The History of Holland Park Primary School
The School was founded, as Holland Road Board School in 1902. It was to be an all-standard establishment, accommodating up to 360 mixed (senior and junior) pupils and 200 infants, in purpose-built premises on a site in Holland Road. At the time of the school’s opening the new buildings were unfinished, and it was temporarily housed in Clacton Town Hall until they were completed.
During the first week 96 children were admitted, 54 boys and 42 girls who had been transferred from St. Osyth Road School. By November 1903 there were 145 pupils enrolled. On 23rd September 1904 the school district was defined: it was to comprise the areas to the east of Pier Avenue and the south and south east of Old Road, including the houses on both sides of the named roads.
The early years (1903 – 1913)
In the early years there was much ‘coming and going’ of pupils, as many were visitors to Clacton and attended the school for only a short time, but those who were permanent residents benefited from a number of innovations. In November 1905 a ‘cocoa scheme’ was introduced, to provide those staying to lunch with a hot drink, and proved very popular, and on 20th September 1907 a school library was opened, with over 100 volumes, many of which had been obtained through the efforts of the children themselves. In 1911 a gardening course was started and a flagpole and flag, paid for with funds raised by the children, were installed.
In December 1908 a girl pupil was the victim of a bizarre but potentially dangerous incident, when she was accidentally pushed against a wall and her chest punctured by a crochet hook which she had been carrying in her pocket. Fortunately, the hook came to rest against a rib and was prevented from doing serious damage. Two years later the headmaster recorded the removal of another pupil to St. Osyth Road School as she had obtained ‘a medical certificate to say that she was too delicate to attend Holland Road’. He commented bitterly that ‘the local doctors are a hindrance to the filling of this school’.
The First World War
Soon after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 one of the teachers, Mr Lewis William Allen, left to join H.M. Forces. He did not return to the school until January 1919. Two former scholars, Henry Cook and Captain Walter White, served in the Flying Corps, and the latter, who by his merits had risen from the ranks of the regular army, was awarded the D.C.M., the M.M. and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
1925 – 1939
In 1925 the school was reorganised. A separate senior department was set up and the junior and infant classes were amalgamated. With few exceptions all children were promoted from the junior department to the senior at the age of 11. This arrangement apparently continued until 1931, when the seniors were transferred to the newly-built Clacton Senior School (now Colbayns High School).
The removal of the senior department obviously relieved the overcrowding noted by H.M. Inspector in 1931, for by 1936 less than half the available places in the Holland Road School were filled. It was suggested that one of the empty classrooms be equipped for the teaching of handwork. The artificial lighting in the building was poor, there being only one gas lamp in each room, and in 1937 electric light was installed. Between 1937 and 1939 old-fashioned galleries were removed from some of the classrooms. Early in 1939 a sub-committee of the local education authority visited the school and found the premises clean and in good condition. There were then 212 pupils on roll.
The Second World War
During the early months of the Second World War the school played host to a number of children evacuated from Edmonton. The building was fitted with ‘black-out’ blinds in accordance with A.R.P. regulations, and other precautionary measures, including the ‘painting-out’ of high windows in the classrooms and the pasting of paper to others, were taken. By the middle of 1940 the Edmonton children had been re-evacuated and the military authorities had given notice of their intention to take over the building. In June 1940 the staff and 113 pupils were themselves evacuated to the Kidderminster area.
The headmistress noted that many children had already been evacuated privately. The evacuees were billeted in the villages of Rock and Far Forest, and as they were widely dispersed three teaching groups were formed, at Rock Rectory and Far Forest and Heightington Village Halls. In March 1941 the headmistress, Miss Ault, returned to Clacton, leaving a deputy, Miss Burch, in charge of the evacuees. In November 1943 Miss Ault was given charge of the junior department which opened at Clacton Senior School for the benefit of children who had remained in the town. On 10th November she visited Holland Road School to collect some apparatus and found that the storage cupboards had been forced open by the occupying soldiers.
Miss Ault was not able to return permanently to her own school until 10th September 1945, when it re-opened as Holland Road Primary School. 287 children were present on that day and the headmistress commented on the great shortage of equipment for them. By 1950 the problems involved in the work of reconstruction seem to have been largely overcome, for when H.M. Inspector visited the school in that year he commented favourably on it and noted that during the past four years considerable experimental work had been done.
