Upton has had two schools and a third, it is hoped, will be opened this year, besides five known private schools.
The first of the St. Mary's Schools, were built in 1843 by the Rector of St. Mary's-on-the-Hill, on land given for the purpose by Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton. The site was in the north corner of a field on Upton Heath known as the Foot-way field, and when the school was built it stood in front of the present school, much nearer to the road. Alongside the school ran a path to the old brickyard at the back of it, while in front and on the other side, stretched fields. It was a mixed School with an Infants' department and, according to Ormerod, accommodated 80 children. In 1859 the average attendance was 55.
Here services were held on Sundays until the church was built eleven years later. From 1877 it was a meeting place for the ratepayers of the township.
Our oldest inhabitants remember attending this school and the Headmaster, Mr. Bullock, who was there in1879. We have no records of when he became Headmaster, nor who preceded him, but we know that he remained there until the school was taken down in 1884 for the purpose of re-building, and became the first Headmaster of the new school.
On 24th July 1884, the corner stone of the new buildings was laid by Miss Humberston. On 16th April 1885, they were opened. The school and house were built and presented to the parish by Colonel Humberston and the Misses Humberston. The new school, described as "very handsome and commodious", was built of red brick There was a large schoolroom with a platform at one end. Later an infants' classroom was erected at the expense of Miss Mary Humberston, and in 1896 it was enlarged. In that year, too, water was laid on at the school.
In a plan of the school, made by John Evans in the early twentieth century, an infants' room, large classroom, and two cloakrooms are shown, also a proposed partition in the larger room. The latter has since been carried out.
Mr. Bullock. 1885-1899.
Mr. John Evans. Oct. 1899-Aug. 1914.
Mr. E. Hacker. 1914-1925.
Mr. F. Hewitt. 1925-Dec. 1929.
Mr. F. Chidlow. Jan. 1930 - .
Attendance in 1930 was 90 Children and by 1951 was 172 Children
Various School Activities - in addition to the usual school routine:
1. About 1903 four local farmers agreed each to take three boys over twelve for two afternoons a week to instruct them in practical farm and dairy work.
2. During Mr. Hacker's time there were school gardens looked after by the older boys. By a coincidence the new school has been built on the same ground.
3. In 1930 there was a varied programme of school sports held at Upton Lawn. At this time, it is interesting to note that the scholars were able to listen to the broadcasts for schools.
An interesting occasion on 4th July 1919, was that of the visit of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig to Sir John Frost, Mayor of Chester. The Field Marshal Inspected the school children at 12.45 p.m. terming them "good specimens of the future men and women of the British Empire."
Evening Continuation Classes.
These were first formed in October 1899. In November 1903, there were classes for two hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. Subjects taught included Commercial Arithmetic, Correspondence and Geography, and also Drawing. The fee was 2/- per session. Mr. J. Evans was the teacher and received 3/9d. per hour for his work.
The St. Mary's Schools used to be the centre of social life where meetings of all kinds and social functions were held. The Farmer's Balls are still remembered by some of (50) our older inhabitants. Even though we have a Village Hall, the school is still used for church meetings, various society meetings, e.g. the Horticultural Society, political meetings at election times, etc.
As to the future of the school, nothing is known at present.
It is hoped that September 1951, will see the opening of the Upton County Primary School. It stands in the old Quoiting field and stretches from Upton Lane to the By-Pass Road. This is a vastly different building from the church school. It is a commodious structure built partly of brick and partly of aluminium prefabricated, with a large proportion of windows to the classrooms. It will have accommodation for 120 infants and 160 juniors, a total of 260. There are six classrooms and two large general purpose rooms. Each classroom has its own storeroom. Three of the classrooms are for the infants and the remainder for the juniors. The large assembly hall, 1600 sq. ft., has a movable platform. The dining hall is large and has the kitchen attached. There are various other rooms for the Headmaster, Staff, medical inspection, etc. A notable feature will be the hot and cold water and individual towel racks in the cloakrooms, with drying rooms off each cloakroom. Ultimately there will be two acres of playing fields.
We have only brief records of these:
1. This was kept by a Miss Frith in Heath Cottage, Heath Road. Our oldest inhabitant, Mrs. G. Smith, went there as a child in the mid-nineteenth century when the fee was 3d. per week.
2. There was another school in Upton Park in the late nineteenth century run by the Misses Roberts.
3. At Stanton House, originally on Dickson's Nurseries (where Bache Drive now stands) there was a boarding school. Headmaster - Mr. Grimes. This was closed about 1918.
4. During World. War II Mrs. A. Shinn kept a small school in Upton Lane.
5. (51)To-day Mrs. Longman has a school at the Firs. Future plans are indicated by the following cutting from the "Cheshire Observer" for 16th June 1951(yet to be added)