which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell.

A brief history of Crich, Crich Carr and Fritchley Schools

Sylvia Taylor & Peter Patilla

Crich has a fairly unique system of schools, given the size of the parish. It has four schools concerned witth the education of children under the age of eleven.

The following notes on the development of these schools are based on a talk given by Sylvia Taylor and Peter Patilla to a meeting of Crich Heritage Partnership in the Glebe Field Centre in 2010.

Crich Schools
A fairly unique set-up

Parish schools in 2010

photo of top school

Crich C of E Infant School

photo of bottom school

Crich Junior School

photo of Crich carr school

Crich Carr C of E Primary School

photo of fritchley school

Fritchley C of E (Aided) Primary School

Crich Carr School and pupils c 1913

Photos courtesy Clive and Sandra Redfern

Crich Carr School c 1913

Crich Carr pupils c 1913

George Herbert Redfern (1901-1982) of Whatstandwell is pictured third from the right on the back row (with the cross above his head)

Before 1870 there were –
• Voluntary schools,
• Dame Schools,
• Private Schools
• Hotchpotch of different types of educational provision (these differed in large towns and cities).
Some areas had no schooling.

In 1818 Crich had :
• Three day schools for boys
• Three day schools for girls
• About 150 children in total
• Also – Four Dame Schools each with about 30 children.

“The poor have not sufficient means but appear desirous of education.”

Source: Select Committee Report of 1818 “Education Provision for Poorer Children”


Crich Pop. 2,115

Ten Day Schools:
• Two had 24 male & 31 female
• Three (commenced 1833) had 22 males & 31 females
• One (commenced 1830) had 10 males & 14 females
• Two (commenced 1832) had 12 males & 14 females
• One (commenced 1833) had 26 males & 14 females
• One (commenced 1833) had 21 males & 17 females

All the above children are receiving instruction at the expense of their parents.

Three Sunday Schools
• Wesleyan Methodist (1820) – 74 males & 66 females
• Primitive Methodist (1832) – 41 males & 28 females
• General Baptist (1832) – 42 males & 46 females

All supported by annual subscription assisted by gratuitous teachers.


1870 Education Act

The 1870 Education Act stands as the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain. Most importantly, it demonstrated a commitment to provision on a national scale.

The Act allowed voluntary schools to carry on unchanged, but established a system of 'school boards' to build and manage schools in areas where they were needed. The boards were locally elected bodies which drew their funding from the local rates. Unlike the voluntary schools, religious teaching in the board schools was to be 'non-denominational The 1870 Education Act stands as the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain. Most importantly, it demonstrated a commitment to provision on a national scale.


More Education Acts

The issue of making education compulsory for children had not been settled by the Act. The 1876 Royal Commission on the Factory Acts recommended that education be made compulsory in order to stop child labour. In 1880 a further Education Act finally made school attendance compulsory between the ages of five and ten, though by the early 1890s attendance within this age group was falling short at 82 per cent.

Many children worked outside school hours – in 1901 the figure was put at 300,000 – and truancy was a major problem due to the fact that parents could not afford to give up income earned by their children.

Fees were also payable until a change in the law in 1891. Further legislation in 1893 extended the age of compulsory attendance to eleven, and in 1899 to twelve.


First Schools

So, before Compulsory Education in 1870, there were –

Dame Schools
These were quite varied – some functioned primarily as day care facilities, overseen by illiterate women, while others provided their students with a good foundation in the basics. A report of 1838 found nearly half of all pupils surveyed were only taught spelling, with a negligible number being taught mathematics and grammar.

Church Schools (C of E)
These provided a basic education, charged small fees and were very much under the influence of the local vicar. Usually consisted of headmaster, his wife (who typically taught needlework or music), pupil teachers and monitors. Rote education was the norm, and conditions quite harsh.

