for girls, it was changed into a Junior Mixed school in the 1931 reorganisation.  Since then Major Edward Archer Upton5had been Master of the school.

All Saints’ Infant (Faudell Phillips) School

By 1846 All Saints’ Infant School had been built on Glebe land to the east of All Saints’ Church.  In  1902 the Infants’ School and the School of Industry for Girls which was located in a building nearby were merged under the infants’ school name.6  Kelly’s Directory of Hertford, 1940 names Miss H. Diss as Headmistress.

St. Andrew’s School

St. Andrew’s School in Hertingfordbury Road was built in 1875 for 126 mixed (boys & girls) & 113 infants.  1n 1939 Miss Nora Carina Turnbull7 was the mistress.

Cowbridge School from Dimsdale Sreet, 2013

Cowbridge School

Cowbridge School in Dimsdale Street was built in 1862 for 160 mixed and 44 infants.   In 1939 it was a Junior & Mixed Infants.  Miss Edith Bradbeer had been the mistress since 1923.



St. Joseph’s RC School

St. Joseph’s School in St. John’s Street was a mixed Roman Catholic school which had been built for 76 children. According to Kelly’s Directory of Hertford, 1940 Sister M. Stanislaus was the Mistress.

In 1968 the school moved to a new building in North Road to be called St. Joseph’s voluntary aided RC school for infants and juniors.  The new building was opened by Bishop B.C. Butler to replace this school.  This building is now used as the church hall.

The Convent School8 was still opposite The Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph.  In the 1950s the sisters established a new convent and school at Hertingfordbury, now St. Joseph’s in the Park.  The Sisters left Hertford in 1985. A block of flats is now on the site of the convent building in St. John’s Street.

Bengeo Schools

The school from Bengeo Street decorated for the 1953 Coronation

Bengeo Boys’ School was built in 1849 on land given by William Parker of Ware Park for 124 children.  In 1940 Mr Herbert Henry Bottomley9 was the master.

Bengeo Girls School was built in 1860 for about 116 children. In 1939 Mrs Rosamond Violet Rampton10 was head mistress.

Bengeo Infant School was a separate building added to the site of the Boys’ & Girls’ Schools about 1868 for 78 children. The Infant School entrance was in Trinity Grove.  Miss Florence May Walker11 was head mistress.

These Bengeo schools were controlled by six managers with  Rev. Charles Robert Job MA, Rectory Bengeo, as correspondent.

4, Bengeo Street the base of PNEU school

There was a PNEU school based at 4, Bengeo Street run by Marion C Macklin (aged 35) and her sister Joyce Evelin (32) with another sister Olive G (47) designated as a certificated head teacher. Constance Nettie Heath (aged 61) was a PNEU teacher and Angena I Brown (57) was an assistant teacher.  They were both living at 105, Duncombe Road. The school had been started in 1933 by Miss Ewan who lived at No. 4.

Parent National Educational Union (PNEU) schools were based on the “Twenty Principles” of Charlotte Mason12 written in 1904.  Charlotte  and Emiline Petrie Steinthal started the organisation in 1887 in Bradford as the Parent Educational Union, providing resources and support for children being schooled at home.  Henrietta Franklin started the first PEU school in London and made the organisation into a national movement.

Hertford Art School

In 1939 Hertford Art School above the then Library in Old Cross was run by John RT Page (12.09.1910 – ?)

Christ’s Hospital for Girls

In 1939 Christ’s Hospital for Girls accommodated approximately 280 girls, 30 teachers and 22 support staff.  Miss Norah Cicely Craig13 had been Headmistress since 1921.

Kingsmead Residential (Special) School

Kingsmead Residential School was established in 1919 as a training school for “mentally defective children” according to Simpson’s Directory of Hertford 1930-31.  Children who we would now refer to as having learning difficulties.  The building was built in 1869 as the Poor Law Institution (Workhouse) whose residents were moved to Ware in 1919.   In 1939 John Edwards Tookey14 was headmaster with Edith, his wife as matron of the school.

Stratton Park School

Stratton Park School was a private school run at Brickendonbury by John Warren Clouston and Henriette, his wife. It opened around 1934 in Brickendon.


