Collection SCH106 - St Johns Church of England Primary School, Shirley

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St Johns Church of England Primary School, Shirley


  • 1881 - 2004 (Creation)

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3 boxes

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Administrative history

In 1834 a dame school came into existence in a cottage that was later altered and enlarged to become the present sextons cottage, on the corner of Spring Park and Shurley Church Roads. The school was held on weekdays; on Sundahys a curate from Croydon Parish Church conducted a service there. A Cof E Chapel of Ease was built there in 1836.

The first Dame recorded is Mrs Eliza Pestell. She was married to the coachman of the Revd. Matthew Farrer, who became Perpetual Curate of Shirley in 1841. The Pestells were already living in Shirley, however, in 1838 when their second daughter Anne was buried while still an infant (two later daughters would also die before reaching majority). The Farrers were connected with the Earl of Eldon whose house stood where the grounds of Trinity School are now, so Thomas Pestell, Elizas husband, may earlier have been in the Earls service.

In 1854 the school room was enlarged and on 10 January of that year the Pestells eldest daughter, by then 21, took charge of the Girls and infants, and, apparently, her mother continued to be responsible for the Boys. These met in the Reading Room (presumably the Chapel) but in 1869 moved to a new building between the cottages and the churchyard gate in Spring Park Road. Meanwhile in 1856, the chapel had been replaced with the present church; the new Boys School was adjacent to its graveyard. There is a painting of the first Boys School by W.H.Mills, a former pupil.

Both the previous schools were replaced by a further new building, erected in only three months, which was opened by the Vicar, the Revd W. Wilks on 17 September 1885. This also stood on the Spring Park frontage.

On 09 January 1903 the schools were reorganised and combined under the Headmaster of the Boys School with effect, apparently, from 01 November 1904.

On 09 January 1933 the school was again reorganised. This was to implement the 1931 Education Act but also because numbers had suddenly become unmanageable because of the vast number of houses being built locally. All Seniors were transferred to Davidson Senior Boys and Girls Schools and travelled there by Corporation bus. It was at this time that the name St.Johns School was first used.

At 2.30pm on Wednesday 26 July 1944 a V1 flying bomb fell in the Infant playground and the blast destroyed the school buildings. Twenty four children and three teachers were in a shelter in the playground and, although the shelter filled with fumes and the doors were shattered, no one was injured. The children were evacuated safely to another shelter in the nearby recreation ground until the all clear was sounded.

For the next ten years the school was lodged at nearby Benson Primary School until the current pemises were opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 03 June 1954.

Archival history

Transferred from the school in April 2006, via Dr Ron Cox.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Accession Number: A837

Records of St Johns Church of England Primary School, Shirley

Log Books (7)

1) 1881- 1904 (G I)

2) 1881 - 1917 (B 1881 - 1904; All Age 1904 - 1917)

3) 1917 - 1951 (All Age 1917 - 1937; Primary 1937 - 1951)

4) 1951 - 1978

5) 1978 - 1987

6) 1988 - 1993

7) 1993 - 2002

Admission Registers (4)

1) 1899 - 1943

2) 1943 - 1956

3) 1951 - 1968

4) 1968 - 1989

Governors Minutes 2001 - 2002

Sales Accounts Book: 1923 - 1982

Correspondence re: sale of Shirley Rec and future status of school

Plan and letter re: adjacent land

2 page Typescript copy of conveyance of land for school, 1953

Official opening of schol programme, 1954

Letter re transfer of endowment under 1899 Act

Ms notes re sale of Woodside Gate Farm to Lewis Loyd and Field Areas and pencil maps (?)

Bound copy of formal publication of change of status from controlled to aided, 2002

Photos: choir on open day 1959, school group 2004, harvest prizegiving 1950

A photo of the pre-1944 school was transferred to LSL

Item date: 1881 - 2002

Access conditions: Usual rules on access to log books

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Please contact us at for further information regarding the particular collection you wish to access.

You can make a request for information which may be in a closed record under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations, 2004. For more information about making a request, see the Croydon Council website ( Making a request does not guarantee access to the information you ask for, as there may be a valid exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

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  • English

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Administrative papers 1903 - 1924 are held at CBC/3/2/5. Administrative papers 1924 - 1945 are held at CBC/3/2/79.

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