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Primary Schools
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Langdon Hills Primary: (New School) High Road, Langdon Hills


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Langdon Hills School Langdon Hills School Langdon Hills School
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Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/02/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/02/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/02/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
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Langdon Hills School Langdon Hills School Langdon Hills School
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Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/02/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/02/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 25/02/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
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Langdon Hills School Langdon Hills School Langdon Hills School
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Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 07/05/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The front Girls' entrance.
Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 07/05/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Side view & rear of Infant block.
Location: Langdon Hills
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 07/05/2007
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Infant block entrance.
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Langdon Hills school opened on 13th February 1911.

It was built as a larger replacement of an earlier school of the same name that still stands in the High Road at the top of Crown Hill. The former school is now a private residence. The new school, also in the High Road but located at the foot of the eventual Crown Hill, was first proposed in 1907 and aimed to serve the wider community. It opened as a Council school and was much larger and less isolated from the main Langdon Hills developments. Mrs. Patience Fothergill is believed to be the first headmistress. The school later became Langdon Hills County Primary.

The girls' playground was at the front facing the High Road, with an entrance at the front left, and the boys' playground was at the back with a side entrance. Directly behind the school until the 1970s ran Nightingale Avenue where a small field was used during summer playtime sessions. Some buildings, including a brick built air raid shelter and various Morrison shelters, once stood along the back and right hand side of the rear playground. Another feature, probably dating from the Second World War and positioned on two high posts to the left side of the school behind the front side block, was an air raid siren. This was still in place in the late 1970s but has now been removed.

For many years from the 1930s to the 1950s and possibly into the 1960s the schools' sports day was held at the nearby recreation ground in New Avenue. Parents were invited to watch and a marquee was erected where refreshments were served. The venue later changed to the meadow at the top of crown hill opposite the Crown public house. In later years Eastern National would provide a double dekker bus to transport the children there.

In the 1960s the Laindon High Road schools' new outdoor swimming pool was used to provide swimming lessons, as well as the pool at Hutton where swimming exams could be taken. The school operated a house point system where academic and sporting achievements were recognised, with each pupil being assigned a house. These were named: Ash (red), Elm (blue), Fir (green) and Oak (yellow).

The main school building has had various additions over the years, one being around the mid 1960s when a small wooden extension to the room used by the schools' then headmaster Mr Wiggins was built. A stand alone corrugated iron building which served as a canteen once stood in the rear playground, and this was still in place when a new detached building housing two infant classrooms was built around 1956. The canteen was later replaced with a new permanent addition added to the main building which can still be seen today.

Three long serving teachers were Miss Gladys M. O'Brien, with 40 years service and herself a former pupil, Miss Daphne Wilkinson, with 25 years service, who was very musical and would play the accordian during outside lessons of country dancing, and her father Mr Richard E.W. Wilkinson, assistant master, with 22 years including a brief spell as Acting Head in between 1931 and Spring 1932.

The day-to-day general maintenance of the school was the responsibility of the caretaker. Two of the caretakers who undertook these duties were Mr Joe Ling, who on retirement gave his name to a sports day trophy award, and in the 1960s and possibly to closure, Mr Langley who lived opposite the school.

As the population of Langdon Hills grew the schools resources were stretched, and a decision was made to build a new larger school for 800+ children with its own playing field and indoor swimming pool, in nearby Berry Lane. Plans for this had originally surfaced in the 1960s as the site was needed for a new roundabout and road layout, but due to budget restrictions in the County Council's schools projects programme, final approval took longer than expected. In anticipation of this the school set up a swimming pool fund in the late 1960s, holding various fund raising events. When the new school finally opened in September 1973 it was named Lincewood Infant and Junior School and remained so until September 2003, when it was renamed Lincewood Primary School. Following the opening of Lincewood the building became an annexe for the junior school which lasted into the 1990s. During this time a new nameboard with the words Lincewood County Junior School Annexe was placed at the front of the building.

The last Headmaster, through to August 31st 1973 while the school was still called Langdon Hills, was Mr John Wiggins, who joined in the 1950s having formerly taught at Markhams Chase Primary School, and continued in that post at the new Lincewood junior school until the late 1970s. To mark the ocassion former pupils were invited back for a reunion on June 29th, 1973.

Basildon new town developments had already begun to impact around the school when a new Basildon Development Corporation housing estate was constructed in the mid 1970s, and although the earlier threat of demolition was lifted due to a change of plans, the High Road was realigned just beyond the school entrance.

Since closure the school once provided a temporary home for some Nicholas School pupils during remedial works in the early 1970s, and in the mid 1970s the Langdon Hills youth club held their Friday night meets there. It was also used as a polling station for general and local elections up to 1979 and possibly beyond.

The school building survives today and is still used for educational purposes as the Essex County Council run CSS (Children's Support Service and formerly Integrated Support Service) Centre - Langdon Hills.

Other teachers known to have taught there over the years include Mrs Allen, Mrs Baker, Mrs Brook, Miss Brown, Mrs Dove, Miss Fiddis, Mr Griffiths, Mr P.H. Hall - a former Headmaster (retired July 1952 after 21 years service and succeeded by Mr J.R. Wiggins), Mrs Mary Hayball, Mrs Henson, Mr Allen Hill, Mr Huggett, who as well as being the schools pianist, would often take classes on nature rambles in the woodland and grassy roads directly behind the school, Mrs Christina Jobson, Mrs Jones, Miss Neville (later Mrs Hill), Mrs Nicholls, Mr F.D. Richardson - who would often relate his experiences in India, Miss Snow, Mrs Mary Abbey, Mr Taylor, Mr Walker, Miss D. Wenden, Mrs Wise, Mrs Wallace and Mrs Mutter, who taught reception in the 1970s.

Page added: 2002
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Other points of interest:
(1) Long serving teacher Miss Daphne Wilkinson has written two novels. Using the nom de plume Diana Conway the first, Country air and breathing space was published in 2005 and the second, When feathers fly was published in 2007. Details of both books can be found on this weblink.

(2) For the early years of its existence the school came under the control of the Orsett Education Sub-Committee.

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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