The Village School


We still have more to do collating a full history of the Village School; in the meantime though, Notts Archives and the Wadkin archives have given us a great starting point.

If you can help us with missing names on the photos that we have, or if you can add more photos and stories for the years that are currently missing, please contact us – thank you!

Hickling School (now the Village Hall)
Hickling School – pre-1921 when the War memorial was added (now the Village Hall)

Until the mid-1800s education had to be paid for and was beyond the scope of many rural families. Some fortunate children would have benefited from help within the community but for many the ability to read and write and to do simple mathematics wasn’t considered important or necessary or the opportunities simply weren’t available.

National Background:

In the early 1800s a number of charities began to emerge; the largest of these was the National Society for Promoting Religious Education – their schools became known as National Schools. They had a Church of England foundation and provided elementary/primary education to the children of poor families. Working at the same time, the National Society for Promoting Religious Education and the British and Foreign School Society, these two charities formed the foundation for a national system which eventually made education available to all children.

The National Society aimed to establish a school in every parish; these were often sited close to the Church and were often named after it. These schools were gradually absorbed into the State system as it developed, although many of them retained their religious foundation as faith schools. From 1833, the State began to direct funding into these societies and it also began to monitor and regulate their activities – this influence and this funding grew steadily until the Education Act of 1870 established the concept of Board Schools. It was difficult for the National Schools to continue and many either became or were replaced by these State funded Board Schools.

In Hickling:

The first time that primary education was offered to all children in Hickling was in 1837 when a relatively modest grant of £30 was used to build a National School on land next to The Green. It was later expanded on the same site to become the Board School in the 1870s.

  • “A National School founded on trust was opened on 29th September 1837” (Scrapbook of Hickling)
  • (Wadkin Notes; Minutes 1874) a meeting of the freeholders and ratepayers [to] be called for the purpose of transferring the land adjoining the present school room to the Board.

The Village School (now Hickling Village Hall) continued until 1966 when local primary schools were joined together, with pupils going to the enlarged Kinoulton Primary School.

It is likely that this National School foundation is behind the Church ownership of the building when the school closed in 1966. For a few years the building continued to be used as a Church Hall but in 1973 plans to turn the building into a Village Hall began and the building, after some years of leasing from the Church, came under full community ownership in 1985 at a cost of £12,000.


(Notts Archives Collections) We are currently working on transcriptions of the following documents relating to the village school in Hickling and which are all held by Notts Archives. The headmaster’s log book and the various ledgers are particularly fascinating because they place individuals from the village with dates and locations and information about their families and occupations. Please contact us if you have any enquiries or if you would like to help us with transcribing:

  • Balance sheets 1876-1897 (SB-22-8-1)
  • Cash Book 1875-1880 (SB-22-6-1)
  • Cash Book 1880-1899 (SB-22-6-2)
  • Cash Book 1890 (SB-22-6-3)
  • Cash book 1903 (SB-22-6-4) – includes tradesmen’s receipts
  • Conveyance 1837 (PR-15526)
  • Headmaster’s logbook 1876-1897 (SL-88-1-1)
  • Income expenditure ledger 1897-1903 (SB-2-4-2)
  • Lease correspondence 1974 (PR-15495)
  • Lease 1974 (PR-24239)
  • Loan document 1880 (SB-22-9-1-4)
  • Mortgage 1877 (SB-22-9-1-4)
  • Mortgage 1879 (SB-22-9-1-4)
  • Mortgage 1895 (SB-22-9-1-4)
  • Protest at school closure letter 1966 (PR-28629)
  • Treasurer’s Book  1875-1897 (SB-22-4-1)
  • WI list of items from school to be re-sold 1966 (PR-25,259/1-1)
Mortgage and Loan Agreements 1870-1895 (Notts Archives)

National Archives, Kew:

  • Hickling Council School 1875-1913 – school no.110 (ED 21/14086; record not digitised – can only be viewed at Kew
  • Hickling Council School 1920-1934 – school no.110 (ED 21/37601; record not digitised – can only be viewed at Kew
  • Hickling Council School 1939 – school no.110 (ED 21/59250; record not digitised – can only be viewed at Kew

1837: The National School:

In 1837 a small piece of wasteland belonging to the Lord of the Manor (William Fletcher Norton Norton esq. of Elton, Notts) was sold to the Rector and Churchwardens for 10/- (ten shillings) for the purpose of building a National School. The piece of land is just 33 feet x 35 feet.

