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Primary Schools
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Janet Duke: Markhams Chase, Laindon


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Janet Duke School Janet Duke School Janet Duke School
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Location: Janet Duke School
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 27/11/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: A school extension under construction.
Location: Janet Duke School
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 07/04/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
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Janet Duke School Janet Duke School Janet Duke School
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Location: Janet Duke School
Year of photo: 1950s
Copyright: Brian Baylis
Source: Brian Baylis
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Year of photo: 1950s
Copyright: Brian Baylis
Source: Brian Baylis
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Year of photo: 1950s
Copyright: Brian Baylis
Source: Brian Baylis
Comments:
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Janet Duke School Janet Duke School Janet Duke School
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Location: Janet Duke School
Year of photo: circa 1958
Copyright: Brian Baylis
Source: Brian Baylis
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Year of photo: 1950s
Copyright: Brian Baylis
Source: Brian Baylis
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Year of photo: 1950s
Copyright: Brian Baylis
Source: Brian Baylis
Comments:
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Janet Duke School Janet Duke School Janet Duke School
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Location: Janet Duke School
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 28/04/2013
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 28/04/2013
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Janet Duke School
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 28/04/2013
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
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Opened in October 1933 as Markhams Chase Council School, the school was renamed Janet Duke in October 1964 in honour of the former headmistress who had served the school since it opened.

In the early 1930s proposals were put forward to build a new school in the Laindon area to cope with the high number of children at Laindon High Road, which from its opening in 1928 was admitting all children of school age. It was intended to provide 400+ places and having secured a site for the new school in Markhams Chase, in June 1932 Essex County Council's Education Committee were accepting tenders for its construction.

In February 1933 Miss Janet Duke, head assistant at the High Road council school, was appointed Headmistress of a temporary school on the High Road site which transferred to the new building in October 1933.

In 1964 after 31 years in charge Janet Duke retired at the end of the summer term and from September Mr. R.J.R. Onions took over as the first Headmaster. He remained in charge until the 1980s. It was during his first term in October that the school was renamed Janet Duke in honour of the former headmistress in a special ceremony held on the playing field. During this time some classes were temporary accommodated in nearby Nicholas Secondary School as a result of overcrowding.

A new infant school was built on an adjoining field and the school was separated with Mr. Onions continuing as the junior head and Mrs M.D. Moon appointed head of the infants. In September 1968 some infants that would have progressed to the junior school were transferred to Bluehouse to bring up pupil numbers. Demountable classrooms also appeared around the early 1970s for some of the junior classes.

A feature of the school grounds is a pond that is believed to be as old as the school. During the 1960s, and while the school was still Markhams Chase, it was almost filled in after a period of neglect. In October 1963 the Basildon Development Corporation also expressed concerns that it might cause serious flooding in the vicinity of the then under construction Lee Chapel North housing estate. In the event the pond remained and now in the 2000s with new landscaping and fencing looks set for a long future.

In September 2010 the infant and junior schools merged to become Janet Duke Primary School. A new corridor linking the two schools was completed in April 2011. This was named Willets Walk Way after long serving site manager Chris Willets.

Note of interest
(1) The junior school was selected as one of the local polling stations for the first national UK referendum (United Kingdom European Communities referendum) held on 5th June 1975.

Page added: 2002
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Text researched and written by William Cox, 2006 with revisions 2007-2009.
Copyright © 2006-2009, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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