Camp School history

St Peter’s parish is a huge sprawling area. It was the only St Albans parish to construct a school beyond the town boundaries, and this turned out to be a fortuitous move. It was constructed in Camp Lane in 1898. Known as the St Peter’s Rural Board School until 1902 when it was known as Camp Elementary School, with Infants, Junior and Senior departments.

The first head teacher was Mr Charles Wimbrey, with his wife in charge of the Infants department. When they were jointly appointed to the new Fleetville School in 1908 Mr E Upton took charge. Mr A W East became head from 1919. Mrs Preece was then in charge of Infants. In 1927 Mr East also transferred to Fleetville, being replaced by Mr S T Hill, who remained until c1950. Mr W Belcher was appointed in 1955 and is believed to be the first not to live in the school teacher's house. In 1967 Mr Golding became Head, followed by Miss Webb in 1980.

In 1931 senior girls transferred to Priory Park, Old London Road, and senior boys moved to Hatfield Road. This release of space did not last long, for in 1936 two temporary classrooms had been placed on the playground to accommodate the upper juniors. They lasted until 1972.

The additional land failed to materialise in full and no new buildings were added until the post-war years, with the exception of a new toilet block in 1934. With no hall the school continued to use The Mission Hall (St Luke’s) opposite. A small additional part of Spring Field had been purchased as a school field, there being no nearby open space which the school could use for games and other outdoor activities.

In 1946 the St Albans Education Committee proposed the re-building of the school using part of the adjacent allotment field.
However, In 1949 came news that Camp School was to be replaced and land east of Cell Barnes Lane had been selected as a site for a new school. This would in time become
Cunningham JMI School. However before then, relief came in the form of Windermere JMI School, opened in 1955, the first of the two JMIs required to serve the new London Road estate. So both JMIs destined to replace Camp had been opened, but still Camp soldiered on, and today is still a thriving Primary. A nursery completed in 1973 was on the site of the former temporary classrooms and head teacher's house. This was also the period when substantial improvements were made to a tired building, including new classrooms, hall, dining facilities and new toilets and offices.

Below: six 1950s children outside a temporary classroom, informally known as
The Bungalow.

Group at The Bungalow Camp School

Photo courtesy Tony Jones.

Junior department teachers in 1956
Camp teachers 1956

Photo owner unknown.

BACK ROW L-R: Mrs L Luck, Mr J Bonney, Miss Goldsmith , Mr A Dunkley, Miss Farquharson
FRONT ROW L-R: Mrs W Smedley, Mr W Belcher, Mrs Chapman

Group of girls in 1922
Camp girls 1922

Photo courtesy Mike Neighbour.

BACK ROW L-R: (10)
FOURTH ROW L-R: (11) Extreme right, Winifred Simmons
This group has a wide age range, so is unlikely to be a single class, though is far fewer than a full school of girls.

Infants class in c1914
Camp infants class 1914

Photo courtesy Mike Neighbour.

SECOND ROW L-R: (8) Fifth from left is Winifred Simmons

An early junior class in c1915
Camp junior class c1915

Photo courtesy Mike Neighbour.

The same brick wall and the same "carpet underlay" type of matting is being used as in the group of girls 1922, above.

Year 6 class in 1959
Camp Year 6 in 1959

Photo unknown.

The teachers are Mr Cook (left) and Mr Belcher
BACK ROW L-R: David Street, John White, Tony Janes, Alan Dearlove, Terry Poulter, Geoffrey Harber, Colin Fassinage, Angela Downing, Lesley Sewell
THIRD ROW L-R: Penny Folds, Margaret Goodyear, Gillian Morris, Judith Hewitt, Josephine Wright, Pat Ellis, Marion Perry, Susan Faulkner
SECOND ROW L-R: Pauline Weeks, Lynne Kent, Mary Houseman, Pamela Lancefield, Eileen Foster, Stella Guy, Sandra Newman, Susan Fricker, Cynthia Smith, Call Lynch, Sandra Ogilvie
FRONT ROW L-R: Graham Billings, Simon Barnes, David Coles, Michael Curtis, Terry Ruling, Richard Potter, Nigel Mould, Adrian Ponting

Senior class in the early 1900s
Camp senior class early 1900s

Photo courtesy Darren Stanton

This picture of Class 1 – presumably of the Senior School.
It was sent by Darren Stanton, whose family lived in Castle Road. The photo may include more of his family.