The detail of the conveyance locates the parcel of land to be used to build a school very precisely as a triangular area bordered by Main Street, the road to houses on the Green and The Green itself:

Village School - conveyance 1837 (Notts Archives)
Village School – conveyance 1837 (Notts Archives)
  • … all that piece or parcel of land or ground situate and being in the Parish of Hickling and within and parcel of the *waste lands of the Manor of Hickling in the county of Nottingham containing by admeasurement in breadth from north to south thirty three feet and in length from east to west thirty five feet bounded in the east and south by the village Green on the west by the street of the village of Hickling aforesaid and on the north by the public carriage road or highway leading from Hickling to houses adjacent and being the seize of three cottages lately standing thereon in a dilapidated condition and occupied by Susan Carrington John Clarke and Thomas Carrington the elder …
  • … the piece of land […] comprises the seize of three cottages formerly erected by the inhabitants of the Parish of Hickling aforesaid upon part of the wasteland of and in that Parish which said cottages were occupied by poor persons belonging to the Parish but the same having become much dilapidated and decayed it was agreed by and between the freeholders and parishioners of the said Parish [that instead] of repairing and amending such cottages that the same should be pulled down and removed and that the use thereof shall be conveyed in manner hereinafter mentioned in order that a school house to be appropriated for the education of poor children in the principles of the established Church may be erected thereon …

Extracts from the 1776 Enclosure map (left) and the 1884 OS map (right) – before and after the school was built in 1837 and enlarged in 1876.

Negotiating the change to becoming a Board School (1876)

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Wnews1 02021895to10081901 (4)
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Wnews1 02021895to10081901 (6)

(Transcript) Wadkin Archive (Newspaper cuttings album 1) – handwritten notes, possibly written c.1895 by Mrs Margaret Wadkin:

Extracts from letters received from the Education Department Whitehall London SW, the National Society Sanctuary Westminster, the Hickling School Board, Minutes & Log Books, Documents etc.

The National School at Hickling was founded on a trust dated September 29th 1837. £30 was contributed by the National Society towards the cost of building the school.

An application to form a School Board at Hickling was made to the Board of Education on December 3rd 1873. Forms were sent to the Revd HW Edwardes, containing the regulations to be observed in the formation and election of School Boards on December […] 1873.

The first meeting of the School Board was held on Thursday May 14th 1874.

Minutes June 1st 1874. The present Trustees of the Parish School of Hickling, having agreed to transfer the same to the School Board for the term of 99 years at the Annual Rent of 1/-. It was resolved to accept the same on the above condition.

Proposed by Mr Wm Collishaw Seconded by Mr H Merriman. That a meeting of the freeholders and ratepayers be called for the purpose of transferring the land adjoining the present school room to the board. Carried [mem …]

Minutes July 6th 1874. It was resolved to forward to Mr Stafford a copy of the resolution passed on 1st of June for the purpose of enabling him to proceed with the transfer of the School.

Minutes March 11th 1875. It was agreed to accept Mr Burnetts contract for altering and fitting up the School and fencing it round but he was requested to specify more particularly what was to be done. It was also agreed that the Clerk should make application to the Educational Department for the borrowing of £300 to complete the work.

Minute March 23rd 1875. Some difficulty having arisen out of the National Society claiming certain rights in reference to the use of the present schoolrooms the Clerk was directed to lay before them the conditions of transfer and also the old deed.

Minute April  12th 1875. The Clerk having received the reply of the National Society and that Society imposing certain conditions to which the Board decidedly objected. It was moved by Mr […] Bell and seconded by Mr H Merriman that the Clerk write to the Education Department to the effect that they decline to accept the transfer on these conditions and that he further enquire whether the department would sanction the transfer independent of the National Society.

Minute June 24th 1875. Certain reasons were assigned and directed to be forwarded to the department in reply to their enquiries ‘why’ a lease of 99 years and what objection there could be to a reservation in favour of the Managers for the use of the School room for Saturdays, Sundays etc.

