Soudley School (General)

by annie helsdown, Monday, November 12, 2018, 10:40 (606 days ago)

Hello all, I'm hoping you may be able to help. I'm looking at the history of Soudley School and it's first 2 Headmasters, Frederick and Alex Hull.
Firstly, does anyone know where the first Soudley Iron School was located?
Are there any pics of the school from then?
I know that it was extended twice, but does anyone know which part of the school was the original?
Where is the local history centre where i could view original log books etc?
Many thanks

Soudley School

by RogerrGriffiths @, Swindon, Monday, November 12, 2018, 14:41 (606 days ago) @ annie helsdown

Hello Annie,

I'm afraid the person who could best help you passed away earlier this year. There is a Soudley Village School Register of all pupils from 8th August 1880 to 1936. Prior to 1880, the village school was run by a Mrs Davis in a small 'tin' hut. They are quite detailed.

Now, where are the records? First, I would ask Cinderford Library, Local Collection. If not there, they'll tell you where they are.

Added: I have the large scale OS map, revision of 1902, which was used for the Land Tax Act 1910. All properties were given a number. The Mission 4302 is now probably the church. Behind it and to the right is 3645, School. Says Revd. Baldwin, Mission. He was either a curate or incumbent of St Johns, Cinderford.

Soudley School

by annie helsdown, Monday, November 12, 2018, 18:24 (606 days ago) @ RogerrGriffiths

Thank you Roger, off to the library i go then.
I have been able to look through the original log books from it's opening in 1880. These are still held by the school. It is through these that my interest in the two Headmasters has come. Between them they were the Heads for 55 years! Although the school remains small, my grandchildren go there and i want to bring the history back to life for them.
I very much appreciate your advice, thank you

Soudley School

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Monday, November 12, 2018, 20:37 (606 days ago) @ annie helsdown

This is the report of Alex Hull’s retirement. I hope there is some useful information in it.

BNA Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 16 January 1937


Schoolmaster, sportsman, and general factotum of social work in the Soudley Valley. That is Mr. Alex J. E. Hull, who succeeded his father to the headmastership of Soudley Schools in 1905. Now he is retiring.
Mr. Hull had served as an assistant teacher under his father, after two years at Cheltenham Training College. Wolverhampton is his birthplace, and Mrs. Hull is a native of Cinderford. They have two sons and three daughters, but none has followed in the teaching profession.
Mr. Hull has been organist at St. Michael's Church since he was 14, beginning on an old harmonium in a corrugated iron building.
His name is associated with all the organisations that are concerned with the welfare of the people. He has an official capacity in most; he was the instigator of many. Unobtrusive but efficient, he has a genial tolerance and understanding that have gained for him an exceptional degree of affection and respect.
Mr. Hull started the movement in 1906 to get recreation ground in the village. It now controlled jointly with the Memorial Hall, and Mr. Hull is secretary.
He played cricket for St. John's; was secretary seven years, captain two years. Captain of Soudley Cricket Club 25 years, now holds the purse strings as treasurer. He is a governor of Gloucestershire Royal Infirmary, and chairman of Soudley Comrades' Club.

Wounded In France

During the Great War he served for two and a half years with the 14th Gloucester, and was wounded while on active service in France. On New Year's Day, 1935, he received a gold watch from friends at St. Michael's Church. He has also a gold Albert, presented to him by the people of Soudley 23 years ago. “I don't know what was for," he said to a “Citizen" reporter, with a smile.
Mr. Hull has witnessed extraordinary changes in the schools, and in conditions generally. “I remember when there were no decent roads in the village," he said, “and children often lost their shoes in the mud on the way to school. Now most of them come by omnibus.”
“In some ways conditions in the schools themselves have been greatly improved. There is not the old grind that there used be when we were paid by results. Domestic science and handicrafts have made a much broader curriculum.
“Better facilities for getting about have had a definite psychological effect on the people generally, but I have noticed no difference in the intellectual standard of the children.
“In the old days, the harvest thanksgiving, the church anniversary meetings and the annual treat occupied the thoughts the of people for months. There was nothing else beside work."
Mr. and Mrs. Hull are making their new home in London where most of their children are living.

