Brookland School, Cheshunt

Fiftieth anniversary

By Nicholas Blatchley

School, main entrance
Brookland School
School Badge and details
Brookland School

Brookland School , Cheshunt , is this year celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, having been opened in 1960.  

Built in conjunction with the housing development between Mill Lane and Cadmore Lane , centred on Elm Drive , the school’s design was described at the time as a “controlled” experiment.  Though built to the pattern of earlier prefabricated schools in the area, such as Burleigh, Brookland was constructed with traditional techniques, and is spacious both indoors and outdoors.  The combination was the first in the county, and was featured in both Ideal Home Magazine and the Architects’ Journal in 1961.  

The school was named after Samuel Brookland, a local baker and philanthropist who died in 1799.  During his lifetime, he provided the inmates of the local workhouse with bread, tea, tobacco and snuff, and in 1794 established an annuity to the workhouse of £3.10s (£3.50p in modern money, but worth a considerable sum in the 18th century).  His bakery stood on the junction of Cheshunt High Street and Cadmore Lane , until its demolition in the early 1960s, at which time it was called Moorfields.  

The school opened with 67 pupils under the headship of Mr Stafford Young, who remained in charge for the next twenty years.  For the first five years, Brookland operated as a combined junior and infant school, after which a separate but linked infant school was opened.  

A competition was held for the design of a school badge, and the winning design, created by Kevin Smith, is still in use today (pictured).   

As it celebrates its first fifty years with a series of events, Brookland School is thriving under Mrs Val Foley’s headship, with 240 pupils attending.      

This page was added on 20/10/2010.

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  • I also went to brooklands junior school (from 1968-71)when Mr Young was headmaster. I never knew or even imagined he had a first name!Mr Watkins(4th year teacher) gave boys the slipper. Only if you were incredibly bad did you have to visit Mr Young’s office (where I was told you got the cane)but I don’t remember anyone I knew ever having to.
    What a brilliant school it was:the amazing yearly PTA panto organised by the incomparable Miss Tiley;fantastic school trips to Dorset,Cuffley camp and Belgium and Holland;unusual class pets(in Mr Carbutt’s class we had an axolotl which we fed with raw horse meat on a prong in
    case it bit your finger off);delicious school dinners(except for when that one mean dinner lady insisted on stirring the skin into the custard);a massive school field with grass snakes in the pile of dead grass right at the far corner.
    I can’t remember any details of what we learnt (except doing a times table game)but l looked forward to going to school every single day,even on the days when we went to Turnford School to go swimming which was my least favourite lesson.

    By Kim Page née de Silva (10/11/2020)
  • I joined Brooklands Infant school in September of 1976, as a ‘lower infant’. There were 3 tiers of infant school, progressing to ‘middle infant’ in your 2nd year, and ‘upper infant’ in your final year, before moving over to the junior school next door. I only remember the odd image and face of these 3 years, including an awful one of standing on the stage dressed as a shepherd in the Christmas nativity play. Still haunts me to this day. I also remember the very pretty face of our class teacher in the final year as an ‘upper infant’, although I forget her name. I am certain though, she was newly (or new’ish anyway) qualified as a teacher, as she was only in her 20s at the time. It’s amazing to think that somewhere in the world, right now, is a woman in her 60s close to retirement (if not already so) that used to be THAT pretty young teacher in 1978, just starting out on her teaching career. As for the junior school.. Well, I started in 1979. The last year of Mr Young’s leadership as Headmaster. My first form teacher was Miss Jefferies. I say ‘miss’ – we all called a teacher ‘miss’ in those days, whether, married or otherwise.. She was lovely though. Brilliant teacher as I recall. Corporal punishment was alive and well in those days, with Mr Young famously (or infamously?) known for dishing out the slipper if you were a bad boy. But not if you were a girl, as lines were thought more appropriate for girls. Shameful inequality, or what? lol. Mr Stevens arrived in August of 1980 as the new head. I always remember him turning up in his brand new Talbot Alpine hatchback, with him telling a morning assembly that ‘if we work hard, then one day we might have a new Talbot like him’. Riiight… 😉 He was known to spank pupils until the new govt. guidelines were introduced in the early 80s, banning corporal punishment. I know my mum was happier when this happened, as I remember clearly the discussion at home around this time. Mrs Saywood, Miss Teisser, and Mrs Payne were my form teachers in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year. My final enduring, and perhaps, happiest memory, is of the 4th year trip to the Isle of White. A week at the Skelmorley Hotel in Ventnor. Sadly, the hotel is no longer there, as it’s now a private house I believe. I can still smell the breakfast and dinner being cooked to this day. Black Gang Chine amusement park was still there in 1983. Sadly, this fun park (of which I still have photographs) is long gone now, lost to the sea after years of erosion. One of my photographs shows a path fenced off on one side of the park, as sea erosion was starting to approach at that time. I guess it was deemed dangerous in case the cliff crumbled and took some path with it. Incredibly, the erosion grew in speed to about 6 metres annually – and took the entire park with it by the end of the 1990s. Very sad. In all, 4 very happy years at a brilliant school. Long may it continue to do well, and grow.

    By Russ Boys (23/01/2014)