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John Taylor, in association with the Bletchley Community Initiative, takes a look at educational life in
Fenny Stratford in 1891 as well as a delve into religious activities in the late 19th century.

Education 1891
Education was becoming more important towards the end of the 19th
century, leading to the building of schools such as these in Bletchley

Sunday Citizen March 24, 2002

School Boards, elected from local citizens of a suitable standing, pioneered the paths of learning in Fenny Stratford.

However one of the Fenny Stratford members, Mr Eaton, was soon to leave, having been promoted to a position in connection with the LNWR, at Northampton.

But a goodly number of the pupils hardly bothered to turn up for lessons at all. So much so that the harassed Mr Thomas, the attendance officer, demanded an increase in his salary, which he swiftly and sympathetically received!

Hopefully the truants would now be hauled in to face the music, possibly played on the new school piano, donated by Mr H Leon after a request from the governess to the School Board for a musical instrument had been turned down.

As a measure to help ensure their prosperous future the pupils were provided with a Savings Bank - open every Monday from 5am until 5pm so they could deposit their money with Post Office Savings books supplied free of charge.

This was an age that allowed the meting out of physical punishment by teachers - although not perhaps by horses, as was the unfortunate incidence with one young lad. Leaving school one Friday he was knocked down by a horse which kicked him in the head.

Then established for 10 and a half years, no horsing around was allowed at Dunmore College.

Now plans were in hand for a 'handsome New College' in Bletchley Road. With the plans accepted, construction began. Containing 21 rooms the building was scheduled to open at Christmas.

Nothing as tangible became evident for the proposed Science and Art Institute at Fenny. however, the plans for which never progressed beyond the discussion stage.

Educationally more modest was the school newly established in Bletchley by Mrs Kemp at which, in varied entertainments, she performed recitations and gave piano recitals.

Recitals were also in mind for the Primitive Methodists, who were hoping to raise enough money to replace their harmonium with a new American organ. There was the slight matter of £63, outstanding on their chapel in Albert Street. To clear this debt they made preparations to hold a bazaar.

They hoped to build larger premises and this also was the intention of the Baptists who had plans prepared, including a provision for re-burials, since the new building would cover the existing vaults.


With the plans for the chapel approved, the building committee then invited tenders and in reply received bids from as far afield as St Neots and Grimsby Elsewhere in Fenny the Salvation Army was packing a punch by inviting the converted prizefighter, Billy McLeod, to come and address large numbers at their barracks.

At the Vicarage the 'Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts' held an open air gathering for the promotion of their cause.