Charmouth School

The earliest mention of a school is found in Dunn`s Day Book. In 1834 he made a blackboard for the school. In 1836 the building was used for services during the building of the Church. Accomodation cannot have been sufficient for the congregation, as many went to Lyme. The first mention that it was a National School was when Thomas Richards daughter Mary was christened in 1842 and his name appears as "National Schoolmaster" in the church register, The schoolroom was over the residence of the master and approached by an outside staircase. In June 1867 a girl fell down the stairs and after that date a monitor was always near the bottom of the steps "on going in and out of children". (The salary of a monitor at that date was £5-4-0 p.a.)
A.B.Hann said that his father and other boys drove a donkey up the stairs and put it in the school, where it made a tremendous noise which alarmed the master Mr. Trott who got his gun and said he would shoot the first man he could see. It was during the Fenian scare and Trott thought that the village had been invaded and shouted "All up, All up". H.L.Jones, when he was master, always called the school to assemble by crying " All up" his son Lewis said.
In 1859 Daniel Board was master who had "been a lodging house keeper. George Miller in 1846; William Manfield in 1848, and James Peck in 1851 are recorded in the church register as school­masters but may not have had any connection with the National School. In 1865 Thomas Buristone was appointed and commenced the school Book. The number in the school was 96 which increased in the following year to 54 boys, 42 girls and 17 infants when the school was inspected by W.W.Howard, H.M.I of schools. The master's salary was £35 p.a. and that of a Pupil Teacher £12 p.a, The next master appointed was G.H.Trott in 1866 and Sidney A.Potter pupil Teacher. The building was totally inadequate and in 1869 on 25"th June the school moved to an old shop opposite the end of Sea Lane, while the present building was being built. There is some doubt where the temporary school was But 'The Limes" deeds mention it as being part of that building and the school log book states that the clergyman next door objected to the noise. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. Breton, wife of the rector on 26th Aug. 1869. Thomas Tarr in his diary noted that all the shops were shut for the occasion. In 1870 on June 27th work began in the new building. In the log book the master thought that it would be noisy for want of a curtain for the juveniles and insufficiency of desks. The master`s salary was £94 - 16 - 2d and the assistant teacher's £24 - 1 - 9d. Fuel and light £3 - 2 - 5d The government grant was £50 -14-0d. Subscriptions £20 - 9 - 6. School pence £21 - 2 - 9d. Owing to the difficulty of maintaining the subscriptions, the school became a Board School in 1877.
In 1878 H.L.Jones became Headmaster. A new class room was built in 1881 and the school enlarged in 1891. The the cloakrooms were added and infant's room enlarged, in 1904, The playground was opened in 1926 when the land belonging to the church was sold. When H.L.Jones retired in 1917 he was followed by Miss Knight and Mrs. Stewart became head teacher in 1922, Miss Meade followed in 1936 and Miss Pascall in 1961. Water was not laid on until recent years the school used the tap in the lane outside the Alms houses and later a tap was placed in the corner of the play­ground. The school was frequently used for concerts and it was a serious business to get the school prepared for an entertainment before the Church Hall was built.
John Stamp, the village carpenter constructed a stage from desks and planks at the far end. Screens were borrowed to take the place of a curtain and no scenery was procurable, Lighting was obtained from oil lamps suspended from the ceiling and bracket lamps. Performers came on from the Board Room at the back and the Infant`s Room, This was before the two cloak rooms were built.
Seating accomodation at the back of the room was made by using the long desks, the tops of which were hinged to form the backs of the seats. The front rows were light chairs collected in a wagon from various houses in the village. The charge of admission was l/~ and 6d. The piano was either the school instrument or one borrowed.