Pond Lane (Council) School



A very faded postcard of a school room, much enhanced.


Can you help
Picture from http://www.fotosearch.com/
The Postcard Detective

The enlargement shows a slate with the words "Baldock Council No 2"


This must be the school listed in the 1912 Kelly's Hertfordshire directory as :

"Pond School (Council), for 98 mixed and 41 infants; average attendance, 130; George N Bennett, master."

There is a similar entry in 1922. By 1926 Frank Hancock was master.

The school had clearly been in existence for many years before the photograph was taken.

Terry, of The British Schools Museum, pointed out that this school was founded in 1836, according to the list of British Schools compiled by the British and Foreign School Society in 1897,

The 1839 Pigot's Directory lists a number of schools and academies including a British School in Norton Street  with Joseph Lofts as head master which must be this one as Pond Lane branches off the road from the centre of Baldock in the direction of Norton, and Joseph Lofts is listed as living in Pond Lane in the 1841 Census. There was also a National School in the High Street with Edward Hankin as headmaster and Sophia Seymore as mistress. Private academies were run by Frost in  Hitchin Street, Sarah Prior (day & boarding) in Norton Street and Miss Troup (day) in White Horse Street.

The 1851 Post Office Directory records: Here are likewise a school, on the National, and one on the British system. (Joseph Lofts was a schoolmaster in Pond Lane in the 1851 census.)

In the 1861 census Charles Wilson was living in Baldock (in lodgings? in White Horse street) and is described as a "British Teacher"

The 1866 Post Office Directory lists two schools:-

National, Park Street, Edward Hankin, master; Mrs Sarah Barnard, mistress.
British, Charles Wilson, master, Pond Lane.

The 1878 Post Office Directory lists two schools:-

National, Park Street, John William Iliffe, master; Miss Charlotte Annie Taylor, mistress, Miss Susan Elizabeth Holliday, infants' mistress.
British, William King, master, Pond Lane.

The 1881 census shows George N Bennnett (23, certified teacher, born Hull, Yorkshire) boarding at "The College School", Hitchin Street, Baldock. while the 1882 Kelly's Directory records:-

British, Pond Lane (mixed), for 150 children; average attendance 120; George N Bennett, master.

It would seem that George N Bennett taught at the school for over 40 years.

The back of the postcard suggests a date after 1905 - and it almost certainly no later than the 1920s.

If you can identify any of the pupils this would add to the interest of the picture and help to date it more precisely.

For details of a 19th century private boarding school see Cambridge House School, Baldock, Mid 19th Century

For more about British Schools see The British Schools Museum

August 2007   Spring Clean
March 2010   Link to Cambridge House School
August 2011   More information on school and corrected error