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The Old Chipping Hill School

The original school was built as a two classroom, red brick building typical of the period, opening on 11th August 1902 with 63 children on the register. It became the second Board School in Witham when the Education Department insisted in 1900 that the previous Church of England Infant School in Church Street be closed, as it did not conform to their standards. A new site in Church Street was obtained in 1901, a former site of one of the parish gravel pits.

 

It was not a Board School for long. The final meeting of the Witham School Board took place on 24th September 1903 when the two Board Schools were taken over by the Local Education Authority of the County of Essex. In 1923 the school closed when it became a temporary cookery and woodwork centre until it was re-opened as a school again, in 1938.

 

A relocatable building was added in 1977 which housed the library, offices and also acted as the school dining hall. Much later, in 1997, two brand new classrooms were built to replace those in the original building. The old building then became the school hall and a small staffroom and boiler house was built on. In the summer of 2001, contractors moved on site to take away the remaining two relocatable classrooms, and then building began on their replacement.

 

2002 was the centenary year and was splendidly marked by the opening of the two new classrooms. This then meant that the children could access the curriculum in safety all under one roof. However, this improvement was short lived, by 2010 there was still not enough room for the school to expand, and a new school was provided in the Maltings Lane development in the south of the town. The new Chipping Hill School opened in Owers Way on 1st September 2010, and even that new school has since been extended.

The building is still in educational use and now houses a school for special needs children

Sources: Chipping Hill School; Janet Gyford, Braintree & Witham Times; Witham & Countryside Society.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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