Football team in 1933
Camp football team in 1933

Photo courtesy Herts Advertiser.

Hitchcock Cup winners in 1933.
BACK ROW L-R: J Matthews, F Runchman, P Hall, G Rawles, A Kirby, F Matthews
FRONT ROW L-R: V Cross, R Little, E Dennis, D Ralph, D Maunder

A class in 1938
Camp class 1938

Photo courtesy George Smith.

BACK ROW L-R: Eddie Coxall, Ronnie Rand, ? , ? , John Laver, ? , Billy Mills, ? , ? , ?
THIRD ROW L-R: Iris Highett, Mavis Hooker, Jean Hercam, ? , ? , ? , ? , Daphne Pinner, ? , ?, ? , Joyce Howard
SECOND ROW L-R: ? , ? , ? , Margaret ….. , ? , Audrey Seater, Brenda Dimock, ? , ? , ? , Jean Garden, Daphne Ruderford
FRONT ROW L-R: Henry ….. , ? , George Smith, ? , Arthur Atkins, Peter Messer, Denis Brockwell, John Fribens, Teddy Dearwell

A class in 1931
Camp class in 1931

Photo courtesy Gordon James.

This may have been the first "top class" after the senior boys moved to Fleetville and senior girls to Priory Park.
BACK ROW L-R: Ron Rolf, Alec Lawrence, Cyril Bedford, Bill Eames, Jessie Moore, Les Hall, Ron Hieatt, Arthur Kisley, Fred Rance
FOURTH ROW L-R: Joan Darby Dora Thompson, Dot Harris, Queenie Swain, Mary Waldron, Kath Groom, Joan Cox, Margaret Austin, Ivy Stanton
THIRD ROW L-R: Ethel Smith, Ruby Groves, Connie Sharp, Mabel Chaplin, Eileen Jones, Irene Sholes, Sybil Shepherd, Gwen Gray, Doreen Good
SECOND ROW L-R: Geoff Matthews, Arthur Allen, George Rodford, Stan Coombes, Les Catlin
FRONT ROW L-R: Arthur Day, Cyril Janes, Ron Burgess, Doug James

A class in 1951
Camp class in 1951

Photo owner unknown.

The teacher is Miss Ward, but no-one in her Infants class has so far been recognised.

Netball team 1930/31
Camp netball team in 1930/31

Photo owner unknown.

Who were these skilful netball players from 1930/31 ?

Netball team 1957
Camp School netball team 1957

Photo owner unknown.

BACK ROW L-R: Mr W Belcher, Wendy Palenburg, Mary Brooks, Gillian Potter, Mrs Jago
FRONT ROW L-R: Jacqueline Smith, Barbara Pearson, Daphne Rosling, Elizabeth Blenkinsop, Gillian Ogilvie

A senior class in 1930
Camp senior class in 1930

Photo owner unknown.

Probably the last senior class of the elementary school before Camp School became a Junior Mixed and Infants (JMI) establishment

Class 5 in 1930
Camp class 5 in 1930

Photo owner unknown.

Forty children, not all of them looking happy.

An Infants class in 1922.
Camp infants class 1922

Photo owner unknown.

The girls have been arranged in the front four rows, while the boys, smaller in number, are in the shadows at the back! Is there a message here?

Top class (Year Six) in 1960
Camp Y6 class 1960

Photo courtesy Rita Swinson.

BACK ROW L-R: Mrs Luck, Stephen Collarbone, Geoffrey Howson, Michael Tutt, Linton James, Andrew Downing, Douglas Roft, Alan Foster, Peter Beach
THIRD ROW L-R: Andrew ….. , Bryan Myers, Jean Beech, Jean Hulks, Linda Woolford, Norman Greensmith, Freda Harding, Rita Grimes, Richard Prime
SECOND ROW L-R: Wendy Kitchen, Susan Pallenburg, Ann Smith, Kathleen Wall, Glenys Greenway, Joyce Lucas, June Bennett, Iris Rickman
FRONT ROW L-R: Steven ….. , Keith Robinson, Robert Atkinson, Andrew ….. , Alan Cheshire, ? , Gordon …..

Updated November 2021.

Senior class c1930
Camp senior class in 1930

Photo courtesy Fleetville Diaries

Taken to the left of the former headmaster's house (right), the class teacher is Mr E Richmond. None of the children have so far been identified.