Cosgrove New School Negotiations

This page tells the story of Cosgrove's struggle to provide new accommodation for its village school in the early days of the 20th century. Read down to see the story as the people read it in the newspapers of the time. The Old School had been condemned, and the community was expected to pay in part for new provision.

The Northampton Mercury March 30th 1906

The General Purposes Committee: The committee recommended that the necessary legal notice for the provision of a Council School at Cosgrove, to accommodate about 120 children, be issued forthwith. The attention of the committee had been directed to the fact that the children of Old Stratford, which is partly in the parish of Cosgrove, attended school at Stony Stratford, which is in the County of Bucks. It was unquestionable that that was more convenient than their attending Cosgrove School, and in fixing the accommodation of the school proposed to be built, the fact was taken into consideration that the arrangement would probably continue. A communication had been received from Bucks Education Committee in respect of the education of these children, and the committee be requested to continue to arrange for the instruction at their schools of the children from Old Stratford, on the Northamptonshire Education Committee agreeing to pay a reasonable charge.

The Northampton Mercury April 6th 1906

Mr. Woollard made some very strong remarks. If they excluded the children from Northamptonshire, it would necessitate a new school being built at Old Stratford, or the sending of the children to Potterspury, Deanshanger, or Cosgrove schools, and he thought it would pay the Northamptonshire people better to make a contribution towards any new schools which might be erected at Stony Stratford.

The Northampton Mercury May 18th 1906

The Clark stated that the new statutory notice enlarged the area and included Calverton and Old Stratford. The Chairman thought it was recognised by the Northamptonshire people that Old Stratford children could not be expected to attend Cosgrove or Potterspury schools.

The Northampton Mercury June 29th 1906

NORTHAMPTON EDUCATION COMMITTEE: Mr Atkinson referred to the subject of the new Council Schools which has to be provided in place of that at Cosgrove, and urged that as half the children in attendance would come from Old Stratford which was growing while Cosgrove was decreasing the site ought to be halfway between the two places, instead of at Cosgrove. The report was adopted.

The Northampton Mercury August 3rd 1906

The Finance and Schools Attendance Committee: The report contained a lengthy reference to the question of school accommodation for Cosgrove and Old Stratford, and the committee recommended that a Council school be erected on the road between Cosgrove and Old Stratford sufficiently large to accommodate the children of both villages. The report was adopted.

The Northampton Mercury October 26th 1906

The Education Committee: Connected with the question was that of school accommodation at Cosgrove, and the committee recommended that a school be built midway between Cosgrove and Old Stratford large enough to accommodate the children at both places.

The Northampton Mercury January 11th 1907

Proposed Schools at Old Stratford & Cosgrove


To acquire half an acre of land for the erection of a school to serve the villages of Cosgrove and Old Stratford

The Northampton Mercury July 12th 1907


The County Council at present paid a quarter the cost of school buildings, and the parish three-quarters. The speaker went on to reply to Mr. Atkinson’s remarks with reference to Cosgrove, and said that the new school was intended to serve Old Stratford and Cosgrove, making one school instead of two.

The Northampton Mercury August 2nd 1907


The question of school accommodation at Cosgrove and Stony Stratford was again considered, and it was recommended that the necessary legal notice for the provision of a Council School at Cosgrove to accommodate about 200 children (the whole of the population of that parish, and those parts of Passenham, Furtho, and Potterspury, known as Old Stratford be issued forthwith.

The Northampton Mercury September 20th 1907

A meeting of the Cosgrove Pariah Council was held in the School last week. The notice issued by the Local Education Authority re proposed new school in Cosgrove Parish was read, and the Chairman pointed out that the proposed site was situated on the Quarry Hill. The members present were unanimous in condemning the proposed site for the following reasons.—The long distance the children of from five to eight years of age would be compelled to walks particularly in winter and during wet weather, as part of the road is bordered by plantations; the school would be of no use as a Continuation School or for any purposes of recreation owing, to the long distance from villages; the motor traffic is very great, being on the London and Northampton main road; the wishes of the parents concerned, are unanimously against the proposed site- It was thought desirable that there should be a public, inquiry before the matter was finally settled and as alternative scheme was suggested. It was thought that an infant school be built at Old Stratford and that the elder children from that place could attend a school at Cosgrove. It was proposed by Mr. J. A. Reeve and seconded by the Rev. H. W. C. Hewson, “That the Parish Council write to the Board of Education making a strong protest against the proposed site for the new schools, and that a copy be sent to the Local Education Committee at Northampton.” Carried.

The Northampton Mercury November 1st 1907


The committee made no recommendation with regard to copies of resolutions forwarded by Cosgrove Parish Council to the Board of Education protesting against the proposals for a new Council School to serve Cosgrove and Old Stratford.

