The Free School. From time immemorial the parish was in possession of a freehold estate in High Street, consisting of a house and schoolroom, with a small court in front and garden behind. How the parish came into possession of it, no man knows. The Rev. Daniel Chadwick bequeathed £50,which is moneys said to have been, with other moneys, invested in the purchase of the Roecroft houses, which stood where the Police Station now stands, and the proceeds were used for the teaching of eight poor children. Other benefactions followed. Henry Sherbrooke gave land producing £3per annum for the teaching of six poor children; Margaret Buck, land producing £2per annum, for teaching six poor children; Rebecca Elley, in 1785, £6,producing 6/-per annum, for teaching one poor child, and so on. In process of time the income came to be £22 16s. 10d. per annum, and 32 boys and girls were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic.

In 1813—14 the schoolhouse was repaired and improved, and the schoolroom, which was small and inconvenient, was re-built at an expense exceeding £135, which was raised by subscription. In 1827 a room was built over the schoolroom, at an expense of £76, paid for by subscriptions.

The Master's wife had a girls' school of her own in the upper room, the use of which was allowed her, in consideration of the Master teaching the Sunday school children writing on Monday evenings.

The committee for the conduct of the school consisted of eight persons, including the minister, churchwardens, overseers, guardians, and two others, one acting as treasurer, who received the school income, and paid the Master £10by quarterly payments. The balance went to a repairing fund. The Master was allowed to take other children than those elected, on their parents paying for them. The children were admitted at 7 years of age, and allowed to continue at school until 14. They were taught the catechism of the Church of England, and read the Bible.

The foregoing information is quoted from a Parliamentary Return of 1786, in a report of the Charity Commissioners of 31st January, 1839.

We know little of its early history, but on March 3rd, 1823, Mr. Parker, the schoolmaster, resigned, and Robert Rushton was elected, and gave a bond to give up the premises when required. In 1832 Thomas Chamberlain appears in the Directory as Schoolmaster.

A minute book has been preserved recording the transactions of the School Committee between March 22nd, 1833, and January 4th, 1860. At a meeting of the committee held on the first-named date, Henry Coape, of Sherwood Lodge, Esq., was recommended to the surviving trustees to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of William Sherbrooke, Esq., of Oxton. This recommendation is stated to be "in agreement with the eighteenth rule relative to the powers of the committee," but these rules are not forthcoming. On the 6th April following, the surviving trustees confirmed the appointment, and the proceedings were signed by "Robert Padley" and "William Howard, resident minister."

A meeting was held in the vestry room on the 9th April, 1833, pursuant to notice given in the church, when the committee for the ensuing year was chosen, consisting of Uriah Wood, guardian; John Jefferies and Thomas Robinson, overseers; William Mew and John Simson, churchwardens; Thomas Rhodes, Henry Coape, Matthew Lee, and George Phipps, elected by the parishioners. Four candidates appeared for the vacancy of the Mastership of the Free School, one being Thomas Marshall, of Arnold, and the others residing at Nottingham, Whitwick, and Granby. There appeared for Marshall 6 votes, and for Smith (Granby) 3 votes: Marshall therefore was declared duly elected, subject nevertheless to the approbation of the trustees. On the 18th of April the trustees, Messrs. Padley, Coape, and Howard, replied:—"We do hereby express our regret that we cannot approve of the said recommendation, and therefore beg the committee will proceed as soon as convenient to the election of some other person to fill that situation." However, "in consequence of the strong remonstrances of a large number of the inhabitants the above rejection was afterwards withdrawn, and at a meeting of the committee held on the 20th August, 1853, Col. Coape signified to the committee the consent of the trus-trees to the appointment of Thomas Marshall, who accordingly was declared duly elected."

It was resolved "That the master now appointed shall give a bond, with two or more sureties to be approved by the committee and trustees, for £250, to give up the possession thereof in tenant-able repair whenever required so to do, by three months notice in writing from the trustees, who in case of the master refusing or neglecting to deliver up the houses and premises, or any part thereof, at the time specified in such notice, shall proceed to exact the fulfilment of such bond," etc.

It is singular that there is no record of the bond having been given, although it is recorded "that the late Master on his appointment was required to give, and did give, a bond with two sureties for £600." The reason for this precaution was that the trustees were such only in name, and the legal estate had not been vested in them.

