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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): SBL
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1870-1925
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 116.33 linear metres
Name of creator(s): School Board for London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The School Board for London was set up under the Public Elementary Education Act of 1870 for the whole of the 'metropolis', the latter being defined as the area coming within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Board of Works. For electoral and administrative purposes the area was split into ten divisions. The franchise was extended to all ratepayers (including women) who were entitled to vote in the vestry elections; the Board was therefore the first of the Metropolitan authorities to be directly elected on a democratic basis.

Though in its early years the Board has great difficulty in carrying out even the minimal requirements of the Act, it was by the 1880's trying to extend its functions to fill the obvious need for education beyond the "three R's" (reading, writing and arithmetic) and to improve the physical conditions of the children. Its tasks included building schools and training teachers for a very large and steadily increasing number of children as well as enforcing school attendance. The School Board was closed in 1903 and its powers passed to the London County Council.


Scope and content/abstract:

Minutes and agendas of the School Board, 1870-1925; minutes and agendas of other committees and sub-committees including the Accommodation and Attendance Committee, Bye Laws Committee, Capricious Migration of Children Committee, Minuting and Educational Endowments Committee, Evening Classes and Continutation Schools Committee, Finance Committee, General Purposes Committee, Industrial Schools Committee, Legal Committee, Manual Training Committee, Overpressure Committee, Rearrangement of Committees Committee, School Management Committee, Statistical Committee, Underfed Children Committee, Works Committee, Health of Schoolchildren Committee and Scholarships Committee.

Printed documents issued by the Board such as forms, requisition lists, notices, contracts, specifications, agendas and tickets; annual reports; publication "The Work of the London School Board", 1900; rules and regulations; list of all members of the School Board compiled after the closure of the Board in 1904; reports by committees including the Bye Laws Committee, the Works Committee and the School Accommodation and Attendance Committee; reports by solicitors relating to legal matters; correspondence; curricula, syllabi and notes on methods of teaching domestic subjects, drawing, history, geography, manual training, physical training, reading, religious instruction, science and technical training; tables of schools within the district of the Metropolis; books of reference for building works; plans of schools; maps showing the locations of Board schools; contracts and registers of contracts for the erection, alteration, repair, cleaning, supply and maintenance of schools; papers regarding Higher Grade schools, Industrial schools, Special schools, Industrial schools and Truant schools; Inspector's Reports; papers regarding staff including salary ledgers; tenders and particulars for stationery and stores; financial accounts and schedules for repairs.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

SBL/1-1136 and SBL/1436-1517: Committees; SBL/1137-1369: Printed Papers; SBL/1370-1409: Bye Laws and Legal; SBL/1410-1413: Correspondence; SBL/1414-1435: Methods of Teaching; SBL/1518-1531, SBL/1569-1579, SBL/1618-1620 and SBL/1820-1882: Schools; SBL/1532-1568 and SBL/1920-1922: Buildings, Sites and Works; SBL/CON: Contracts; SBL/1580-1617: Inspector's Reports; SBL/1621-1819, SBL/1887-1913: Administration and Finance.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in multiple accessions between 1952 and 1955 (AC/52/034; AC/53/046; AC/54/087; AC/55/062).

Allied Materials

Related material:

For the papers of the School Board's successor, the London County Council Education Department, see reference LCC/EO.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

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