The Village School


We still have more to do collating a full history of the Village School; in the meantime though, 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:

We have very little information about the original foundation of a village school in Hickling; “A National School founded on trust was opened on 29th September 1837” (Scrapbook of Hickling). It isn’t clear whether this school was on the same site as the Board School which replaced it in 1876 – but correspondence from the 1870s makes it seem possible (enquiries are ongoing):

  • (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.
  • however, we also know there was a school room built at the Rectory sometime around or after 1837 and that this school room was used as a private school in the late C18th
  • this schoolroom may be the original National School which transferred to the newly built school on the Green when it became a Board School in the 1870s

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.


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.

From the Wadkin Archives:

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

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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