Brent Primary School Building

On Wednesday 10 December 2014, celebrations are due to take place at The Brent Primary School as the school celebrates its 120th anniversary.  The school hall will be turned into an exhibition space documenting the school’s history and displaying memories from ex-pupils and staff.

Former pupils and staff are invited to join the celebrations throughout the day.  The event will run as follows:

9.30am – 11.30am Brent pupils born prior to 1954

1.30pm – 2.45pm Brent pupils born between 1954 to 1984

3.30pm – 4.15pm Brent pupils born after 1984

Guests are also invited to continue the celebrations at The Brent Old Boys Social Club on London Road from 4pm onwards.  Those attending should email the school at office@brent.kent.sch.uk by 28 November to be placed on the guest list.

Head Teacher Sue Nicholson said

‘One of the many reasons I love The Brent so much is it’s a school with an amazing sense of history.  We are all very excited to share this event with the children and the wider school community.’

Emma Morley, Vice Chair of the school’s Parents, Staff and Friends Association said

As an ex-pupil myself and now as a parent I am very proud to be associated with the school.  I’m so pleased and excited that The Brent is celebrating 120 years.’

Here are some facts from the school’s archive:

The school opened on 10 December 1894, as a result of growing demand for school places after the 1870 Education Act made school attendance compulsory.

The School’s first Head Teacher, Mr Allen, kept a log which details that in the early years, the school suffered issues with attendance due to inclement weather and that children were often poorly clothed.  The school had fireplaces, but warmth was a constant problem and there were concerns about children sitting in damp conditions.

Between 1895 and 1918, the school had to be closed at least four times due to smallpox, diphtheria, measles and the 1918 Great Influenza Outbreak.  In 1896 Mr Allen also noted increased absenteeism on Fridays which he attributed to children using the day to deliver the Dartford Chronicle as well as on days when the circus came to town.

In the early decades of the school classes of 60 were not uncommon.  Children were occasionally sent home because they were dirty.

In 1913 teachers began to complain that they could not make themselves heard over the noise from the Electric Tram Service outside.

In 1940 air raid shelters were built in the school to enable lessons to continue during World War II.  The school suffered some bomb damage in 1941, although it does not appear to have been serious.

 Brent Primary School

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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