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A look at Education in Christleton over the Years

Education has always played an important part in the life of the village, from the days of the John Seller’s Charity School, founded in 1779, through to the Primary and High Schools of today. The dame school on Village Road, the private schools at Holly Bank (now Birch Heath Lodge) and High Walls (Miss Dimmer’s School), the Catholic seminary, and more recently the College of Law (now University of Law) at Christleton Hall have all played their part. You can also add the Pre School Play Group & Mother & Toddler Groups from more recent times. It is said that the population of Christleton doubles each day with the influx of pupils and students to its educational establishments. The purpose of this short introduction is to give a brief outline of these facilities to go with the huge archive of photographic material we hold in the Christleton Local History Group Village Archives. There is so much material that I will continue to promote and illustrate these educational archives over several months.

In this first collection I start with the John Seller’s Charity School, which was built in the corner of the present churchyard adjacent to Pepper Street. The minute book pictured, is still in use by the clerk of the Trust, and the first picture of headteacher and boys is believed to have been taken inside that building c 1880. Pictures 5 to 14 illustrate life at the Girls and Infants School established in 1856 which stood at the corner of Quarry Lane and Rowton Bridge Road. Infant Boys were sent up to the Boys School in what is now the Parish Hall when they were six or seven. The Girls School building was added to in 1873 with another wing, and was then called Christleton Girls and Infants School under the control of the Church of England. I took over the leadership of the schools in 1972, and many of the pictures shown illustrate the changes in both Girls and Infants School building and Boys School at the top of the Village (now the Parish Hall) at that time.
I’ve jumped a little here as both schools changed their titles several times since they were first established. I’ll skip all these technical changes for now. The “new” Primary school in Quarry Lane opened in 1974 became a Cheshire County Primary School so changing from the Church of England’s control.

Picture 11 illustrates the Bottom of the Wood an Inn with a schoolroom above it, which was opposite the Girls and Infants Building. The small room at the back of the next picture was a Dame School, the mistress being Catherine Mayers. Her brother George Mayers (illustrated) was Headteacher of the Boys School from 1844 to the late 1880s. He was followed by Sam Earlam and there are several pictures of this era illustrated. The John Seller’s Charity School had by then been moved from the church yard, to the former Ring O Bells Pub site, and was now called the Christleton Boys School. (This building is now the Parish Hall.) Notice the old bell tower on this building, an establishment which was influenced and guided by the leadership of Rector Canon Lionel Garnett. You can see the condition of the old school in August 1972 when I took over the headship, and subsequently some of the changes we implemented to prepare the children, primary aged pupils, boys and girls 7 to 11 years, for life in the “new” Primary School being built on an old farm site in Quarry Lane. This new school building, with an “open plan” design was revolutionary in some senses, certainly bringing the children of Christleton into a new era and style of education. It could accommodate all the children from both schools and my job was to inspire all the staff, children and parents to work together in this wonderful new school.

By good fortune one of the governors who appointed me, Councillor Wilf Mitchell from Whitchurch Road, Christleton, was Mayor of Chester in 1974 and he and Mrs Mitchell kindly came to open the new school building on April 23rd Shakespeare’s Birthday. We were determined to open the school on time despite the fact that we were short of furniture and equipment, as at that time the country was in the grip of the 3 day week and industrial strife.

The staff and children were ready and prepared to move, so we walked from the old schools to the new building for the very special assembly. You can see from the few slides shown what a change of circumstances there had been for everyone, (just compare the school kitchens, slide 22 and 36). We had a wonderful new building, an assembly hall, which was both a meeting place and gymnasium, and 7 super new classrooms. On the very first morning to celebrate the move, a concert was given by County Music Advisor Mr Ron Mallaband & his colleagues. It was a very happy new beginning for education at the primary stage in Christleton and as I write these notes in 2021, can’t believe that its 49years since I was first appointed Headteacher.

  •  John Sellers Minute Book 1779

    John Sellers Minute Book 1779

  •  Minute Book

    Minute Book

  •  Map of Christleton Village Centre showing John Sellers School

    Map of Christleton Village Centre showing John Sellers School

  •  John Sellers School

    John Sellers School

  •  Christleton Girs and Infants School 1800's

    Christleton Girs and Infants School 1800's

  •  Puils at Christleton Girls and Infants School 1900's

    Puils at Christleton Girls and Infants School 1900's

  •  Mrs. Pearce Class 1970's

    Mrs. Pearce Class 1970's

  •  Mrs. Chatsworth's Class 1972

    Mrs. Chatsworth's Class 1972

  •  Christleton Old Infants School

    Christleton Old Infants School

  •  Christleton School 1972 with Headteacher David Cummings

    Christleton School 1972 with Headteacher David Cummings

  •  Christleton Infant School Playground

    Christleton Infant School Playground

  •  Christleton Old Girls and Infants School

    Christleton Old Girls and Infants School

  •  Site of Christleton Girls, Infants and Dame School

    Site of Christleton Girls, Infants and Dame School

  •  Bottom of the Wood Dame School 1800's

    Bottom of the Wood Dame School 1800's

  •  Christlton Dame School Building

    Christlton Dame School Building

  •  Christleton Dame School Catherine Mayers

    Christleton Dame School Catherine Mayers

  •  Christleton Boy's School

    Christleton Boy's School

  •  George Mayers 1844 - 1890's

    George Mayers 1844 - 1890's

  •  Sam Earlam and Boys, Christleton

    Sam Earlam and Boys, Christleton

  •  Sam Earlam 1900's Christleton Boys School

    Sam Earlam 1900's Christleton Boys School

  •  Main Hall, Christleton Junior School 1972

    Main Hall, Christleton Junior School 1972

  •  The School Kitchen at Christleton Boys School 1972

    The School Kitchen at Christleton Boys School 1972

  •  Christleton Junior School 1972

    Christleton Junior School 1972

  •  Christleton Junior School 1972

    Christleton Junior School 1972

  •  Mrs Mason's Class, Christleton

    Mrs Mason's Class, Christleton

  •  Christleton Boys School 1970

    Christleton Boys School 1970

  •  Christleton Parish Hall former School

    Christleton Parish Hall former School

  •  Christleton Primary School Site 1971

    Christleton Primary School Site 1971

  •  Christleton Primary School 1971

    Christleton Primary School 1971

  •  Christleton Primary School Field

    Christleton Primary School Field

  •  New Primary School, Christleton 1972

    New Primary School, Christleton 1972

  •  New Primary School layout, Christleton 1972

    New Primary School layout, Christleton 1972

  •  Mayor Wilf Mitchell Opens the Primary School Christleton in 1972

    Mayor Wilf Mitchell Opens the Primary School Christleton in 1972

  •  The Mayor of Chester with Mrs Eccles

    The Mayor of Chester with Mrs Eccles

  •  Mrs Pearce Class at the new Primary School Christleton

    Mrs Pearce Class at the new Primary School Christleton

  •  The Mayor with Joyce Dentith in the Kitchen 1972

    The Mayor with Joyce Dentith in the Kitchen 1972

  •  Concert to Open the new Christleton Primary School, April 1972

    Concert to Open the new Christleton Primary School, April 1972

  •  ew Infant Library at Christleton

    ew Infant Library at Christleton

  •  New Classroom at Christleton Primary School

    New Classroom at Christleton Primary School

  •  Celebrating Jubilee Day on the Playing Fields

    Celebrating Jubilee Day on the Playing Fields

Schoolboy
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Schoolgirl
A look at Education in Christleton over the Years

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