For most people, until the end of the 19th century, school was a luxury they could not afford. Children in most families worked with their parents as soon as they were old enough. In Castle Bromwich this usually meant working on a farm.
Remember: Castle Bromwich included Hodge Hill, Bromford, Bucklands End, Shard End and Castle Bromwich all the way up to Smiths Wood.
To see the ancient manor of Castle Bromwich on a modern map, click the map to enlarge it.
Until the 1930s all of this area was countryside.
The village church school was the ancestor of St Mary & St Margaret's school.
It is not known when it was first set up, but there was certainly a school in Castle Bromwich in 1656. Classes may have been held in the old church.
William Sadler was one of the trustees who looked after money left in the will of Margaret Butler who had died in 1661. The money was to care for the poor people of the parish. In 1703 William Sadler used some of the money to buy a cottage in School Lane to be used as a free school and house for the schoolmaster.
The school taught 10 poor children from Castle Bromwich at no cost to their parents. The children were to be boys, but if they were not enough boys, then girls would be allowed.
In 1711 Dame Mary Bridgeman, the wife of Sir John Bridgeman of Castle Bromwich Hall, also left money to buy books for the poor children or to find them apprenticeships 'to prepare them to get an honest livelihood.'
Henry Townsend was appointed as the schoolmaster in 1798. He was paid £25 a year, a good wage in those days. He taught the 'free' children but also took in boarders who paid him for their schooling. At one time he had as many as 50 boys staying at the house.
In 1826 James Barnes was the schoolmaster here; he was paid £60 a year for teaching the children reading, writing and accounts. He was well-loved by the pupils who called his wife 'Mamma Barnes'.
At this time less than 200 people lived in the whole manor of Castle Bromwich.
A new church school was built in 1879 on Castle Bromwich Green. There were four classrooms. However, by 1956, as the population of Castle Bromwich began to grow, the school had over 150 children on roll. The school used the Victory Hall next door as an extra classroom and also the Methodist church in School Lane.
In 1965 the old school closed and the present one was built in Southfield Avenue on the Hall housing estate which had just been built.
Left: Schoolmistress Sarah Humphriss c1850 - photograph courtesy of Colin Green.
Below left: Class 1 at St Mary & St Margaret's School - photograph courtesy of Derek Dodd.
Below right: Class II at the old church school 1921 - photograph courtesy of Terrie Knibb.
Much of the following schools' information is out of date. Can you help us update it?
Have we missed any schools out? (The schools are listed in chronological order.)
Castle Bromwich Church of England School/ now St Mary & St Margaret's School opened in 1703- See the section above.
Stechford Road Council School, Hodge Hill opened in 1936 in temporary buildings with accommodation for just 96 juniors and infants. A permanent building was opened the following year with room for 288 children; the school was extended in 1943.
The name was changed to Hodge Hill County Primary School in 1954 because of confusion with the school in Albert Road, Stechford.
The school has been rebuilt and is now known as Colebourne School because of confusion with Hodge Hill School (which used to be known as Bromford School).
Castle Bromwich Council School, Hurst Lane North. The school opened in 1939 with 66 children on roll under headteacher Miss Olive Bott. It was usually referred to as Bentley Road School. At this time the school catered for children up to 15 years old. When Park Hall School opened in 1951 this school became a primary school, Castle Bromwich County Mixed Junior and Infants School. This school became Castle Bromwich Junior School in 1956 when a separate infant school, Whateley Infant School opened on the same site (See below). See the school's website - Castle Bromwich Junior School.
The Heathlands County Primary School, Castle Bromwich was opened in 1950 for juniors and infants. Some children were taught in Hodge Hill Gospel Church in Bucklands End Lane in 1952.
Castle Bromwich Park Hall Secondary Modern School (this was its original name) opened in 1951 with 309 children on roll and 10 members of staff. For two years it was co-educational until the girls’ building opened in 1953. George Waite was the first headmaster.
When the girls’ school opened in 1953 the schools were known as the Park Hall Boys’ School and Park Hall Girls’ School. The school leaving age was 15 until 1968 when it was raised to 16. In November 2008 Park Hall School moved into a new building and became Park Hall Academy with over 1000 pupils and 76 members of staff. The school leaving age is now 18.
Bromford County Primary School, Hodge Hill opened in 1951 for infants; 2 classes of juniors used the hall of St Philip & St James' church and Madison Hall, Hodge Hill until 1954 when the junior block opened.
This is now called Hodge Hill Primary School.
Brownmead County Primary School, Shard End opened in 1952 in Castle Bromwich Methodist Church with 2 classes of infants. Rooms were also used in the old Sir Josiah Mason's Orphanage School in 1953–1954 for juniors and infants; buses must have been provided because the school was in Orphanage Road at the Yenton over 4 miles away. Brownmead school buildings opened 1954 serving the new Shard End estate which was till being built at the time.
Timberley Primary School was opened in 1952 to cater for the increasing number of children from young families on the Shard End estate. See the school's website for memories of the 1960s - Timberley Academy.
Hillstone County Primary School, Hillstone Road, Shard End opened in 1953 for juniors and infants. It was enlarged in 1953-1954.
Alderlea County Modern School (closed) in Alderpits Road, Shard End was a secondary school serving the new Shard End estate. It opened in 1954 catering for boys aged 11-15. The school was reorganized in 1956 for boys when Longmeadow Girls' County Modern School opened. Alderlea was closed in 1986 and houses have since been built on the site.
Guardian Angels RC Primary School, Hurst Lane, Shard End opened in 1955 for juniors and infants.
In 1956 Whateley Infant School opened as a separate school on the same site as Castle Bromwich Junior School. As the latter grew, a new infant school building was opened on Lanchester Way at the rear of Park Hall Secondary School. It later became a primary school. This closed in the late 1970s when the present Castle Bromwich Infant School opened at the corner of Green Lane and Hurst Lane North.
Longmeadow Girls' County Modern School (closed), Longmeadow Crescent, Shard End was was a secondary school serving the new Shard End estate. It opened in 1956 for 800 secondary girls; Alderlea then became a boys' school. Longmeadow closed in 1986 and houses have since been built on the site.
The Firs County Primary School, Dreghorn Road was opened in 1956 for juniors and infants. Separate junior and infant schools were created in 1960.
Hodge Hill County Grammar School for Girls, Bromford Road was opened in 1957 for 650 pupils. It is now called Hodge Hill Girls' School.
Hodge Hill County Modern School, Bromford Road opened in 1958 as a mixed school next door to the girls' grammar school. It is now known as Hodge Hill College.
St Wilfrid's RC Primary School opened as a one-form entry school in 1959 in Shawsdale Road on the Firs estate.
Tame Valley Junior & Infant School, Chillinghorne Road opened about 1964 when the Bromford estate was being built.
'A History of Castle Bromwich for Young People' written by William Dargue 2016 for the Castle Bromwich Bellringers.
We’ve been ringing here for 500 years and are keen to involve local people in our ancient art. Contact us via our church website, if you want learn to ring or visit the tower or have one of us talk to your group about the history of Castle Bromwich, our church or bellringing. Material on this site may be reused only for non-commercial purposes providing appropriate attribution is given (Creative Commons Licence Attribution NonCommercial 4.0) - details on the Contact page.