Fifty years ago it was openly stated that the bond was never given, that therefore Thomas Marshall having been let in could not be got out. In any case he remained in office, and in the house, till his death 37 years afterwards. He was buried March 30th, 1871, aged 71 years. It was further said that he had previous to his appointment been a workman on the roads, and that the prevailing idea was that as he could read and write well, his promotion to the office of Free School Master would effect a saving in the rates.

Subsequent trustees appointed were the Rev. Robert Lowe, of Bingham, in the place of Robert Padley, Esq., of Burton Joyce, deceased. H. P. Lowe, Esq., of Calverton, in the place of the Rev. R. Lowe, deceased; S. W. Welfit, Esq., of Langwith Lodge, in the place of Col. Coape, deceased. The Rev. G. F. Holcombe is not recorded as attending any meeting, or taking any part, except that on January 10th, 1850, he, with the Rev. George Atkinson (whose appointment is not recorded), and Henry Sherbrooke (appointed as H. P. Lowe) signed the appointment of Col, Welfit. The Rev. W. Howard continued to act until April, 1838, and the Rev, George Atkinson from March, 1841. No appointments of a committee are recorded after 1846, and no names of committee-men are given as taking any part (except Mr. Atkinson) after 1846. The work of the committee seems to have been principally in the election of free scholars, and occasionally in the expulsion of disorderly ones. In the early years the ages of the children elected are given, usually 7 years, and sometimes the number of children the parents had is recorded.

In accordance with an Order made by the Nottingham County Court on 16th August, 1859, on the application of the trustees, Messrs. Sherbrooke and Welfitt were removed from the trusts, and the Archdeacon, the Vicar, and the Churchwardens were appointed trustees for the management and administration of the charities, and the funds and securities were ordered to be transferred to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds; the Educational Charities were ordered to be applied for the benefit and maintenance of the Parochial School for the instruction of the poor children of the parish of Arnold. £10 a year was ordered to be given to the poor out of the other charities, and the residue to be applied to the Parochial School, while other Charities were to be applied for the benefit of poor widows.

A circular issued in 1871 with a view to preventing, by the use of the Free School, the necessity for a School Board, says: "The old Free School premises, which have been closed some time, but are admirably suited for an infant school, with land for an excellent play ground, and having a teacher's house, it is proposed to repair, at a cost of about £10or £100.

Upon the death of Thomas Marshall, about 1874, the possession of the premises was obtained, and on 20th November, 1874, the site was conveyed by Geo. Wm. Leigh, surgeon, to the minister and churchwardens of the parish and their successors, it containing 600 square yards or thereabouts, together with the buildings, to be used as a school for the education of children or adults, or children only, of poor persons, and for no other purpose whatsoever; to be under the management and control as declared by a Deed Poll of 30th April, 1860, respecting the National School.

The Vicar pulled the buildings down and erected others, and according to an appeal issued by him, dated March 4th, 1885, he says: "I built a school at a cost of £500, raised from Church people and non-church people, and some from non-resident Church people." The entries are: "Church people, £309 12s. 7d., dubious £108 2s. od„ Non-church people £120 19s. od ; or, in the parish, £182, dubious, £38 18s. 6d. By personal effort, friends, sale of work, concert, etc., £347 16s. od." The entries convey the impression that £100 was contributed by the Education Department, but that may be inaccurate.

The School Board in 1883 agreed to rent the rooms from the Vicar at a rental of £16. They were at that time unaware of the trusts of the premises, but on discovering them as having been provided for the children of the poor of the parish, and that provision being fulfilled by the Board, they asked for the endowed income to be transferred to the Board, and for the educational buildings and funds of the parish to be placed on a satisfactory footing, until which they declined to pay rent. A distraint for the rent followed in 1844, and a notice to quit the premises, and also the National Schools, resulting in an appeal to the Charity Commissioners; and their decision was that all the charities of the parish should be administered under one scheme, as set forth in their Order of 12th March, 1886, for it had taken nearly three years to get the business through.

By a deed dated 25th March, 1895, the premises were leased from the trustees of the Arnold Parochial Charities to the Arnold School Board, for 99 years, from November, 1886.