Day Schools & Private Schools

photo of Mr walkers school Site of Mr Walker’s School c1798 on The Common, Crich

Derby Mercury 17th June 1799
At Crich, near Matlock, a school opened by Mr J. Walker in a Dwelling House and School newly erected on the Common
Entrance 10s 6d
Washing and Mending £1 1s 0d per annum
Board for young gentlemen under 10 years of age £9 9s 0d per annum
Board for young gentlemen of 10 years and upwards £10 10s 0d per annum
Education including English grammatically, writing and arithmetic, Merchants Accounts. Mensuration and algebra: per annum £2 2s 0d.
Note. The pupils, now at school, will have no vacation this summer.
New ones will be admitted on 22.7.1799

In 1846there were four ‘Academies’ in Crich
• Mr Walker
• Sarah Wigley
• Joseph Witham
• Joseph Daykin (Fritchley)

Source: Bagshaw’s History (1846)

1848 Crich Parochial School

£250 from Government
£600 Public Subscription

Enlarged in 1855 with new infant classroom

photoof Parochial school

Photograph courtesy of Beryl Calladine

13 June 1849 Derby Mercury

Crich – Tea Festival of the National and Sunday Schools

On Wednesday last, the children in connexion with the above schools were entertained by their teachers and friends according to annual custom with an ample supply of tea and plumb cake, in the National school-room. The spacious room being beautifully decorated with flowers, and the children having attired themselves in their holiday clothes, the sight had a pleasing effect.

After they had partaken tea they went in procession to Crich Cliff, wending their way in a serpentine form up its steep activity. On arriving at the top they gave three hearty cheers for the founders of the entertainment, and then amused themselves in a variety of pleasing gambols and recreations, in which their teachers and others participated.

The greatest praise is due to Miss Burton of the National School, and the rest of the ladies present for their exertions and attentions in providing so comfortable a repast. The number of children in attendance amounted to more than one hundred and fifty.

School Log Book

• Diary of significant events
• H.M.I. Reports
• Major events
• Important visitors


1862 Payment by Results

The full grant to a school was dependent upon a satisfactory report by the H.M.I. (Her Majesty’s Inspectors) following their annual inspection.
Crich Parochial School was usually found wanting...

“deficient in arithmetic and the lower classes have not been adequately taught.” 

Consequently they lost two-tenths of the grant. It cannot have been easy for the schoolmaster and his assistants. Education was not compulsory at this time; absenteeism and unpunctuality were very common.


How a school was staffed

• Headmaster
• Usually his wife
• Pupil teacher(s)
• Monitor(s)

Pupil teachers were often the headmaster’s family

Unmarried headmasters were not allowed with unmarried assistant teachers ...


What was taught

Animals – elephant, singing birds, sheep, tiger, fish, owl
Trades – baker, pottery, shoemaker, butcher, grocer, post office
Common Objects – leather, iron, cotton, salt, rain, coal, butter, tea, books, sponge, knife, stone quarrying, fire, wild flowers, train,
making a bed, laying the table

I Signs of rain
II Keeping his word
III Keeping his word
IV-VII Horatio
IV-VII Geography of Europe; maps of the Rhine, Spain and Yorkshire

Source: School logbook 1894


Crich Parochial School – losing pupils

26 October 1868 – A great number, mostly infants, have left the school to go to the one lately opened by the “Reformers”

Source: School logbook 1868


Crich Parochial School – lazy parents

22 November 1868: A great many were late this morning . As this very serious fault is caused by the parents I do not like to be too severe with the children. The parents as a rule are not early risers and do not seem to know the value of punctual and regular attendance at school. I never knew a school where punctuality was so rare.

Source: School logbook 1868


Crich Parochial School – naughty children

April 1869: Some boy stole my penknife off the desk this afternoon. I have spoken to all the children about it but have not been able to get any information as to who took it.
I spoke to the children about the great evil of stealing.

November : Regular stone throwing; broken windows and slates at school and surrounding houses.
Stones are so plentiful and children blame one another so that it is almost impossible to find the real delinquent.

Source: School logbook 1869


1869 Fritchley School

Photo of original Fritchley School

Money for this school was provided by Miss Emma Hurt. It was opened in 1870 on land sold to the Church by Thomas Bowmer of Fritchley. As well as being a school it was also used as a church mission. It was sometimes called the Fritchley Memorial School


The Hurt Sisters

Photo of the Hurt sisters

Selina, Elizabeth and Emma before 1866. They were great benefactors to the schools and the the parish. They lived at Chase Cliffe House in Whatstandwell.

The sisters founded a private school at Crich Carr, on Hindersitch Lane. It is now a private property called Allerton House.

