The school was first opened in 1842 when, on 23rd March, the site,
valued at £50, was granted by the Dean and Chapter of Christchurch
College, Oxford "for the purpose of erection of 3 rooms to accommodate 103 boys, 103
infants and 112 girls - allowing a minimum area of 6 square feet per child."
The ground given was the plot of land known as The Old Rectory Garden,
situated in Aylesbury Road. The school was for the poor in Tring and for
no other purpose than promoting the education of the poor in the
principles of the Established Church of England.
The cost of erecting the school was estimated at £800. The buildings
were completed and officially opened in November 1842. The charge for
instruction at that time was 1 old penny per week. The total annual
expenditure of the school was estimated at £110, which was raised by
subscriptions and the children's pennies.
In 1866, a new classroom was built - for boys, at a cost of £1,200. By
1869, the charge for instruction had risen to 2 pence per child.
School logbooks have been in existence since 1863. This was the time of
school monitors and pupil-teachers. There are references to various kinds
of sickness for which the school had to be closed. Scarlet Fever could be
a killer, as could Diphtheria of which at least three children died in 1891.
Attendance could be very variable because of bad weather as children
had to walk across fields for miles to get to school. Sometimes children
came to school at the age of three if the mother went out to work and
there was no one to look after them. Many children were late on the
afternoon of 12th July 1889 because the Shah of Persia passed through
Classes were often nearly 60 children, but must have been manageable
because of poor attendance. Children often had to carry meals to their
parents in the fields and had to go out gleaning. Attendance was not too
good on the day The Wild Beast Show was in town!
In those days, the cane was used in this school, though not many cases
are recorded. One is perhaps interesting enough to be mentioned - in 1891
a boy was caned for taking the elastic out of several girls' hats!
Perhaps our school can claim to be one of the first with a school bus, as
Lady Rothschild provided a covered van to convoy children from Hastoe
to and from school in the winter of 1903/4.
During the First World War, the building was taken over by the Army
Authority and maintained as a hospital for the British sick and
wounded. The boys' department was accommodated during these years in
the Market House and Church House, now the Youth Club.
From 1931, after a re-organisation, there were two separate schools in
the building - the junior school with Miss W Baker as its Headmistress
and the senior school. The latter moved to its own site and buildings in
1957 and is now known as Tring School.
In 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War, the school was
closed for a few weeks and later, in 1940, the building was used as a
reception centre for some 300 children from the bombed areas of
In November 1961, approval was given for phase 1 of a new Junior School
building to be built in three quick stages, but a beginning was not made
until December 1962. Meanwhile, the school roll had grown to such an
extent that the Temperance Hall had to be taken into use as a classroom.
The school experienced difficult times with large classes and shortages
of staff. Annual Sports Day was a great event for the children, though
hard work for the staff involved as the event was held on the Cricket
Field, there being no school field in existence yet.