Meadows School The Infants' School on Nottingham Road has had a changeful history. One of the managers of the large cotton and worsted mill at Arnot Hill was Mr. William Huddleston, who promoted in 1880-1, the building of the Meadows Chapel, and continued to be an active worker for some years. The chapel was built partly, if not principally, for the use of Messrs. Hawksley & Davison's workpeople and apprentices, the parish church being then the only place of worship in the parish, and that being three-quarters of a mile away. When the mill closed the population at that part of the parish largely dispersed, and the chapel became attended by few persons.. There were several attempts to revive the work, but the chapel fell into disuse about 1843, and on 13th February, 1845, it was, in consideration of £220 paid, conveyed to the Rev. G. F. Holcombe, vicar, Hy. Porter Lowe, Esq., and Samuel Matthews, Esq., to be applied as a site for a school for poor children under the age of ten years, and for a Sunday School, to be in union with the National School (?Society) for promoting the education of the poor in the principles of the Established Church, and the persons named, with the Rev. Geo. Atkinson, "who is the officiating minister at Arnold," were appointed managers. A letter from the Education Department, dated 5th August, 1881, stated that for the purchase and improvement a grant of £172 was made in 1845, and an additional grant of £70 at a later time.

The School evidently laboured under difficulties in its early stages, as H.M. Inspector, the Rev. Henry Mosely, with regard to the Arnold Infants' School, reported in 1846: "A town of framework knitters. The school is called an Infants' School, but contains children of all ages, and is organized as a National School. 131 children were present at my examination, in charge of a single mistress, apparently not more than nineteen years of age. The schoolroom was formerly a Dissenting Chapel." The fee was 1d. for each child, and the stipend of the mistress was £30.

The school continued for about forty years, when it was condemned by the Education Department, and closed. In 1884 it was let by the Vicar for a hosiery warehouse, and is now let by the Parochial Charities Trustees to the Urban District Council to be used as a store.

Arnold School Board. A special meeting was held. Present: Messrs. Mellors, Pembleton, Shirtcliffe, the Rev. M. J. Truman, and Mr. Spencer, the clerk. Mr. Frederick Fell, of Burnley, was appointed assistant-master, and the British School being now crowded, it was decided to appoint Mr. James Thomas Godber as an assistant-master until the Government Ex-ination in November. It was resolved to re-open the night schools for the winter season on October 8th, for two nights per week, at a fee of 1d. per week, and that to those pupils who passed the Government Examination in April last in two subjects, the fees for the forthcoming session be remitted. A committee was appointed to make further necessary arrangements. It was agreed to have a tonic-sol-fa singing class on Saturday evenings, at a charge of one halfpenny per night, pupils bringing their own books, Mr. Byford, of Nottingham, to be invited to be the teacher. The arrangements for the Thursday evening art class were deferred. The Vicar having reported that the Daybrook National Infants' School will be closed in November, a committee was appointed to confer with the teacher, Miss Holmes, with a view to the continuance of the schools either in the present or in some other building until the proposed new rooms at Daybrook will be ready.—Quoted from a Newspaper of Sept. 7th, 1878.

The National School, in Calverton Road, was built on land belonging to the Glebe, for which purpose a deed was made on April 30th, 1860, by the Vicar, the Churchwardens, the Bishop, and the Duke of Devonshire, as patron, conveying to trustees 2420 yards of land. The school was built by subscriptions, with the aid of Government grants (£895 1s. 3d. and £580), and a grant from the National Society.

The Rev. G. F. Holcombe, in a letter dated December 21, 1870, says: "Our National Schools cost not less than £1400, myself having made up the loss to £400. At these schools we have successfully educated hundreds of dissenters without ever asking a question of religion, or insisted upon any having attended our Sunday Schools unless parents wished it."

In 1877 the Vicar desired to transfer the schools to the School Board, and the Bishop of Lincoln requested Archdeacon Maltby and the Rev. F. T. Cusins, to investigate and report. They recommended that the properties should not be conveyed to the Board, but that the premises should be let from 9.45 a.m. to 5 p.m., so that the religious instruction required by the trust deed could be imparted between 9 and 9.15, but a majority of the Board declined to agree to the suggested arrangement.

The trusts were duly carried on until Christmas, 1882, when the Vicar and Churchwardens decided to close the school, the reasons being that the voluntary subscriptions had fallen to almost nil, the staff had therefore to be reduced, the Inspector's reports became so unsatisfactory that the Department threatened to withhold the grants unless better results were obtained; the balance due to the Vicar as treasurer was constantly increasing, and he was almost in despair, for there was a deficiency £70a year. " When I closed the school," he afterwards wrote, "I was £400 out of pocket; that debt due to me is now £260."