Letter July 20th 1875. The Education Department wrote saying they would not insist upon a shorter lease than the one proposed (99 years) they were of the opinion that the objection of the National Society would be fairly met by the arrangements for transfer reserving to the Managers and their successors the use of the school premises (except any Teacher’s residence) on Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday. The [alienation] of the School premises without such a reservation appears to be an unnecessary departure from the terms of the existing trust. Such a reservation would not interfere with the Board having all the use of the School premises which they need for the teaching of the children. I am directed to enquire whether the Managers of the Board will agree to modify the proposed terms of arrangement for transfer in accordance with the suggestion contained in the present letter.

Minute July 26th 1875. The Clerk was instructed to inform the Education Department that the Managers and School Board do agree to modify the proposed terms of arrangement for transfer in accordance with the suggestion contained in their letter of the 20th of July 1875.

Letter August 10th 1875. The Education Department returned plans, which have been submitted to their architect who reports on them as follows:- There would only be accommodation for about 80 children, the lan should be enlarged so as to accommodate 14 more children. The Classroom should not be a passage room. There should be two external doors to the principle school room.

Minute September 6th 1875. The Board met on Monday Sept 6th Mr […] Bell proposed that the seal of the Board be affixed to the transfer of the present School to the Board, Seconded by Mr Wm Collishaw and carried unanimously.

Preliminary Statement

(including a sketch plan of the school and location)

Form VIB School Boards Dated Sept 6th 1875

Tenure, 99 years under lease of nominal rent of 1/-per annum.

School not yet enlarged as intended to be.

Ground plan of School Rooms +

Minute Oct 4th 1875. It was unanimously agreed that the Clerk should write to Mr [Barber] of Nottingham, Architect authorising him to draw plans of the intended enlargement of the present school room to meet government requirements.

Minute Feb 7th 1876. It was unanimously resolved to accept Mr Burnetts tender for enlarging and completing the School according to the plans and specifications subject to the approval of the Education department £442

The fittings etc to be £30 extra.

Document Sept 11th 1875. Indenture of lease made between William Henry Edward, Samuel Howard Marshall and Arthur Price of the one part and the School Board of Hickling of the other part. The transfer of the Parish School of Hickling to the School Board for 99 years at a nominal rent of 1/- per annum to be paid on the 25th of March reserving to the Managers and their successors ie. the Rector and Churchwardens for the time being the use of the School on Sundays, Christmas Days and Good Fridays they however must make their own arrangements as to providing for the cost of any fuel, light and cleaning in consequence of such use.

Log book Nov 20th 1876. This school was opened this morning when 72 children were present, and in the afternoon when there were 78 in attendance Master B Wilkinson.


1936 – move to secondary school

Wadkin Notes: “Until the law was changed in 1936 children stayed at the village school until leaving at the age of fourteen years. After this date pupils who became eleven years old before the new school year commenced in September, were then required to travel to Melton Boy’s or Melton Girl’s school. The first pupils from Hickling to be affected were Ted Faulks and Raynor Parr. Wright’s ‘bus company from Keyworth was engaged to transport the children to Melton and home again.

“During the late 1940s and until the mid 1950s Wright’s school bus – on arrival at Hickling at 8.05am – had already picked up pupils from Stanton-on-the-Wolds and Kinoulton, it then picked up again at the top of Bridegate Lane and Upper Broughton. On the return journey the school ‘bus arrived at Hickling Chapel at approximately 4.45pm. The ‘bus driver was usually one of the Wright family, either Mr Wright senior, known to all as ‘Daddy Wright’, one of his sons, either Charlie, Bernard or John, occasionally Mr Oldham who also lived in Keyworth would drive the ‘bus.

W0324b School buses 1950s
W0324b Wrights’ school bus 1950s

“This arrangement lasted until 1957 when a new school had been built and opened at Radcliffe-on-Trent, where Hickling pupils who now reached eleven years were required to attend. In 1961 Rushcliffe senior school was built and opened in West Bridgford, eleven year olds from Hickling were now to attend this school. A further change took place on 10th January 1967 when South Wolds school opened in Keyworth, children from Kinoulton, Hickling and Upper Broughton now attend this school when they become eleven years old.”


