St Matthews School
Founded as school for boys and girls, most of its short history was spent as an all girls school located in Strood Road. The school was badly damaged during the Second World War and was never rebuilt.
Built by Rev. John Cumberlege, the school was initially housed in a small building to the south of the original St Matthews Church and opened in 1861 with Miss Mary Avis as headmistress. Within a few short years the school had outgrown its building, housing around 140 children in one room. Fundraising took place to build a new school, with the majority of funds raised through the efforts of St Matthews Church and Mrs Mary Cumberlege, Rev. John Cumberlege's widow. A site in Grove Road, now Strood Road, was chosen and the new school was officially opened in 1878 by Thomas Brassey MP. The original school building was used as a Parish Room following the move.
The new school was enlarged numerous times and by 1912 there were eleven teachers and 132 girls.
The girls of the school were evacuated to London Colney during World War Two and the empty school building, that was being used to store repair materials for bomb sites around the town, was badly damaged in the March 1943 bombing raid. It was intended to rebuild the school following the war, with a new site at Eversley Crescent being investigated in 1948. By 1945, D.J. Neame, a timber merchant occupied the site, and was granted permission to use the site to store wood during 1949, before the site was sold in 1951 and houses were built on the site.
References & Notes
- Buckle, Alan & Hastings Local History Group (2013). : From waterfall to windmill, p. 72.