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Enford - Enford Church of England School

In 1842 a sum of money raised by John Prince, vicar from 1793- 1833, was used to buy £670 of stock. The interest, £15 a year, was to go towards supporting a church school in the village. In 1845 a school with a school house was built by Sir Edmund Antrobus, who was lord of the manor of Enford. He continued to support the school financially. In 1858 it was attended by 20-30 pupils (out of a population of 911) taught by a mistress who had received some training at Salisbury. The school is described as being on the road out towards Netheravon being a large building with a school building on each end and the school house in the middle.

The school seemed to struggle slightly with keeping up its attendance, and many children were often absent through illness, weather or having to work in the fields. The wind was so bad in the winter of 1893 that much of the slate was blown from the roof.

In 1878, the Inspector's report read: "The children are being managed fairly well by the mistress who has on the whole been fairly successful in her teaching.
"Reading fairly good."
"The drainage needs attention. The teaching staff is hardly adequate to the work of teaching the number in attendance."
In 1893, the inspectorate wrote: "The school is in good order and well taught.
"The work is even and generally good, though with so many children it is difficult to test it properly."
"The girls needlework is fair and knitting a special feature."
The school was later affiliated with the National Society so could be called a National School.

In 1966 the day school had closed and instead there were two classrooms built next to the village hall at Longstreet. An income from Prince's charity was transferred to this new school. There were 40 children on roll as the new buildings opened. The only reference found of the closure in the official school log books is that: "The combined new school and new village hall officially opened by Dame Joan Vickers MP." The same teachers, pupils and apparatus transferred to the new site in August of 1966. A telephone was installed at the new school, with the simple number of Enford 202.

In his reminiscence of his childhood in Enford, when writing in 1986, Mr Fred Phillimore said: "At that time I was about 12 years old and at Enford School under a very strict schoolmistress called Mrs Drury, who taught at least 60 to 70 children in her class. Talk about the Iron Lady - she was harder than iron. She was the person that used the cane and who had the respect of the children and of the parents because of her very strict control over everyone."

"On the opposite side of the road was the playground and we had to be there every morning at ten minutes to nine when the first bell rang - at nine o'clock the second and final bell rang and we all formed a line and marched across the road to the school and to answer register."
"During the winter months our playground was very muddy through rain or frost, and we were then allowed to play in the road." This would have been in the mid 1920s. Mr Phillimore then references - frustratingly briefly - the fact that this school was at some point demolished and another built in its place. This presumably refers to the school closure in 1966 with two classrooms re-built, although this is not clear.

The Mrs Drury mentioned by Mr Phillimore was at the school for 42 years. When resigning in 1949, she wrote: "I cannot resign without placing on record the great joy and inspiration my work has been, and the help, sympathy, and encouragement I have unfailingly received. The loyalty and cooperation of other members of the staff and other parents of the children have been most marked and I here record my very deep appreciation."

Just prior to the Second World War, at the start of 1939, there were 79 children on roll. At the end of the War, the number was 89. However, in 1940, there was a high of 117 attending the school and this high point is explained away entirely by the arrival of evacuees from London. In 1939, 30 evacuees arrived in the village and were enrolled at the school. They were all from London and some were known to have come from Hounslow. The ages ranged from six to 13 years old. This meant that the top class became quite big and it was a struggle to find enough desks for all the children. In November 1940, seven more evacuees arrived. Some of the evacuees actually moved to Enford with their parents who wanted to get out of London and who had relatives in the village.

The children in the school seemed to join in with the war effort; in June 1940 the children collected scrap metal to a value of £2 and in February 1941 the school made sandbags to use if necessary. On 30 October 1941 the barrier at the foot of the steps to the school was knocked down by an army lorry. Another accident took place when the entire front wall was destroyed by a car accident in March 1943. The head teacher wrote; "Mercifully, the children were all in school at the time, otherwise there might have been very serious consequences." Ordinary village life also carried on during the war; in October 1942 the school was closed for two weeks for the children to play their part in the potato harvest. Exactly a year later, in October 1943, hot dinners started at the school for the first time. In the summer of 1945 when the war ended, the school was closed when the children went to a victory tea which was put on by Enford Sports Club.

In 1989, the school permanently closed. The closure of the school is not fully explained in the school log books. The only relevant reference is three years prior to the closure, when members of the Education Committee visited the school: "because of the impending re-organisation of the primary education in the area."

When Enford C of E Primary School closed on 21 July, 1989, staff members were given commemorative cut glass goblets and the children put on a closing ceremony with songs, bell ringing and piano playing. Bibles were given to the fourth years who were leaving to go to Upper Avon Comprehensive School and old friends, pupils and staff attended. All children were given commemorative mugs. The head teacher wrote; "Everyone enjoyed talking about past years of Enford School. It was an enjoyable but rather sad occasion."



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