Hurst Private School Whatstandwell

Allerton House in 2017

The school was the main school in Whatstandwell before the building of Crich Carr C of E Primary School. In the 1880s approximately 70 pupils were attending.

Derby Mercury 26 December 1883
Crich were now about to have three large Church of England schools in the district with ample accommodation for their children. The so-called British School had been condemned by the education department, as had also the parochial school Crich, and the private school owned by the Misses Hurt at Crich Carr. The final notice requested that school accommodation be found for 70 children at Crich-75 at Crich Carr.

Derbyshire Courier 29 March 1884
Educational matters at Crich – the educational difficulties that have so long disturbed the parish of Crich are likely to be settled bsy the enlargement of the parochial schools at Crich Carr, and the erection of an entirely new set of school buildings at Crich by the British School Committee. New arrangements had been made in connection with the private school at Crich Carr – conducted by Miss Griffith – which is well attended, and will be continued notwithstanding the additional school commendation now be provided. The plan for their new premises have been submitted by the British School Committee to the education department and have received general approval, and negotiations are proceeding respecting the proposed site.

Derbyshire Courier 30 August 1884
A correspondent informs me that the new school at Crich Carr, provided by the Parochial Committee, is commencing inauspiciously. The mistress, Mrs Hawke, of Derby, he says, will find her duties very light, as there were five scholars in attendance the first week, and an increase of two in the present week! Where will the money come from to keep the school going? The old school Crich Carr is still be carried on and the prospects of the new one are most unsatisfactory. The work at the British School continues, and in about a week memorial stones are to be laid by some prominent gentlemen. The opportunity will be embraced of holding a public meeting, when the ratepayers will be acquainted with the progress of the committee’s work.



1876 South Wingfield Board School

All children from South Wingfield left Crich School.
Many Crich children also left because school fees were cheaper at South Wingfield.
Bill posting campaign began in Crich by South Wingfield, to tempt pupils to move.


Poor results at the Parochial School

Between 1875 and 1881 the H.M.I. Reports were fairly damning.
Grants to the school were cut as a result of the reports.
The Inspectors reported widespread cheating and general misbehaviour by the pupils.


1881 Mr Scott – New Headmaster

When Mr Scott and his family arrived there were about 200 children on roll.
His wife and daughters also worked at the school.
He became very popular with parents and employers.
Standards were on the up.


1883 Mr Scott sacked

The vicar, Revd Acraman, and Mr Scott were in conflict.
The vicar sacked this popular headmaster.
The dismissal caused turmoil in the village.
Religious divide added to the troubles. Baptists were at the forefront.
Vicar appoints new head – Mr Sumner.


1883 Mount Tabor School created

photo of Mount Tabor Mount Tabor, on Bowns Hill. It was just about opposite the Parochial School. Was variously known as: Scott's School, British School, Baptist School, Mount Tabor School. Now a private dwelling

Mr Scott was set up a rival school in Mount Tabor Chapel. He had the backing and support of the local non-conformists.
There was financial support from the British and Foreign Schools.
Support also came from the management at Lea Mills.
Mr Scott took 240 pupils with him, leaving about 60 at the Parochial School.



School Rivalry

Scott’s pupils terrorised the Parochial pupils.
Lessons were disrupted and the vicar (Revd Acraman) and Parochial School head were vilified.
There was a poster campaign in the village.

Mr Barnes (Fritchley) and Mr Sumner (Crich) worked together to combat the threat of Scott’s School to the Church Schools.

Inducements were offered by both sides to attract children.
Dirty deeds and threats were common place.

British School Posters

These are two of the posters in the "Poster Campaign" between the two schools.


schoolposter c1880s


1883 Board School looms

Both Parochial and British Schoolswere in trouble – unsuitable accommodation was the problem.
A Board School would solve the problem.
The British School appeared in favour but the vicar and powerful rate-payers were against.

A new school at Crich Carr and extension for infants at the Parochial School would fight off the threat of having a Board School.
The vicar sets about organising the development, also believing that it would shut down the “unsuitable” school at Mount Tabor.

Mr Scott, head of the British School, left Crich for a new school.


1884 New Buildings

A new school was to be built at Crich Carr on land donated by the Duke of Devonshire.
New extension at the Parochial School largely financed by the Hurt family (a single room extension was thought sufficient for 70 infants).
Total cost about £700.

