OF ALL THE Victorian schools in Romsey, only one continues to exist and that is Romsey Abbey School in Church Lane.

In 1851 it was intended to provide a Church of England mixed infants school, but the vicar, Canon Gerard Noel, provided an additional £400 and the new building was extended to provide for girls.

From the late 18th century girls were educated at Lady Palmerston’s Industrial School where they received basic reading and writing and much practical education, such as sewing and other domestic skills.

This school had been founded by the wife of the second Lord Palmerston who died in 1804 and in her memory, her son, the third viscount whose statue is in the Market Place, continued to fund the school.

After the new school was built, Lady Palmerston’s Industrial School closed and the funds were used for scholarship provision for deserving older girls.

These two schools, situated in one building, and two for boys in Middlebridge Street were Anglican so taught Church of England doctrine, including the catechism.

This was unacceptable to those of other denominations so in 1846 the non-Conformists had set up 3 schools called British Schools in Winchester Road which were non-denominational.

These three schools were for girls, boys and mixed infants, each with their own head teacher, although all in one building.

Their old school is now apartments that are called English Court.

The local historians have a selection of pictures of children at our schools, although we always welcome more.

Phoebe Merrick