These were church schools and provided elementary education for the children of the poor.
They were the product of the National Society which had begun in 1811 and aimed to establish a national school in every parish delivering a curriculum based on the teaching of the church.
According to a report of the Charity Commissioners from 1819 the annual salary of the school master was to be £20 and by one of those wonderful chance survivals the first register was preserved which the historian R.R.C.Gregory published in his of Eltham.*
James Shearing, aged 7
John Scriven, aged 11
Thomas Foster, aged 6
Edward Hand, aged 10,
William Stevens, aged 6
Charles Russell, aged 9
James Kingston, aged 7
I. Wakeman, aged 6
T.Wakeman, aged 8.”
And just like these names were familiar to Mr Gregory and his readers in 1909, some have stepped out of the shadows again today.
Thomas Foster was the son of the blacksmith who helped run the smithy on the High Street and the Wakeman boys were I think related to Peter Wakeman who had been invited to the Jubilee celebrations to mark the Reverend J.K. Shaw Brooke’s fifty years as vicar of Eltham.
Now given that I have already mentioned Richard White who taught at the school in 1841, and lived on Pound Place I reckon there are a few more stories to come on the National School, its teachers and students.
Location; Eltham, London
Pictures; The National Infants School 1909, from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers, http://www.gregory.elthamhistory.org.uk/bookpages/i001.htm