  1.  THE COWPER TESTIMONIAL SCHOOL HERTFORD A History of the School by Len Green, Hertford & Ware Local History Society Occasional Paper No. 3.
  2. Cyril Guy Stalley (6th June 1982 – 1978) was born in Ware, the son of George, a barge builder and Ellen.  The family lived in High Oak Road.  He attended St. Mary’s School and by 1911 he was a teacher.  In 1924 he became master of Cowper Memorial School succeeding John Richard Strubell, living in the school house on the north side of the school.  He remained head of Cowper in its two locations (Cowper Building and Longmore) until June 1957 when, after the opening of Simon Balle School, the schools were closed .  On his reitrement Mr. Len Green presented him with an electric fire and standard lamp on behalf of the staff, some old staff & Canon Bradney, Chairman of the Governors.  Jacqueline Clay-Smith and Norton Bardell, Head Girl and Head Boy presented Mr. Stalley with an electric  plate warmer and coffee table and Formica kitchen table.  The staff had tea afterwards in the domestic science room. (Tea in the domestic science room often happened after notable events or visits.)
  3. John Richard Strubell (1859 -1935) was master of Cowper School for 39 years from 1885.  For the three years preceding 1885 he had been head of a school in Marylebone.  Len Green1 refers to him as “John Strubell the Great.”  “It was a time of considerable development in education nationally, and Mr. Strubell made full use of the opportunities.”  “The annual reports given after HMI inspection contain high praise for the work being done in the school which resulted in incrased government grants.”
  4. Thomas William Hunneyball (5th March 1894 – 1971) was born in Stockwell in Surrey the eldest son of Thomas William and Emma. Thomas senior was an LCC Tram Inspector. Thomas junior served in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in two spells during WW1 so perhaps he was injured at some point. After the war he was an assistant master at three schools in South London, registering as a teacher on 1st November 1920. In 1921 he married Bertha G Allum. Ten years later they came to Hertford where Thomas took up the headship of Longmore Senior Mixed School. After Longmore became a boys’ school in 1938, Thomas was on the HCC emergency staff until he obtained the headship of Sommerlease Park Senior School in Yeovil, Somerset. He died in 1972 at the age of 76 in Surrey.
  5. Edward Archer Upton (13.06.1878 – 1961) was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. In 1901 he was teaching in Willesdon, North London and by 1911 he was headteacher of Camp House Elementary School in St. Albans, where he married Evelyn Ada Smith in 1905. Evelyn died in 1912. He served in WW1 and in 1921 is referred to as Major Upton taking the girls for Stoolball and baseball in the Cowbridge School logbook. In January 1923 he succeeded Walter Turpin as head of Port Vale Boys’ School until the 1931re-organisation when he became Master of All Saints’ Junior Mixed School.  In 1939 he was living in Birch Green with his daughter Lily (aged 33) as his house-keeper.
  6.  In 1975 the original Infant School building was demolished leaving only the section at the entrance to Abel Smith JMI.  The School of Industry for Girls building is still standing in 2020 and being used by Abel Smith. For more detail see ABEL SMITH SCHOOL HERTFORD by Dorothy Abel Smith.
  7. Nora Carina Turnbull (27.02.1879 – 1972) was born in Hertford the daughter of Frederick who was a printer compositor and Alice. By 1899 she was an assistant mistress at St. Andrew’s Mixed School. In 1908 she was appointed Mistress of the Infant School and she had been Head of the JMI since 1922.
  8. A History and Guide of The Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph, Hertford.
  9. Herbert Henry Bottomley (24.08.1882 – 1960) was born in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. He attended Exeter Diocesan Training College and from 1904 to 1920 was assistant master at Hatfield National School (now Onslow St Audrey’s School)   In 1923 he became assistant master at Bengeo Boys’ School where he became head in 1929. He married Betty Houghton on 23rd December 1916 in Hatfield probably when he was on leave from the army.  In 1939 they were living in Horn lane, Hatfield.
  10. Rosamond Violet Rampton (16.01.1900 – 1943) nee Roberts was born in St. Pancras, London.  Her mother had been an elementary school  teacher. In 1939 she was living in Great Molewood, Hertford with Eric her husband who was a civil servant, military clerk and her elder brother, William and elder sister Daisy.
  11. Florence May Walker (28.04.1899 – )   Florence trained at Goldsmith Training College in New Cross. In 1920 she was an assistant mistress at various schools in Surrey before working from 1929 to 1925 as an assistant mistress at Coulsdon CE School. From 1925 to 1927 Florence was principal of Normanjurst private school in Purley before in 1927 becoming head of Bengeo Infants’ School. She married William Peet in 1950.
  12. Charlotte Mason (1 January 1842 – 16 January 1923) was born near Bangor in North Wales.  She worked for more than 10 years at Davison School in Worthing where she developed her liberal education ideas based on the philosophy “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”
  13. Norah Cicely Craig (28.05.1883 – 1968) was born in Hammersmith.  She gained an Honours Degree in English at Oxford University.  Norah trained at Secondary training Department, Clapham High School and gained a University of Cambridge Teachings’ Certificate.  Her teaching career began in 1906 as an assistant mistress in Senior English & Geography at Brighton & Hove High School.  This was followed in 1913 by English Lecturer, Head of Women Lecturers and Warden of Women Students at Huddersfield technical College (affiliated to Leeds University.) By 1914 she had returned to Clapham High school for two years as Senior English Mistress & Lecturer in Secondary Training Department.  From 1916 – 1921 she was headmsitress of Saltburn High School after which she became Headmistress of Christ’s Hospital.
  14. John Edwards Tookey (18.08.1905 – 1984) was born in Stotfold, Bedfordshire.  Thomas, his father was a painter working for the (Letchworth) Garden City Company. John gained his Education certificate from Westminster College and in 1928 became an assistant master at Royal School for the Deaf, Margate, Kent.
This page was added on 13/06/2019.

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