Langdon Hills school opened on 13th February 1911.
It was built as a
larger replacement of an earlier school of the same name
that still stands in the High Road at the top of Crown Hill. The former school is now a private
residence. The new school, also in the High Road but located at the foot of the eventual Crown Hill,
was first proposed in 1907 and aimed to serve the wider community. It opened as a Council school and was much larger
and less isolated from the main Langdon Hills developments. Mrs. Patience Fothergill is believed to be the first headmistress. The school later became Langdon Hills County
The girls' playground was at the front facing the High Road, with an entrance
at the front left, and the boys' playground was at the back with a side entrance. Directly
behind the school until the 1970s ran Nightingale Avenue where a small field was used during
summer playtime sessions. Some buildings, including a brick built air raid shelter and various
Morrison shelters, once stood along the back and right hand side of the rear playground. Another
feature, probably dating from the Second World War and positioned on two high posts to the left
side of the school behind the front side block, was an air raid siren. This was still in place in the
late 1970s but has now been removed.
For many years from the 1930s to the 1950s and possibly into the 1960s the schools'
sports day was held at the nearby recreation ground in New Avenue. Parents were invited to watch and a
marquee was erected where refreshments were served. The venue later changed to the meadow at
the top of crown hill opposite the Crown public house. In later years Eastern National would
provide a double dekker bus to transport the children there.
In the 1960s the Laindon High Road
schools' new outdoor swimming pool was used to provide swimming lessons, as well as the pool at
Hutton where swimming exams could be taken. The school operated a house point system where
academic and sporting achievements were recognised, with each pupil being assigned a house. These
were named: Ash (red), Elm (blue), Fir (green) and Oak (yellow).
The main school building has had various additions
over the years, one being around the mid 1960s when a small wooden extension to the room used by the schools' then
headmaster Mr Wiggins was built. A stand alone corrugated iron building which served as a canteen once stood in the
rear playground, and this was still in place when a new detached building housing two infant
classrooms was built around 1956. The canteen was later replaced with a new permanent addition
added to the main building which can still be seen today.
Three long serving teachers were Miss Gladys M. O'Brien,
with 40 years service and herself a former pupil, Miss Daphne Wilkinson, with 25 years service, who was very musical and
would play the accordion during outside lessons of country dancing, and her father Mr Richard E.W. Wilkinson, assistant
master, with 22 years including a brief spell as Acting Head in between 1931 and Spring 1932.
The day-to-day general
maintenance of the school was the responsibility of the caretaker. Two of the caretakers who undertook these duties were
Mr Joe Ling, who on retirement gave his name to a sports day trophy award, and in the 1960s and possibly to closure, Mr
Langley who lived opposite the school.
As the population of Langdon Hills grew the schools resources were
stretched, and a decision was made to build a new larger school for 800+ children with its own playing
field and indoor swimming pool, in nearby Berry Lane. Plans for this had originally surfaced
in the 1960s as the site was needed for a new roundabout and road layout, but due to budget
restrictions in the County Council's schools projects programme, final approval took longer than
expected. In anticipation of this the school set up a swimming pool fund in the late 1960s,
holding various fund raising events. When the new school finally opened in September 1973 it
was named Lincewood Infant and Junior School and remained so until September 2003, when it was
renamed Lincewood Primary School. Following the opening of Lincewood the building became an
annexe for the junior school which lasted into the 1990s. During this time a new nameboard with
the words Lincewood County Junior School Annexe was placed at the front of the building.
Headmaster, through to August 31st 1973 while the school was still called Langdon Hills, was Mr
John Wiggins, who joined in the 1950s having formerly taught at Markhams Chase Primary School,
and continued in that post at the new Lincewood junior school until the late 1970s. To mark the
occasion former pupils were invited back for a reunion on June 29th, 1973.
Basildon new town developments had already
begun to impact around the school when a new Basildon Development Corporation housing estate was constructed in the mid
1970s, and although the earlier threat of demolition was lifted due to a change of plans, the High Road was realigned
just beyond the school entrance.
Since closure the school once provided a temporary home for
some Nicholas School pupils during remedial works in the early 1970s, and in the mid 1970s the
Langdon Hills youth club held their Friday night meets there. It was also used as a polling
station for general and local elections up to 1979 and possibly beyond.
The school building survives today and is still
used for educational purposes as the Essex County Council run CSS (Children's Support Service
and formerly Integrated Support Service) Centre - Langdon Hills.
Other teachers known to have taught there over the
years include Mrs Allen, Mrs Baker, Mrs Brook, Miss Brown, Mrs Dove, Miss Fiddis, Mr Griffiths, Mr P.H. Hall - a former
Headmaster (retired July 1952 after 21 years service and succeeded by Mr J.R. Wiggins), Mrs Mary Hayball, Mrs Henson, Mr Allen
Hill, Mr Huggett, who as well as being the schools pianist, would often take classes on nature rambles in the woodland and
grassy roads directly behind the school, Mrs Christina Jobson, Mrs Jones, Miss Neville (later Mrs Hill), Mrs Nicholls,
Mr F.D. Richardson - who would often relate his experiences in India, Miss Snow, Mrs Mary Abbey, Mr Taylor, Mr Walker,
Miss D. Wenden, Mrs Wise, Mrs Wallace and Mrs Mutter, who taught reception in the 1970s.