Arlesey County Primary formerly Arlesey Siding School

The information in this blogg has come from the Records Office at County Hall ,Bedford in 1975 , and  Maureen Howell an ex Arlesey Teacher.

I believe this school and the Station were called Arlesey Siding because they donated free bricks for the buildings if they were called after the Brickyard.Later when the brickyard had a change of name and owners they both changed their names.Arlesey Siding station to Three Counties station.When the wooden W.I. was burnt down they definitely this time supplied the bricks for free.I have read that.


In 1870 the Forster Elementary Education Act was passed, and  newly-formed school boards were elected to make attendance at school compulsory for children between the ages of five and thirteen. Forster’s Act had two main aims ‘ to cover the country with good schools and to get the parents to send their children to these schools.


To comply with the Education Act of 1870, elections were held in the small Bedfordshire village of Arlesey to appoint a School Board. The candidates for the election were moderately well-off by current standards and included the vicar of the parish.

The first meeting of the Board was held on June 24th 1874 and a clerk was appointed at a salary of £40 per year. The Board discussed the purchase of land in the village and an advertisement was placed in a national magazine, ‘The Builder’, for architects to submit plans for the new school, which was to accommodate three hundred children.


By March, 1875 tenders had been received from builders ranging from £4,937 to £1,925 The lowest was too low; the builder withdrew his tender as he had forgotten to include the cost of the ironwork! (The only iron railings i can remember were the ones outside the school gates which stopped children from running straight across the road.)The second lowest tender was approved at £2,185 and  a loan of £3,036  was made to the board for building and land.

arlesey primary school houses

TEACHER HOUSING Mr Curran lived in this house , but moved up to Etonbury School we that opened in 1954.

The school, school house and outbuildings were built on land of one acre and sixteen poles in extent, purchased for £325 and situated in the village High Street next to the Three Tunns.

Arlesey primary school outing to st albans 1961

A TEMPORARY CLASSROOM i was taught for 2 years in here. 1960-62 Miss Aaron and Mr Barratt.In this photo is Miss Philips and Mr Barratt.The year above me.Moira (Geekie) Houghton .The clever children my age were moved up to the next class.I can see Ingrid Vinns , Brenda Rumbold , Roger Wiltshire ,and Gillian Steptoe.Sorry if I have failed to recognise anyone.

Arlesey Primary-School 1977

Carol Lombari was expecting our son Paul in 1977.The school was demolished soon after , hence me taking the photo.

back of old school


Although it was a nice new school , it wasn’t a pleasant experience.They had next to no heating ,equipment or books .The first headmaster of the school was paid a salary of £85 per annum and the use of the school house and free coal. The Board expected the services of his wife to be provided without salary.

The new school opened on September 4th 1876.Approximately one hundred boys, sixty girls and sixty three infants attended during the first few days. The register would have recorded higher figures on the roll but attendances during the first few years seldom rose above eighty per cent.



The School Board exercised their powers requiring all children over 5 and under twelve years old to attend school unless the child has passed the third standard. In that case the child was exempt from attending school.


This was built in 1861 and was run by the Church of England.Not all the children of the village were to attend the new school. The distribution was decided as follows: “Girls and Infants north of St. Peter’s School (Old Church School taken over by the Board in 1875).,would go to this old school and  All boys, no matter where they lived and girls and infants south of St Peters School were to go to the new school.

Arlesey sportsday 1962

Mr A.J.Appleby was the headmaster of the Junior school when I went there 1958-62.Mrs Edgell the vicar’s wife was presenting Kaye Johnson and Me the Sports Day Cup.

Arlesey reverend bevan open air service 1935 king georgre v silver jubilee

Reverend Bevan holding an outdoor service on King George V ‘s Silver Jubilee Day.Oh yeah the iron railing they were talking about.

The school, typical of the age and area, was built of white and red brick and slate.  It was comprised of three classrooms, two of which were 40′ x 20′ and the third, 60’x 20’


There were two earth playgrounds, one at the front of the building for the boys and one at the rear for the girls and infants. In the corner of each playground was a row of lavatories hidden behind a corrugated iron screen.

That were usual for a country village. They were the bucket-type lavatories, with a plank of wood with a hole in it on top for the seat. The buckets were emptied by the night soil collector who came with his horse and cart every night. It would appear that these were still in use until the 1920’s .

Just four weeks after the opening of the new school, the headmaster was rebuked by the Board for ordering books to the value of £20.4.7 (£20.23) without permission.  The initial order list, which included 36 bibles, 1 gross copy books, 1,000 slate Pencils, 1 gallon Ink and 50 Royal Readers.


Within four years a teacher was informing the Board of over-crowding and that with over one hundred children in one room, another must be built. It was  resolved by turning  the Infants lobby, which was unused, into another class room for the boys.

This seems to have relieved the pressure on the space for a time.  Nine years later estimates were approved to build a new classroom to accommodate sixty girls. Further building took place and the school was closed for nine days as work on two new classrooms was begun on March 9th 1895.


In the early days of the school there were numerous complaints of dirty rooms and Mr. H was appointed to sweep out the rooms daily, for which he was paid two shillings a week. It was not until the end of each term that the rooms were washed and cleaned thoroughly.


