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Streets through time - Church Street
No 16 The Old Schoolhouse 


School and school house, now a house. Mid C19, incorporating fragments of an earlier building with late C20 alterations. This building is one of those remodelled c1820-1840 by Gregory Gregory, Lord of the Manor of Harlaxton, following the precepts of JC Loudon.

It is believed that the whole property was originally three buildings . From the front, the LHS building with the turret was originally the residence for the Head Teacher and family and from the RHS there  is the Tudor style schoolhouse.


However, where they join at right angles and where the exterior balcony is (by the well) is the original small house  which was there first and the two other buildings added later.


The layout of the current Old Schoolhouse property incorporates part of the old cottage which is where the school caretaker resided. As you look at the front of the property from the lane, the current property is the school house building and the caretakers cottage facing you but not including the front garden which now belongs to the LHS building which became part of the Oak Farm in the 1937 estate sale. The rear garden is now all part of the schoolhouse property. There is a quirky layout in that the first floor bedroom directly below the bell tower is part of the schoolhouse, but the ground floor beneath is part of the old farmhouse.


The current owners believe that part or all of the farmhouse side was referred to as Chimo cottage in the past but it is named to in the 1937 Estate sale as Oak Farmhouse. This is probably due to the whole school property being split in 1937. Major Phillip Pearson Gregory decided to give the schoolhouse (and the caretakers cottage under the same roof) to the Diocesan Trust (who would continue to run it as a C of E school) but retain and sell off Chimo Cottage as a seperate property in the estate sale as Oak Farmhouse - Oak Farm being opposite this building.

The well outside the schoolhouse actually serves the farmhouse. There is a pump handle which is located under the balcony which serves the Schoolhouse. Also under the balcony is what used to be a privy (outside loo).

It is unclear or whether or not the Chimo cottage was once the schoolhouse as the image on the left was taken from the 1844 edition of the Gardeners Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette which refers to it as a schoolhouse. At that time, it is noted that the Tudor style schoolhouse that exists today has not been built.

old school house 1844 Gardeners chronicle and agricultural gazette.jpg

The school archives show that this was still a working school up to May 1969 whereby the newly built school on Swinehill took over. Although it  was co-ed throughout its lifetime, it did have separate entrances for the boys and the girls even though they shared the same classrooms together. The boys entrance was on the RHS of the building and the girls entrance at the rear of the building.

There were two classrooms – one for the infants and one for the older children. The former being at the rear and was extended in the 60’s and the latter having a much grander room extending across the front of the property which includes a beautiful full-length balcony. This is now the main living room.

The current rear garden and what is now the church car park was the school playground.

The current owners understand that the last head teacher there was a man called Spencer. This would be Harry Spencer Smith who preferred to be called Spencer. 

When it was still a school, the caretaker Mrs Winter lived at the back of the school (she is referred to in the 1937 Estate sale for Oak Farm).

The 1939 Register shows Mr Armes lived in Chimo Cottage although it is not clear it is assumed he was there in 40's and maybe the 50's. The headmaster of the time was Mr Harry Spencer Smith and the headmistress was Miss Shaukley - neither of whom lived in Harlaxton. The 1939 Register also shows a Lizzie A. Winter, a 78 year old widow is the school caretaker and lives near the school presumably in the original small cottage linked to the schoolhouse. Living with her is Lucy E winter aged 38 who is assumed to be Lizzie's daughter. Lucy eventually took over as caretaker

The censuses show the following teachers were employed by the school:

1901: Robert Midgeley and his wife Annie were schoolteachers here.

1911: George Atkins was head teacher and lived here with his wife Edith and 5 year old daughter Eileen.

In 1939,  Harry Abbot was head teacher and also an ARP warden. He lived here with his wife Doris and their two children Bernard and Maureen. Harry was Head from 1935 to 1950.

30 SCHOOL HSE 1.jpg

Rear of schoolhouse taken in late 1960's

Peter O’Toole – the famous actor – stayed at the house during the filming of a movie called The Ruling Class which was being made at the Manor. The movie was released in 1972 so he must have been there the year or two prior to release. It is an unusual film about an aristocrat who thinks he’s God. The movie trailer does show the outside of the Manor but it is not known if the inside scenes are within the Manor itself. Click on the following link:  The Ruling Class (1972) - IMDb

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