By an arrangement made between the Vicar and Mr. Robt. Mellors, acting as Chairman of the School Board, in 1883, the premises were taken over by the Board on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9 in the morning until 6 o'clock in the evening, and on Fridays from 9.45 for school purposes, the reason for the latter provision being that the trusts of the school premises required religious instruction to be given according to the principles of the Church of England. This arrangement was carried out so long as the School Board continued without any complaint or interference. The sum of £65was paid by the Board to the Vicar for the purchase of the furniture and fittings.

The British Schools were built in 1868 for 195 children, the principal donors being: Wm. Cope, Esq., £300, Saml. Morley, Esq., £100, W. Hollins & Co., £20, and many others, making a total of £526, and contributions of material. The formal opening took place on May 1st, 1868, when Alderman W. G. Ward, A. J. Mundella (afterwards The Right Hon.), Alderman Wright, Messrs. Ed. Gripper, Joseph Phipps, Thos. Bayley, B. Walker, John Howitt, Thos. Hill, and other gentlemen took part. The school was begun in June, 1868, 120 to 150 children attending, a great part of whom had not previously attended a day school. The difficulties therefore were great, but were successfully surmounted by Mr. A. Higginbottom, the Master, to whom the Managers in June, 1869, expressed their obligations for his unwearied labour and care.

In 1871 the Education Department authorised a grant of £160 1s. 3d. towards the enlargement of the school, subject to the voluntary local contributions being raised to an equal amount. There were then on the books 215 children, with provision for 172 only. A circular then issued said that of the children connected with the Sunday Schools, nearly 1000, or more than 90 per cent., belonged to the schools of Nonconformist denominations.

The Foundation Stone of an enlarged school was laid in 1872 by S. Morley, Esq., M.P., when the children walked in procession through the village. At the opening in 1873, the Mayor of Nottingham, W. Foster, Esq., presided.

A public library was opened in 1876, at a meeting presided over by Alderman Manning, Mayor of Nottingham. The books at first numbered 250, but were by 1877 increased to 1000, being collected by Mr. R. Mellors. It was open to the public on two nights in the week.

1877, December 24th, the school was handed over to the Arnold School Board.

1880, an additional story was put on the building, making the premises capable of accommodating about 500 children, there being then on the books 538.

1889, a further enlargement was made by the addition of two large class rooms.

1903, the school passed under the Notts. County Council. The standard of space required was increased from 8 to 10 square feet per child. The accommodation is now reckoned as for 482, and is used for boys from Standards 1 to 7, under Mr. Spencer, who has supplied some of the foregoing particulars.

It may be worth noting that in July, 1867, Mr. R. Mellors wrote to the Education Department as to the probable cost of building a school, when "My Lords" replied: "Good, plain and substantial school buildings may usually be provided at a cost not exceeding £5a head for the school houses, and £300 for the teacher's residence." Seeing that the cost of building a school is now from £10 to £15 a head, it shows bow much better accommodation is required than formerly, and also how greatly the cost of building has increased.

Daybrook School. On the Education Department condemning the Folly, Meadows, or Nottingham Road Infants' School, as being unsuitable and insufficient, a piece of land on the Mansfield Road, containing 1210 square yards, was purchased on 7th August, 1879, from Mr. Francis Williamson, whereon a school was built. The weekly fees were 2d. or 3d., and half-timers, 2d. On September 22nd, 1879, the school was opened by a meeting, presided over by Mr. R. Mellors, chairman of the School Board, the dedicatory prayer being offered by the Rev. M. J. Truman, addresses delivered by Lt.-Col. Seely, Mr. T. R. Starey, and others, while the Arnold Tonic-Sol-Fa Choir, conducted by Mr. G. Byford, sang several pieces.

On gth April, 1889, a further plot of 687 square yards was bought from Messrs. Cartwright & Williams, for the purpose of extension. The increased accommodation given was:—Mixed department, 102 to 210, Infants', 125 to 232, giving 215 additional places.

High Street Infants. In 1892, 728 square yards of land was purchased from Mr. W. Oscroft, for the purpose of erecting a cookery centre. In 1894 the School Board purchased 1787 square yards of land from Mr, F. J. Oscroft for the purpose of building an infants' school.