1966: Closure of the Village School

The 1960s brought with it a huge change in primary school education; changes in educational theory, increased mobility, social changes and local authority funding pressures combined to bring the closure of small village schools. One school was selected to serve groups of villages and was enlarged to provide for the increased number of pupils; the remaining small village schools were closed. In this area, the small village school in Kinoulton was selected for expansion and pupils from the neighbouring villages, like Hickling, were bused to Kinoulton instead of going to school in their own villages.

Wadkin notes: “In March 1963 the Women’s Institute sent a letter of protest to the Ministry of Education on the subject of the closure of the school. A petition was drawn up, taken round the village and the Pastures and signed by almost all the inhabitants, although new families had moved to the village and the school register now stood at around 33 pupils the school was closed in December 1966, the headmistress being Miss BE Hatton.”

(page 1of3) – letter of protest held at Notts Archives

Protest Letter (1966) – transcription from an original held at Notts Archives.

Nottinghamshire

Hickling County Primary School No. 2758

Proposed Closure.

We, the undersigned, being residents and qualified Government Electors for the Parish of Hickling, in the County of Nottinghamshire, do hereby express and submit to you our earnest and united protest against the proposed closure of our Village School, and in accordance with the views expressed by you to the Federation of Women’s Institutes, confidently trust that you will give careful attention and consideration to the feelings and practical grounds upon which the protest is made to ensure that the proposed closure will not be made in an error of judgement, unenlightened in the matter of the future essential needs of our particular area.

Grantham Journal
  1. We are primarily an agricultural Community. Our Village School has been a great factor in fostering the qualities essential amongst those who live and work on the land, and has thereby ensured many successive lines of both farmers and farm workers. We now consider our School to be our greatest stronghold in maintaining those lines, as owing to factors outside our control, we have not had houses built for agricultural workers, neither have we been blessed with a supply of piped water. It is the lack of these two facilities which is responsible for the low number of scholars now attending our school. It would be a great injustice and short-sighted error of judgement to now close our school and so jeopardise the future normal agricultural functions which our Parish must fulfil. Not only would the three combined aforesaid factors prove an effective deterrent to any agricultural worker seeking employment in the village, it would also lead our present workers to seek employment in villages offering these three facilities. We have made continued representations in council for both water and houses, and consider it an unjust measure to close our School and transfer the scholars to a village which has enjoyed the two said developments with a consequent increase of child population.
  2. We do not consider it conducive to the health or personal safety of a five year old child to travel, unattended, to another village school and have its meals away from home outside the care and attention of the parent who best knows the particular requirements of the child to safeguard its health.
  3. The scholars of our village school have always been maintained in a state of cleanliness and health which we, as parents and residents, are justly proud of. We cannot hope to maintain this high standard if the closure of our school becomes effective.
  4. The school was taken over from the Church by the then Education Authorities in the year 1875 upon a 99 years lease. We strongly resent the attempts now being made by the Education Authorities to secure a premature release from the Agreement of 1875 and thereby terminate the strong long term links of good influence which the Church has always shown in the education of scholars attending the school.
  5. While we do not wish to contest this proposed closure upon political grounds, we do, by a great majority opinion, most strongly resent any progressive course which increases regional or central controls and so lessens the governing powers of local bodies which have from long term on the spot associations gained valuable inside knowledge of local requirements.
  6. While we fully appreciate the present needs for economy in expenditure, also the difficulties arising from the present shortage of Teaching Staff,  we are nevertheless fully conscious that our particular long term needs are of such importance that they greatly outweigh the present short term difficulties.

From the Wadkin Archives:

Hickling School (now the Village Hall)
A History of the Village School

Hickling Board School.

(Extract from the Scrapbook of Hickling by Hazel Wadkin)

On the 3rd December,1873 the Parish made an application to the Board of Education for the building of a new school and the necessary forms containing the regulations to be observed were sent to the Rev. H. W. Edwards. The first meeting of the School Board was held on Thursday 14th May, 1874 and the following notes from the minutes show how the building came to be erected.

