Dean Evans Family History


Little Heath School, Foleshill

The British School

Little Heath School first opened in 1833 as a Sunday School attached to Foleshill Independent Chapel in Church Lane (Old Church Road). It became a "British School" in 1846 and Little Heath Board School in 1887.
In 1889 there were 200 boys and 250 girls and infants on the register.
In 1893 it was rebuilt on a new site east of what became the Congregational Chapel and the original building used as a Sunday School. The School was enlarged in 1950.
Whilst my father was a pupil at the school a new teacher joined the teaching staff by the name of Mary Wiggins. This was on 1 February 1917 and the school register shows that she had been trained and certificated at University College, Reading and she was to teach standards 5, 6 and 7.
On 16 September 1924 "Miss" Wiggins took over leadership of the school from Mr Vickers who left to go to Spon Street School..

My eldest brother, Martin started at Little Heath on 6 November 1944
In December 1948 Mr (Francis) Huxter joined the school from Coventry training college and was to remain there, as the only male teacher, until after I had moved on to Secondary school in 1958
When I started at the school there were 259 pupils on the books. This was September 1952. Miss (Elizabeth) Byrd joined the staff at the same time. I believe that Miss Hardie was my first teacher and I moved down to the "big school" the following year into Miss Bryd's class. My other brother, Keith, had been at school for two years before me and so looked after me. Martin left the term before I started. I escaped being in Mrs Jenkin's class but was fortunate to be in Mr Huxter's class for the last two consecutive years. Being joint woodwork monitor with Eric Shelly was a high point in my junior school life.
Miss Wiggin's left the school on 20 July 1954 after 29 years as head teacher. She was followed by Mrs (Margaret) Turner who proceeded to make significant changes to the running of the school. New equipment, "apparatus" and desks appeared and the side playground was tarmaced.
Painting of the old school by unknown artist. photo supplied by the current headmaster Phil Albans
Eric Shelly and myself were "commissioned" to construct a lectern on which Mrs Turner stood to take prayers in the school hall. The source of the timber was from some of the old desks that languished in the covered area of the front playground. In my final year Miss Davies married and returned to work as Mrs Watts.
I think it was 1966 that the old school premises were closed and a new school built on what we had called "Rouse's Field" over the canal bridge further down Old Church Road and on the corner of Spring Road. At the time I had left King Henry VIII School and, still unsure as to what to do in life, had stated work at Thomas Bates Civil Engineers at Kenilworth. One of the first jobs I was given was working in the joiners shop where we were making prefabricated sections for many of the new schools that were being built in Coventry and Warwickshire at that time. I particularly remember working on the units for the new Little Heath School. If they leaked you can blame me.
The old school main building was taken over by the City Council Building Services Department and remained as such until fairly recently. I was, however, disappointed when, on visiting the area in 2002 to take photographs, I found that the school building had gone and houses had been built in its place.

There was a very large hall with a stage attached to the school room at the "British School" and this was used for many years as a hall for the Congregational Chapel. My mother was a member of the Women's afternoon Guild that met in hall each week. Apart from singing in the choir and being the regular pianist, she was also involved in the "amateur dramatics" that took place for a number of years. My father was usually drawn into this as "Scenery maker" and I remember being back stage on the odd occasion rattling a metal sheet to imitate thunder or generally getting in the way.
When the Congregational Church became unsafe and was demolished the hall was used for church services and today is the Foleshill United Reformed Church.
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