Church Drive School. In 1895 the School Board built a school for the accommodation of 420 children, which with a cookery centre now used as a class room, provides accommodation for 480. There is a central hall and seven class rooms. The cost was £4,700. The school was opened in November, 1896. It was made a senior school in 1908, and in the same year the girls attending High Street were transferred there. In 1911 a class was formed for the mentally defective.

High Street Infants. This school was opened in 1895 to accommodate 260 children. In 1908 the school was overcrowded, and it became necessary to use the girls' school—which had been built on the old Free School premises—for infants. There are seven classes, and 370 children on the books.

School Board. Upon the passing of the Education Act in 1870 a circular was issued, signed by a committee of ratepayers, stating that the Act required sufficient accommodation to be provided in each parish, the estimate in Arnold for one-sixth of the population being for 773 places. The accommodation at that time was: in the National School, 200; Meadows Infant School, 123; British, 172:—total 495, deficiency 278. It was proposed to enlarge the National School and the British School, providing for 100 more places, and to repair the old Free School, the total cost being about £770, towards which Government grants and subscriptions amounting to £300 might be obtained, leaving an expenditure of £470 to be found by the parish, whereas a Board School would cost £1000. The Overseers convened a meeting of the principal ratepayers on January 2nd, 1871, when it was resolved that it was desirable to raise a voluntary rate of 10d. in the £; this many persons agreed to pay, and a committee was formed to carry out the plan.

The difficulty of carrying on the National Schools, owing to the lack of subscriptions, became so acute, and the deficiency so increasing, that the Vicar, in 1877, called a parochial Vestry meeting to consider the situation, at which fifteen ratepayers attended, including the Vicar, who was in the chair. After discussion, seven voted in favour of a School Board, and seven against,; the chairman gave his casting vote in favour of a Board. The Education Department therefore, in September, 1877, ordered a Board to be formed, with five members. An effort was made to avoid a contested election, and for that purpose Mr. Julius Kohn, whose election was considered highly probable, withdrew in favour of Mr. J. Shirt -cliffe, the working man's candidate. The number of votes recorded were: Mr. Robert Mellors 712, James Acton 684, F. Pembleton, Jr. 652, James Shirtcliffe 563, Rev. M. J. Truman 474 (elected). Francis Burton 283, John L. Thackeray 96, Julius Kohn 30, John Ward 8. Mr. Mellors was elected chairman, and Mr. R. B. Spencer, clerk, at a salary of £15a year.

The School Board had a census taken, according to which, as certified by Mr. R. B. Spencer, clerk, 1st January, 1878, there were:

Houses occupied


" empty


No. of children under 5 years of age


" between 5 and 13, boys 498, girls 499


Other persons


The number of children attending school was: British 352, National 284, Girls (High Street) 131. Infants (Daybrook) 127, other public schools 21, private schools 49, nursery schools 39, private tuition 12; total 1015. In actual attendance 994, not attending between 5 and 13 years 164; total 1179.

The second Board, elected in 1880, consisted of Messrs. R. Mellors, T. Dabell, R. Lacey, John Clay, Jas. Acton, and the Rev. M. J. Truman.

The third Board consisted of Messrs. Robert Mellors (chairman), Robert Lacey (vice-chairman), John Clay, Thos. Dabell, Jesse Elliott, John Spencer, Alfred Wayte.

Mr. R. B. Spencer, the clerk, died in July, 1880, when the Board passed a resolution of its high appreciation of his character, ability, and courtesy, and of condolence with the family.

The Board, in 1886, reported that in 1877, the first year of the formation of the Board, the total average attendance was 480, in 1885 it was 923, and in August, 1886, it had risen to 985.

Arnold School Loans. The accounts of the Notts. County Council for the year ending 31st March, 1912, show that the loans for school building were originally ,£15,381, of which £8,612 18s. 0d. has been repaid. The principal paid off in the year 1911—12 was £445 10s. 8d., and the interest £278 2s. 7d. The balance of principal owing on 31st March, 1912, was £8,1677s. 4d. The rate of interest is 31/2 0/0, but the largest loan is 31/8 0/0. Some of the loans run out in 1916, and one extends to 1945.

Council Schools. The number of children on the books in the following schools in February, 1913, was:—

Calverton Road Mixed






Front Street Boys


High Street Infants


Church Drive Girls


Daybrook Mixed


Sherwood Lodge Mixed