History of Brington Primary School
These pages are constructed with thanks to Dr. Stephen Mattingly and his book, ‘Aspects of Brington’.
The National School at Little Brington was built in 1851, by the 4th Earl Spencer who resided at Althorp House. He endowed it with £12 per year. The first hundred pupils had to pay a few pence each week. Although education became compulsory in 1876, children still had to pay fees until 1891.
In 1892, the National School was extended by Earl Spencer to provide classrooms for infants. The capacity of the school was 200, although the average attendance was only 95 seniors and 40 infants. The first schoolmaster was Alfred Topple, aged 22 and his sister, Maria Topple, the schoolmistress. However, they did not remain at the school for very long and were replaced by Charles Seal and his wife, who taught at the school until 1902. At this time, absenteeism was very common, with some pupils leaving school, aged 10, to go into service or work on the land.
In 1902, Northamptonshire County Council took over the management of the school and Charles Seal and his wife retired after 50 years service. They were replaced by Tom Franklin Dickinson, who remained headmaster until 1927.
The Great War
The school was not used for soldiers’ billets, although, during the school holidays, it was used as a canteen. The windows had to be curtained at this time, and the upper part was painted dark green to provide a blackout.
By 1915, so many men were serving in the forces, that the farmers were allowed to employ older schoolboys. The schoolgirls knitted socks, mittens and balaclavas for the soldiers and collected eggs for those in hospital.
In 1917, schoolchildren were granted half-day holidays to pick blackberries for the Food Production Department.
In 1918, the older children helped to distribute ration cards in the village. In July of the same year, an aeroplane landed in Brington and the pupils examined the aircraft. In November, the school was temporarily closed, due to an outbreak of influenza.
World War II
In 1939, evacuees from two London schools, in Homerton and Islington, shared Brington School with local children. Local children and those from Homerton would attend school in the morning, whilst the children from Islington used it in the afternoon.
In October 1939, this shift system was stopped, with the Homerton children being sent to Northampton and the Islington children being taught in the Reading Rooms.
The winter of 1940 was very cold and snowstorms prevented children and teachers from reaching school. A shortage of fuel for the boiler meant that the school often had to close for those children that could attend. Many children were also suffering from measles and chickenpox. In May 1941, eight of the Islington evacuees once again began attending Brington School. Other children, from London and Ipswich, were also evacuated and attended the school too.
Few bombs fell on Northampton during the war, and any which did, failed to explode. However, school often started late in the morning, as children were often kept awake at night by air-raid warnings. Many German planes flew over Brington on their way to bomb Coventry. One plane, returning from Coventry, dropped some incendiary bombs into the fields near little Brington. Here, the hedges caught fire. Another plane dropped it’s bombs harmlessly on to Moor Farm. Food and clothing were rationed at this time and the school closed in October to allow the children to help with potato picking.
On the 8th May 1945, the European war was over. Brington schoolchildren were given two days holiday to celebrate V.E. Day. At 5.30pm, on the 9th May, the school children paraded through the villages on a decorated cart. Refreshments were provided and sports continued until 9.30pm. This was the only celebration held in Brington to mark the end of the war.
All Around Us
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