  • Notes from the minutes 1st June,1874. The present trustees of the Parish School of Hickling agreed to transfer the same to the School Board for the term of 99 years at an annual rent of one shilling.  It was resolved to accept the same on above conditions. Proposed by Mr. Wm. Collishaw, seconded by Mr. H. Merriman that a meeting of the freeholders and ratepayers be called for the purpose of transferring the land adjoining the present school-room to the Board.
  • Minutes 11th March,1875. It was agreed to accept Mr. Burnetts contract for altering and fitting up the school and fencing around but he was requested to specify more particularly what was to be done. It was also agreed that the clerk should make application to the Educational Department for the borrowing of £300 to complete the work.
  • Minutes 23rd March,1875. Some difficulty having arisen out of the National Society claiming certain rights in reference to use of present schoolroom, the Clerk was requested to lay before them conditions of transfer and also the deeds.
  • Minutes 12th April,1875. The Clerk received a reply from the National Society imposing certain conditions to which the Board decidedly objected. It was proposed and seconded that the Clerk write to the Education Department that they decline to accept the transfer on these conditions.
  • Minutes 24th June, 1875. Certain reasons assigned to be forwarded to the Department in reply to their enquiries ‘Why’ a lease of 99 years.
  • Minutes 26th July,1875. The clerk to inform the Education Department that the Managers and School Board agree to modify the proposed terms of arrangement for transfer in accordance with the suggestion contained in their letter of the 20th July, 1875.
  • Letter 10th August, 1875. The Education Department returned the plans having been submitted to their architect and reports as follows: there would only be accommodation for about 80 children. Plan should be enlarged to accommodate 14 more children. Classroom should not be a passage room. There should be two external doors to the principle schoolroom.
  • Document dated 11th September,1875. Indenture of lease between William Henry Edwards, Samual Howard Marshall and Arthur Price of the one part and the school board of the other part. The transfer of the Parish School of Hickling to the School Board for 99 years at a nominal rent of 1/- (one shilling) per annum to be paid on 25th March reserving to the Managers and their successors i.e. the Rector and Churchwardens for the time being the use of the School on Sundays, Christmas Days and Good Fridays and must make their own arrangements as to providing cost of fuel, light and cleaning.
  • Minutes 4th October,1875. It was unanimously agreed that the Clerk write to Mr. Booker of Nottingham, architect authorising him to draw plans of intended enlargement of present schoolroom to meet the government requirements.
  • Minutes 7th February,1876. It was unanimously resolved to accept Mr. Burnett’s tender for enlarging and completing the school subject to approval of Education Department ••••• £442 fittings etc. to be £30 extra.
  • The School Log Book for the 20th November, 1876 states “This school was opened this morning when 72 children were present and in the afternoon 78 were present. The headmaster was Mr. B.Wilkinson, headmistress Mrs. Wilkinson”.
W0280b Hickling School pre-1921
W0280b Hickling School – postcard stamped 1933.

Wadkin notes: Mid and late-1940s:- milk was brought in third pint bottles to be drunk at mid-morning and cost half a penny a bottle. During the frosty weather the crate of milk was left outside and the pupils would ‘eat’ their frozen milk with teaspoons. Hot dinners were brought from Ruddington by van, the meals kept hot in canisters. As Hickling was the last drop Mr Howard the ‘Dinner Man’ stayed o have his meal here taking away the clean canisters. The small classroom at the back of the school on the south side was used as a dining room. Sylvia Smith who lived in the middle down The Green came to help in the kitchen later helped by Mrs Margaret Richardson. Cost of the dinners was around 2/- (two shillings) per week.

Reflections of Yesteryear:

(pp37-38) Hickling School:

Hickling School

For many children attending school meant a long walk from outlying farms and lodges and from Hickling Pastures. During the Summer months often they would take a short cut by walking across the fields but when the land was wet this was not possible. As these children could not go home for dinner they brought sandwiches. The infants used one of the small classrooms, older children being taught in the ‘big room’ where there was a piano. All the children joined together

in the morning to start the day with prayers and hymns. During lessons pupils were required to sit at their desks, the teacher at a high desk and sitting on a high chair with a blackboard and easel nearby. A small wooden shelf with a groove ran around the walls, this was used for pencils, chalk and displaying cards and books. The two bottom rows of window panes were frosted to stop children looking out. The school bell, with the rope hanging through into the classroom was used twice daily. Each room was heated by a coal fire around which stood a metal fire guard. The caretaker filled the large coal buckets early in the morning before school commenced.

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(transcriptions to follow)