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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): BSD
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1877-1886
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.25 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Brentwood School District


Administrative/Biographical history:

The 1834 Poor Law Act led to improvements in the arrangements made for the education of pauper children. Unions, and parishes regulated by local acts, were persuaded to establish schools and to appoint schoolmasters. The policy of separating the children from their parents and sending them, if possible, to the country was continued and in 1866 several Middlesex metropolitan authorities were sending children to schools outside London. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1844 made possible a further development in this field which was of significance for the metropolitan area. Unions and parishes were empowered to unite and to form a school district which then set up a large separate school for the education of all the indoor pauper children of the constituents of the district. In 1849 the Central London School District (comprising the City of London, West London, and East London Unions, and St. Saviour's parish) took over Aubin's School at Norwood and improved it.

The Brentwood School District was established in 1877 by the Hackney and Shoreditch Poor Law Unions. Pauper children from Shoreditch and Hackney were sent to an industrial school in Brentwood, Essex (known as the Hackney branch Institution) which had been established by the Shoreditch Board of Guardians in 1852. The school was the subject of a scandal in 1894 when it emerged that the staff treated the children with terrible cruelty, resulting in the imprisonment of a member of staff. The school later became Saint Faith's Hospital and is now the site of offices.

The Brentwood School District also ran the Harold Court School, situated on Church Road in Harold Wood. Harold Court was built in 1868 as a mansion house for a wealthy Brentwood solicitor, who became bankrupt in 1882 when the house was taken over by the School District. The school was later used as a lunatic asylum and tuberculosis hospital. In 1958 the hospital closed and in 1960 the house became a teacher training college. It is now private flats.

The Brentwood School District was dissolved in 1885.

Sources: A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, pp. 213-240 (available online) and Peter Higginbotham at The Workhouse website.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Brentwood School District, 1877-1886, including signed mintues of the Board; claims upon the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund; letters and orders of the Local Government Board; creed registers from the Brentwood Industrial School; admission and discharge register of Harold Court School, Harold Wood; list of officers and servants and papers relating to the appointment of staff.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

BSD/001-008: Minutes; BSD/009: Claims; BSD/010-017: Correspondence; BSD/018-021: Registers; BSD/022-024: Miscellaneous.

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:

Deposited with the collections of Hackney Board of Guardians and Shoreditch Board of Guardians.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See reference HABG for the Hackney Board of Guardians and reference SHBG for Shoreditch Board of Guardians.

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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