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Shelton School

The former school May 2011
The former school May 2011

In July 1875 the inhabitants of Shelton requested a school to be built. Under the charity of Joseph Neal five poor boys were educated free at Dean and other children from Shelton would, no doubt, have attended the school in that village but their parents would have had to pay.

On 14th July 1875 Thomas Harris, churchwarden, Walter Islip, overseer of the poor and inhabitants Benjamin Fisher and George Neal filled out a form requesting the Board of Guardians of the Saint Neots Poor Law Union which, amongst other things, ran the Saint Neots workhouse, to apply to Local Government Board in London for consent to grant that a cottage, outhouses and garden owned by the parish could be used as a site for an elementary school. The cottage had been built about seventy years previously on the manorial waste [WW1112/1]. The Board of Guardians sent the request to the Local Government Board on 29th July [WW1112/2]. The school was to be a National School though there is no record of it ever being affiliated to the National Society.

Evidently the guardians’ request was eventually answered in the affirmative because the site was conveyed on 8th June 1877 by the Guardians of the Poor of the Saint Neots Union to the rector and churchwardens of Shelton [X308]. The piece of land measured 51 yards by 41 feet and the management board was to be the rector, churchwarden and overseer. Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire states that the school built on the site cost £300 and could accommodate 45 children.

A land mark Education Act was passed in 1902, coming into effect in 1903. It gave day to day running of education to newly formed Local Education Authorities, usually the county council, as in Bedfordshire. There is no evidence that Shelton was still open at this date. It is last mentioned in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire in 1898, at which date average attendance was 15 and the teacher was Mrs. Ada Jones. The next Kelly’s for Bedfordshire, that for 1903, states in its Shelton entry that children attended school in Dean.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. It is likely that Shelton, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting the former school [DV1/C121/19] noted that the children now attended school in Dean and that the old school was used occasionally for whist drives.