The Northampton Mercury November 8th 1907


NOTICE is hereby given that the Northamptonshire County Council, in pursuance and exercise of the powers given to them by the Education Acts, 1870 to 1902 (in which first mentioned Act, the Land Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, and the Acts, amending the same are, with certain exceptions, incorporated), and of every other power enabling them in this behalf, propose to APPLY to the Board of Education for a PROVISIONAL ORDER empowering the said Northamptonshire County Council to TAKE THE PIECE OF LAND with the buildings thereon (if any) and the fee simple thereof, the situation, quantity and description whereof, are stated in the schedule hereto for the PURPOSE OF PROVIDING on such piece of land a NEW PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
And NOTICE is hereby further given that a PLAN of the said piece of land may be seen at all reasonable hours at the office of the Clerk of the COUNTY COUNCIL, County Hall, Northampton.


A TRIANGULAR PIECE OF LAND, situate in the Parish of Cosgrove, in the County of Northampton, and at the Eastern End of a field called or known by the name of “Hilly Field,” now or formerly belonging to and in the occupation of Harry Grant-Thorold, Esquire, which said piece of land contains half an acre or thereabouts and is bounded on the North and North-east by a field called or known by the name of “Thickthorn,” now or formerly belonging to and in the occupation of Harry Grant-Throld, Esquire, and having a frontage thereto of 252 feet or thereabouts, on the South and South-east, by a district road leading (at a point near the County Bridge called Quarry Bridge) from Hardingstone and Old Stratford main road to the village of Cosgrove, and having a frontage to such district road of 265 feet or thereabouts, on the West by the residue of the said field called “Hilly Field,” and having a frontage thereto of 173 feet or thereabouts, which said field called “Hilly Field,” is more particularly delineated and described and numbered 117 on Sheet lxi, g of the Ordnance Survey Map, 1900 Scale 25,344 inches to a statute mile.
Dated this 7th day of November, 1907
Solicitor to the Local Education Authority,
County Hall,

The Northampton Mercury November 29th 1907


With regard to the proposed new school at Cosgrove, the General Purposes Sub-Committee reported the receipt of a letter, dated October 19, 1907, from Mr. H. Grant-Thorold. of Cosgrove Hall, offering a site in Cosgrove village for the proposed new school, and stating further that if the local authority did not feel justified in building two schools (one at Cosgrove and one at Old Stratford), he would call a meeting of ratepayers and others interested, with a view, if possible, to the cost of a new school at Cosgrove being defrayed privately, such school then to be leased to the local authority. The letter was referred to the School Buildings Sub-Committee to consider the offer of Mr. Thorold as an alternative to the proposal to erect it school midway between the villages of Cosgrove and Old Stratford, and in connection therewith, the possibility of arranging for the conveyance to school at Cosgrove of the Old Stratford children. The School Buildings Sub-Committee re-ported that as the cost of conveying the Old Stratford children to and from school at Cosgrove would at a minimum estimate amount to about £160 per annum, the adoption of that course could not be recommended, and the sub-committee was also unable to recommend the provision of two separate schools at the expense of the Local Education Authority.—In supporting this report, Mr. Dickson said Mr. Grant-Thorold told them the local people would build a school at their own expense, but would expect to receive some interest on the outlay. It was a matter of principle whether school buildings should erected by private people and interest paid upon them by the committee.—The report was adopted.

The Northampton Mercury December 27th 1907

Mr. H. Grant-Thorold, J.P. was voted to the chair. He explained that the County Council proposed to build a school for 200 children half-way between Old Strafford and Cosgrove in the Quarry Field at the top of the hill. Cosgrove had always had a school in the village, and naturally they objected to the children having to walk a mile to school in all weathers. The County Council say they have to provide for Old Stratford as well, and decline to build two schools. A school on the site proposed would be no use to Cosgrove for evening classes or as a secondary school. The committee would not meet them in any way. He had interviewed the Education Department, but had heard nothing from them. The Old Stratford children attended Stony Stratford Schools, and he thought some arrangement should be made to continue as at present in regard to the Old Stratford children. He (the Chairman) offered them a site in Cosgrove village, and he had also inquired if the voluntarily built a school at Cosgrove would the County Council pay rent for it. Of course it was a big undertaking to build a school and keep it in repair. He wanted the views of Old Stratford people on the subject. The Education Department would probably hold an inquiry, and they must make their protest as strong as possible. It was proposed to get up a petition setting forth the reasons of their objections avid obtain signatures both of Old Stratford and Cosgrove.
It was stated that the Bucks and Northants authorities could not agree as to terms for continuing the present arrangements of the Old Stratford Schools. -Mr. Webb said it was much better for the Old Stratford children to go to Stony Stratford. It was a better road. As regards the distance for Old Stratford children there was not much in that, but it was a safer road to Stony Stratford.- A parent said he personally protested strongly forcing little children to go along the Cosgrove road, which was tramp infested, to school.—A question was asked as to whether the authorities were au fait with the ease, and the Chairman replied that he did not think they were.-Mr. J. A. Reeve said it would be much better if some arrangement was made for the Old Stratford children to continue attending Stony Stratford Schools.
The Chairman said he asked for a Subcommittee to meet them, but they refused to meet them in any way. If the school was ultimately built on Quarry Hill the Old Stratford children would be forced to attend there. He thought if the Old Stratford children had to be provided for they should be provided for at Old Stratford.—After a little more discussion the following resolution, proposed by Mr. W. Page, and seconded by Mr. James, was passed unanimously.-

 "That this meeting promises to support the Chairman in his endeavour to keep the school in Cosgrove village and that Old Stratford children be allowed to attend at Stony Stratford as usual, and that they sign a petition to that effect."

