Bromley Common and its Schools

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The Bromley School Board

The 1870 Education Act said that a school board had to be elected in any town where there were not enough schools for all the children. The boards would build and maintain any extra schools that were needed; paid for by an increase in local taxes. Many people in Bromley opposed the threat of a school board. They produced dishonest statistics to show that there was no shortage of school places and argued that board schools would cost more than church schools. 

More important for many people was the fear that the churches would lose control of education. In the 1870s, all Bromley’s schools, except the private ones, were run by churches like Holy Trinity. If there had to be a school board, it would be elected by all ratepayers, not just parishioners of the local churches.

It was the threat of a school board that was used to raise money for the new church school in Addison Road in the early 1880s.

Despite their efforts to avoid it, the people of Bromley finally had to elect a school board in 1888.

Logo of Bromley School Board

Logo of the Bromley School Board.

As soon as a school board was elected, it set about building new schools. A temporary school for the area round Chatterton Road was opened in 1889. They got a permanent building in Raglan Road in 1891. The children’s pence at board schools was only 2d for infants, 3d for older pupils, compared to the 3d or 4d per week that Bromley Common charged.

Dishonest statistics When demonstrating that there was no need for a school board, the number of children in the Bromley Common area was given as 135. This was based on the number of children in school on the day of the inspector's visit. The number of children on the school roll was actually 177, a discrepancy of 42. No doubt similar discrepancies could be found in other parts of Bromley.

 

A Threat