©  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: April 03, 2021
Webpage updated: April 03, 2021




Stonehouse Public School for Poor Children is believed to have started in 1811 and lessons were held in the north-west gallery of the parish church, Saint George's.  It is recorded in the Trustee's Minute books that pews were to be removed and replaced with forms for the accommodation of the boys and girls. 

Our earliest published record of the existence of the School is in "The Picture of Plymouth", published in 1812: ‘The only charitable institution in the town is a public school for boys, established on the Lancastrian plan, and supported by donations and annual subscriptions.  The master is Mr Moore.  We sincerely wish this establishment every encouragement, and beg leave to recommend it to the notice of the liberal and respectable inhabitants, as deserving of their patronage and support.

By 1821 it had acquired its own premises in Quarry Street, East Stonehouse.  It was soon extended around the corner into Market Street. 

It was described in "The Tourist's Companion" published in 1823 as: ‘The Public School in Quarry-street, is conducted on Mr Bell’s plan of education.  The school-room was originally designed to accommodate one hundred and fifty boys; but by the recent erection of a spacious room, seventy girls are included in the objects of this laudable institution.  The boys are instructed in the usual elements of useful knowledge; girls are also taught to knit and sew, under the direction of ladies, who benevolently devote a portion of their time to the management of this department of the school.  We are happy to find that this institution is liberally supported by annual subscriptions.

It was this School in Quarry Street that developed into the National School, which in 1831, according to "Pigot and Company's National Commercial Directory" for Devon, had Mr Richard Food as the master and Miss Ann Britton as mistress.  According to the same source by thattime Mr John Moore had setup his own private school at 37 High Street.

In 1849/1850 the master was Mr John Glanville, the mistress was a Mrs Budge and the master in charge of the infants' school was Mr William Hardy.  There were apparently 200 boys, 180 girls and 200 infants in attendance at that time.

By an Indenture dated 31st July 1851, the Right Honourable Ernest Augustus, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, granted the land on which the School stood to the Reverend William Hamilton Nantes, the Perpetual Curate of the parish of East Stonehouse, and Mr Jonathan Clouter and Mr Charles Chapple, churchwardens, 'in consideration of his desire to encourage the School now formed and established within the said Parish of East Stonehouse commonly called or known by the name of “The Stonehouse Public School for Poor Children”.'.  The document also makes clear that the building had already been erected.

This grant coincides with the appearance of Saint George's National School, said to have been erected 1851.