 Mr. T. Trasler and Mr. S. Bird promised to take the petition round for signature. - A vote of thanks to the Chairman, proposed by Mr. Webb, and seconded by Mr. Reeve, terminated the meeting.

 At the meeting held at Cosgrove Mr. H. Grant-Thorold presiding, there was a good attendance, and the Chairman explained what had been done to keep the school in the village. Several parents made objection to the proposed site. The chief objections were: (1) That school should be in the village and not a mile outside; (2) that the place was not at all suitable owing to the proximity of the old limestone quarries and the present lime kiln; (3) that children should not be compelled to walk a long distance, particularly in the winter and during wet weather; (4) the dangers arising from children sitting, for hours in wet clothes and with wet feet : (5) the enormous increase in the rates which would follow, and naturally raise the rents of the cottages. In the event of the latter becoming an established fact many of the parents would remove and go to places where the rents  would not be any higher, and where the school was in the place, not outside (6) That a school built in such a locality would he useless for evening schools or technical classes. (7) That as the ratepayers have to find the money they ought to he allowed some voice in the choice of the sites. (8) Waste of public money to build the school in, the proposed, situation.—Mr. Knight proposed, and Mr. Clarke seconded the following proposition: "That this meeting promises to support the chairman in his endeavours to keep the school in the village, and that a petition be signed for Presentation to the Northamptonshire County Council, by all parents and ratepayers." This was carried, and Messrs. Bull and Linthwaite Volunteered to obtain the necessary signatures.—A vote of thanks to the chairman terminated the proceedings.

The Northampton Mercury January 17th 1908

Mr. Poulton addressed a few words to his hearers on the subject of their local difficulties in regard to education, the village of Cosgrove being now rather agitated over the subject of a new school. He pointed out the difficulty of the County Council in giving Cosgrove the school just when it wanted it, owing to the fact that Cosgrove children were not the only ones who must attend, and he commented on the risks attaching to an arrangement by which Cosgrove children might be educated under the Bucks authority instead of Northamptonshire. He was sure the people of Cosgrove might reply on it that the Northamptonshire County Council in this matter was animated by the sincere desire to do its best for Cosgrove and Old Stratford. Apart from this, however, he appealed to parents to be prepared for sacrifices in order that their children might be adequately educated. (Applause)

The Northampton Mercury March 20th 1908

With regard to the proposed new Council School for Cosgrove and Old Stratford the committee had considered the petitions from the inhabitants referred to them by the County Council, but had not varied their former resolutions, and a Board of inquiry had been held. The decision of the Board had not yet be announce, but the committee hoped to be in a position to report further at the next meeting of the Council.

The Northampton Mercury April 4th 1908

THE COSGROVE SCHOOL DIFFICULTY. A letter was read from the Board of Education who said they fully appreciated the committee’s situation and their desire to secure efficiency and economy, but after a careful consideration of all the circumstances they were of the opinion that the proposal to build a joint school for Cosgrove and Old Stratford did not offer a satisfactory solution of the problem of the provision of accommodation in the district, and they were of the opinion a school should be provided in Cosgrove itself. The Board had considered the strongly expressed wishes of the parents, and they thought the arrangement of the Bucks County Council for the attendance of Old Stratford children at Wolverton schools should continue. They accordingly intimated that they were not prepared to grant a provisional order for the acquirement of the proposed site between Cosgrove and Old Stratford. The Chairman remarked that they would now have to go into the matter again and see what arrangements they could make.

The Northampton Mercury January 29th 1909

COSGROVE SCHOOL. In view of the opposition to the proposed new Council School to accommodate the children of Cosgrove and Old Stratford, and the refusal of the Board of Education to give compulsory powers for the purchase of a site, the School Building Sub- Committee recommended that no further action be taken. This was agreed to.

The Northampton Mercury July 30th 1909


The Board of Education had reminded the committee of a former warning to discontinue the recognition of Cosgrove C.E. School and of their opinion expressed in March, 1908, that the proposal to provide a joint school for Cosgrove and Old Stratford was not satisfactory, and that a new school ought to be provided in Cosgrove itself. The Board further stated that they might withhold payment of grant in respect of the Church of England School for the current school year unless they were satisfied by the end of that year that active steps were being taken to provide a new school at Cosgrove village to replace the condemned premises. The Buildings Sub-Committee resolved to ask the managers whether they were prepared to take steps to submit a scheme to the Local Education Authority and the Board of Education for the reconstruction of the present school premises. The action of the sub-committee was endorsed.