In the early 1950’s it was recognised that Holland Road School had become overcrowded and plans for the acquisition of more land and the building of new premises were considered. By 1959 the Essex County Council Education Committee had decided to adapt the existing premises rather than provide a new building and the present school stands on the original site. In 1965 it was re-named, becoming Holland Park C.P. School.
By January 1970 the school had become severely overcrowded with a roll of 536 children. A new school in Holland-on-Sea was opened in 1970 and with the consequent re-drawing of catchment areas Mr C Bernadin, the Head, remarked on the considerable relief to the school particularly in terms of class sizes. Three temporary buildings remained on site, a Medway Hut containing two class bases, a hut serving as a Dining Room and the Horsa Kitchen.
During the 1980’s the Dining Hut was removed, with meals once more being served in the main hall. The Medway Hut was replaced by a new pair of relocateable classrooms and the P.T.A. provided the children with a library by financing a small extension. The school roll was increasing and the Governors made repeated pleas to the Education Department for a building programme to improve facilities and increase the permanent accommodation.
Two further relocateables were erected to cope with the rising roll and plans were drawn by the County’s Architect for a permanent extension.
In 1993 new cloakrooms were added to the south end of the school, but further building work was considered unlikely, despite continuing increases in pupil numbers to a point of overcrowding.
In September 1993 the School became grant maintained and with its consequent autonomy, applied directly to the Department for Education for a Capital Grant. In April 1995 an extension including a new dining hall, kitchen and cloakroom was opened at the north end of the school. Much remodelling and adapting took place within the building throughout 1994 to provide an improved entrance hall, library, offices and classroom.
A further Capital Grant was obtained in January 1995 to provide two additional permanent class bases, as part of the creation of an Early Years unit. At the same time the school initiated extensive changes to the school grounds through the creation of nature areas, tree planting and an all-weather extension to our games space.
The new millennium and the school’s change in status to a Foundation School did nothing to slow the development of the school’s buildings. In 2000 the school bell was returned to the Bell Tower and the boilers were replaced. In order to raise funds to build a Library the School House was sold. This third and final phase of the building project was completed in May 2002 together with further remodelling of the Administrative Area to provide an ICT Suite.
Holland Road Board School (Mixed Department)
1902 – 1925 Mr C H Ingram
Holland Road Board School (Infants’ Department)
1903 – 1925 Miss Caroline Lee
Holland Road Junior School (later Holland Road C.P. School then Holland Park C.P. School)
1925 – 1936 Miss Caroline Lee
1936 – 1960 Miss Mary Kathleen Ault
1960 – 1978 Mr C A F Bernadin
1978 – 2003 Mr Daniel Ryan
2003 – 2014 Mrs Veronica Farrelly
2014 – present Mr Anthony Welch
Records retained in school custody
1. Log Book 1 vol. 1902 – 1925
2. Log Book 1 vol. 1926 – 1960
3. Log Book 1 vol. 1960 – 1969
4. Log Book 1 vol. 1969 – 1976
5. Log Book 1 vol. 1976 – 1981
6. Log Book 1 vol. 1981 – 1984
7. Log Book 1 vol. 1984 – 1987
8. Log Book 1 vol. 1988 – 1991
9. Log Book 1 vol. 1991 – 1995
10. Log Book 1 vol. 1995- 2003
11. Log Book 1 vol. 2003 – Present
12. Admission Register 1 vol. 1945 – 1947
13. Admission Register 1 vol. 1947 – 1951
14. Admission Register 1 vol. 1951 – 1955
15. Admission Register 1 vol. 1955 – 1960
16. Admission Register 1 vol. 1960 – 1964
17. Admission Register 1 vol. 1964 – 1968
18. Admission Register 1 vol. 1968 – 1975
19. Admission Register 1 vol. 1975 – 1978
20. Punishment Book 1 vol. 1936 – 1978
21. Holland Road Junior School Magazine 1 July 1939
22. Holland Road School Magazine, Jubilee Edition 1 1954
Records of, or concerning, Holland Park Primary School, Clacton, deposited in Essex Record Office, as at 1st May 1992
N.B. These records have been received from various sources and it should not be assumed that all items listed are the property of the school.
Acc. A6391 Holland Road Junior School Admission Register, 1928 – 1936.