Update. The BNA Gloucester Journal - Saturday 06 March 1937 has a photograph of Alex Hull planting trees in the churchyard at Soudley on the occasion of his retirement.

Soudley School

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 15:35 (604 days ago) @ RogerrGriffiths

Hi Annie,

Ref the aforementioned maps, here are links to the OS maps, all of them can be zoomed-into using your mouse pointer. The links are best opened in a new tab or window.

First is the six inch map of 1878, which shows a small building marked "school" next to the railway line. Judging from the comments above I think is the original "iron" school.

Here is the even larger scale 25 inch map also from 1878, unfortunately for us on this series of maps the schoolbuilding(s) are on the very right-hand edge, but studying the adjoining page shows no sign of any other "school" buildings in 1878.
(adjoining map here )

It appears the nearby building marked Beechwood Lodge on these maps will later become the "school house" - which I guess is the house the master lived-in, and not necessarily a school-room as well ?


On the next edition of maps from 1901, on the six inch map the old ("iron"?) school is now named "mission room", and there is a new "school" building a little to the north, near to what is now called "school house".

Here is the even larger scale 25" map also from 1901, unfortunately for us on this series of maps the schoolbuilding(s) are on the very right-hand edge, but studying the adjoining page shows no sign of any other "school" buildings in 1878.
(adjoining map here )


By the 1924 series of maps, the old "mission room" is now marked as "church" and "St Michael and All Angels Church", in terms of general floorplan the school and school house buildings appear unchanged from before.
Six inch
25 inch


By the 1940s it appears the Church now has it's own Church Hall next to it, and the schoolhouse and school itself appear unchanged from before wrt their same general floorplan.


The excellent British History website has these mentions of Soudley's School and Church.

"A church school for Soudley was opened in 1875 by G. A. Allan, vicar of St. John's, Cinderford. It was a single mixed department in an iron room at Upper Soudley provided by Henry Crawshay and used also for Anglican worship. The school soon closed for lack of pupils, many children continuing to attend a school outside Soudley, but in 1880 it was successfully revived as a board school. In 1885 a brick building was erected north of the iron room and in 1889 the school included an infants' department and had an average attendance of 136. It was enlarged in 1893 and the average attendance was 167 in 1910, falling to 87 in 1938. As Soudley County Primary school it taught 54 children in 1992. The iron schoolroom, which the school board vacated in 1886, was removed before 1920."

"On the east side of the Forest a mission to Soudley was begun from St. John's church, Cinderford, in 1869. The mission, which conducted services in an iron schoolroom in Upper Soudley from 1875, was abandoned temporarily in 1905. In 1909 and 1910 a stone church was built west of the room. Dedicated to St. Michael, it was designed by W. Whitehouse of Cinderford in an early 13th-century style and has a sanctuary, a nave, and a west porch."

I hope this helps clarify things Annie, if only a little.
As you can see, unfortunately the OS maps were not revised between the time the new school was built and it's extension just 8 years later. I suspect the local newspapers would have reported upon these events, I wonder if they might give some clues as to which part is the extension ?. Again a visit to Cinderford library may help, they have the old D. F. Mercury newspapers on microfiche, the BNA site which Mike Pinchin accessed "only" has the Gloucester Citizens.

As well as Cinderford library, I recommend contacting the Heritage Centre, who I'm sure will have more information and maybe even photos.


Gloucester Archives are probably worth a visit. They hold various items relating to Soudley school including Deeds from 1905, and records & class photos of the Wood family who taught there in the 1890s. Enter "Soudley School" in this search page for results.


I've tried the usual websites for photos, but no luck. By my reckoning when comparing to the old maps, the school and church buildings are just clipped out of this view, they are just above the houses on the near right-hand end, on the other side of the railway line.

Good luck !

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