Chowdhary County Infant School opened its doors in September
1966. The junior school opened the following year in September 1967.
It was the last of
three planned temporary schools for mixed children below senior entry; the others being Bryn (opened 1958)
and Springfield (opened 1962).
Situated in Markhams Chase its main catchment area was the
then new Lee Chapel North housing estate built closeby.
The infant school's first appointed
Headmistress was Mrs. V.P. Griffiths and the junior school's first Headmaster was Mr. Peter F.
Jones. Mrs. Griffiths had previously held the same post at Pitsea
The school was named after Dharm Chowdhary*, a popular Laindon doctor who
kept a surgery at a house called Daisybank (since demolished) in High Road, Laindon.
On 3rd October 1967 the school held a special plaque unveiling ceremony in honour of the late Dr.
Chowdhary which was presented by his wife Savitri. In attendance were Basildon U.D. Council Chairman,
Arthur Baron Burn and Rev. Arthur Dunlop, Rector of St. Martin-le-Tours, Basildon, who dedicated
the plaque. The plaque read: 'To honour the memory of Dr Dharm Sheel Chowdhary who gave devoted
service to the people of Laindon and the local schools throughout the period from 1931–59'.
The junior school
for the school year 1966/67 was first used by 128 first year* pupils from Nicholas School;
which was being enlarged with a new block.
The school had both single and two-storey blocks,
an enclosed swimming pool and a large playing field adjoining Leinster Road and Nicholas Comprehensive School.
swimming pool was a later addition first considered in June 1968. Its cost was put at around
£2,500 and a committee, led by the junior headmaster Mr. Jones, was formed to organise various fund
raising events aimed at reaching the target. The 50ft. by 20ft. pool, which opened in September 1969, was originally
open-air and also used by Janet Duke junior school. Following its completion a 'swimming pool roof
fund' was then organised and another series of events aimed at raising £3,500 began. The pool
with its new roof was completed in 1973 and a special event was held on 17th February to mark the
official opening. Special guests who attended included Basildon Council Chairman John Costello,
Basildon's Olympic diver Alison Drake and Savitri Chowdhary.
Initially the junior school
had just two form years until September 1969 when pupil numbers increased allowing the school to expand.
September 1979 the schools were reorganised into a single primary school.
During the 1980s problems with the structural condition of the junior block had
been identified and remedied with three highly visable strengthening struts.
In the 1990s
pupil numbers fell and the school was deemed uneconomical to remain open. On 7th June, 1996 during
the final term the school was hit by a fire that destroyed the kitchen and swimming pool. Pupil
numbers had dropped to just 60 by the time of closure in July 1996.
Around 1972 Mrs S.M.E. Ashton replaced Mrs Griffiths as Headmistress. Mrs Ashton would later
take charge at Northlands Infants in Pitsea. The last Headteacher was Mrs. Enid M. Firman who
took over from Mrs Ashton when the school became a primary.
The school was demolished soon after closure though the site remained unused and overgrown up to
early 2005 when it was cleared and then absorbed into the existing James Hornsby (formerly Nicholas)
playing fields in a land deal that saw a portion of the latters playing field developed into a
small extension of the Church View housing estate.
Teachers known to have taught there include:
Mrs M. Gooding (deputy headmistress infant school), Mrs Lamb, Mr Williams, Mrs Murfitt, Mr Leonard, Mrs Brown, Mrs Petit, Mrs Tompsett, Mrs Savill,
Mrs Mudge, Mrs Lawson, Mrs Chambers (supply teacher), Mrs McNeil, Mr J. Chapman, Miss Hume/Mrs Moseuni or Mohseni,
Mrs K. Barnes, Mrs Bingham and Mrs Boult.
A former caretaker was Mr Fowler.