There have been schools in Stonehouse for at least 300 years. By 1720 there was a charity school teaching twelve poor children. This may have been run by the vicar in the Old Vicarage, on the site of the Gothic-style building behind the shops on Elm Road. This road is part of an old route to Oldends and beyond across the River Severn.
In 1774 a group of local clothiers and gentlemen funded charity schools to teach poor children. Most of the money was used to buy Orchard House, by the Green, and the orchard behind it. Stephen Jenner was the first schoolmaster. John Elliott, also a surveyor, taught at the school from 1789, and lived on at Orchard House from 1832 to 1848.
A government report published in 1840 said that the weavers of Stonehouse had ‘’in many instances a respectable little library… In all other parishes [nearby] I scarcely found a relic of a bookshelf”.
Stonehouse was one of the first villages in the country to build a National School. These schools provided elementary education for the children of the poor, according to the principles of the Church of England. The school was paid for by local people who donated money. You can see a list of their names in St Cyr’s Church.
Look at the old school building (now Stonehouse Park Infant School) and underneath the bell you can see in Roman numerals the date when the school was built,1832.
By 1847 there were 113 pupils at the National School, taught by a master, a mistress and monitors. The school educated the children of the poor, while private schools catered for those who could pay.
In 1903 the school was transferred to the local education authority, becoming known as Stonehouse Council School in 1906. The Junior Mixed and Infants Departments amalgamated in 1928, and a separate senior department was created in 1950.
The primary school was known as Stonehouse County Primary School from April 1952 until June 1967 when it was renamed Park School, and the junior and infants departments were split to form two separate schools in 1973. Park Infant School and Park Junior School. In 2016, Park Infant School was renamed Stonehouse Park Infant School.
The senior department became Stonehouse County Secondary School, which was formed in Autumn 1951 on the same site as the Stonehouse County Primary School. New buildings for the senior school were officially opened in 1957, although the move to the new buildings began around 1954. The name was changed to Maidenhill School in 1967 and the school became comprehensive in 1976.
1832 – The National School was built
1905 – Gloucestershire County Council took over the school from the National Society.
1939 – 45 – numbers increased as evacuees and war workers’ children arrived.
1951 – a separate Secondary School was started in huts on the same site.
1957 – a new Secondary School building was opened – now Maidenhill.
1967 – the Primary School was renamed Park School after the former Manor Park.
1973 – Park School was divided into separate Infant and Junior Schools.
1986 – the new Junior School building was opened.
1987– the Family Centre was opened at the Infant School.
Journal Issue 8
Stonehouse School 1832 – 1928 by Jane Gulliford