British School had over 250 pupils.
Started their own new school building just off the Market Place, estimated cost of £1000.
Much fund-raising by the non-conformists.


1884 Four schools for Crich Parish

At the end of 1884 Crich Parish had a choice of four schools for their children (each providing “through education”):
• Crich Parochial School
• British School of Crich
• Fritchley Church School
• Crich Carr Church School

And there was another to come!


1885 Chestnut Bank Quaker School

photo of Chestnut Bank house

The School was created as the result of a £1500 legacy in the will of Martha Rickman.


Fritchley Quaker School

photo of Lydia Sargent

Lydia Sargent, daughter of Fritchley Bobbin Mill Factory owner and prominent Quaker, was its first teacher.


1898 Pupils at Chestnut Bank

photo of pupils at Chestnut Bank


Exemption Certificates

photo of exemtion certificate


Certificate courtesy of Rosemary Hall

Pupils who reached the fifth standard could leave school early.

Reading – A short ordinary paragraph in a newspaper, or other modern narrative.
Writing – Another short ordinary paragraph in a newspaper or other modern narrative, slowly dictated once by a few words at a time.
Arithmetic – Practice and Bills of Parcels.


1897 Another Headmaster sacked

Mr Moody, head of the Parochial School moved to Bonsall and Mr Kent was appointed by the vicar, Revd Acraman.
Mr Kent was sacked after three days. He had had the temerity to complain that his accommodation was unsuitable.
An indignation meeting was attended by 400 villagers but their opinions were ignored by the vicar.

A court case resulted which found in Mr Kent's favour.

Two years later the vicar was in court again – he was sent down for two years hard labour.
Full story in the book "Parish life with a troubled vicar"


1902 Another head in trouble

The new vicar was Henry Geldard (Revd Acraman was in prison).
New head Charles W Nash was appointedby him to improve the choir at a salary of £100 pa plus £10 for being organist and choirmaster.

There was conflict with die-hard choir members.
Mr Nash was accused of a 'fiddle' over the purchase of school piano (a seven octave version costing £21).



Belper News 4 October 1907
Arrangements have been made to hold evening continuation classes at three of the schools in the parish of Crich,viz, at Crich National, Fritchley, and Crich Carr (Whatstandwell) schools. At Crich Mr C.W. NASH is the headmaster, at Fritchley Mr E. GEE, and Crich Carr Mr Arthur B. DONE, ACP (honours), of Derby. An excellent syllabus has been fixed up for Crich Carr School, that for men being – Mondays, arithmetic (elementary and advanced), mensuration, life and duties of a citizen; Thursdays, general experimental science (mechanics, heat, light, magnetism, and electricity), drawing of various descriptions. Separate classes for women (under a mistress) will be held, and the subject taught will be – Mondays, arithmetic, domestic economy, physiology, and hygiene; Thursdays, English and needlework. These classes at Crich have been raised chiefly by the efforts of Mr J.J. BUNTING, the vice chairman of the Crich Parish Council. The fees are to be only 2d per week, part of which will be returned to students making 85 per cent of the total attendances. Prizes will also be awarded for general progress and attendance. The classes will doubtless prove of immense benefit to residents in Crich Carr, Whatstandwell, Coddington, Alderwasley, and districts.

Into Modern Times

Until the early 1950s parents had a choice of –
• ‘top school’ (Mr Willis) – once the Parochial School
• ‘bottom school’ (Mr Day) – once the British School

When Mr Day retired and the schools were ‘joined’:
• infants went to the ‘top school’ – now Crich C of E Infant School
• juniors went to the ‘bottom school’ – now Crich Junior School


Secondary Education

1944 Education Act (Butler) created Secondary School system 11-15.

In the parish the 11+ ‘passes’ usually went to Herbert Strutts in Belper.

The first lot of secondary pupils went to Alfreton Mortimer Wilson (which was previously Alfreton Central Schools. The boys & girls were separate).

The 1958 intake went to Frederick Gent at South Normanton, for political reasons. It was a new school with insufficient pupils to fill it.

After a number of years it reverted so that "new" secondary pupils could attend Mortimer Wilson School.

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