The school was originally lit by oil lamps and in 1905 gas lighting was installed was after a tender for £18 was accepted by the County Council. The installation of a mains water supply was also undertaken  in 1906. The Gas lighting was replaced by electricity in 1933.


Heating of the classroom was not adequate. On e coal fire at the end of each room barely took the chill from the air. One teacher reports that the children were brought to the fire in groups to give them a little relief from the cold. Eight inches of snow and a severe shortage of coal resulted in the closing of the school for short periods from February to May 1919.  When opened, attendances were recorded of one hundred and ten children out of two hundred and fifty on the register. Owing to the low temperature in the classrooms (38 ̊ F. to 44 ̊ F.), when the children did attend, the normal timetable “was not adhered to and lessons requiring movement was the order of the day. In 1930 the heating of the school was modernised and central heating was installed. The mud playgrounds were tarmaced in 1910.


So the board got them a gramophone. There was no piano until.1923 when the school raised £23 by having a concert and were able to buy one themselves.


A layout of the school , notice all the temporary class rooms.I believe that is why a new school was built.There were more temporary class rooms than brick ones.


Sending your children to school wasn’t actually free. It cost  the parents 2p per child per week to attend school.If it wasn’t paid the children were sent home.This was half the running costs.The rest of the money was obtained by a government grant.

Canteen built wasn’t until 1948 when school dinners were introduced to make sure all children had at least one hot meal a day.It was said you needed to be fed to be able to learn properly.











Some Photos of Olympic team GB Heroes 2016

adam peaty

Adam Peaty 50 metres breaststroke

bradley wiggins

Bradley Wiggins

bryony page

Trampoline gold medalist

charlotee dujardin

chris mears jack laughter



First Womens Hammer medal (bronze)

jade jones

Taekwondo gold

jade jones1

Welsh taekwondo gold and world champion

jessica ennis

Jessica Ennis pentathlete silver medal

katherine grainger


ladies rowing


ladies team pursuit

most decorated olympian Laura Trott

laura trott

Laura’s gold medalist partner Jason Kenny

laura trott1mark cavendish

Mark Cavendish’s first olympic medal

max whitlock

Max Whitlock

max whitlock1mo farrah

Mo Farrah double double olympian 5,000 and 10,000 metres

rebecca james and katy marchant

Rebecca James

show jumpingwomen's hockey team

Glorious Womens Hockey team

A Very Special Man Reverend James Beavan

Reverend Bevan

CCAW-C3b-018   Rev-Bevan circa 1947

Reverend Beavan marrying dad’s sergeant Raffaelo Buonogorio to Cynthia Musk both were prisoners of War in the Arlesey Camp.

When I was down the churchyard tidying up the families graves I saw Patsy Hare (maiden name).

She used to live diagonally opposite me in Lynton Ave. We lived at No 10 for fourteen years. Mrs Morgan a mutual friend lived on the corner the other side of the road to us. We talked about the old days. Patsy showed me where Mrs Morgan’s grave was , and she said that unmarked grave next to hers is the Reverend Bevan. She said he never wanted his grave marked , well I was worried that the plot might get re-used.

MUM & DAD WEDDING mrs morgan

Mrs Morgan holding the girl

The Reverend Bevan helped my dad come back to his fiancée (my mum) after the war In 1948. In those days it was very difficult to come to England. You had to have a job , somewhere to live , and a professional person to pay to send you home if you could no longer support yourself. Mrs Annie Morgan was the live-in vicars house keeper , and was married to Joe Morgan an ex miner from Durham, but very close to the vicar. She even inherited all his beautiful furniture when he died. Then Mrs Morgan retired ,and she got a council house near us and we stayed good friends with her. She even used to look after me sometimes.


the Old Vicarage why was it pulled down? it was much more attractive than the new one. Notice it has 3 floors.

Reverend Bevan got my dad a job at City Field farm working for farmer Rawlins. He also let my dad lodge at the Old vicarage for 6 weeks before he got married and helped my mum with the paperwork to bring him back to England. The vicar married them and let them have the reception at the Old St Peters Church Hall (now owned by the PIANO man).

CCAW-C3b-015     St Peters School when used as church hall

St Peters Church Hall


Rev Beavan taking the Silver Jubilee Open Air service at Arlesey Primary School in the Thirties.

Rightly or wrongly I made a cross out of some Mahogany and fitted a Brass Plate the I had inscribed.

reverend beavan's grave

See the small cross bottom right

Every week I go to cut the grass round the family graves , I always check to make sure Reverend Beavan’s cross is still there

The Band Of Hope Parade Through Arlesey and Other Old Photos (16 old Photos)

10-the-gardens-henlow-5-bells-car-park bedfordshire_regiment_cap_badge cementworks first-arlesey-team medal roll card  old-vicarage ranji  Three counties farmers1 youngherbertI assume this Band of Hope  parade 1915 was organised to try and lift spirits during the First World War.The parade started at Newtown Arlesey and they marched to Bury Meadow where they had organised a Fete with various displays.

CCAW-C3e-004 CCAW-C4e-002 DSS-D2a-075 DSS-D2a-078 DSS-D2a-079 DSS-D2a-080 DSS-D2a-081

There are two photos of the Firemen probably employed by Three Counties Asylum.

Don’t just love the frilly clothes from that era. Notice the shoes are very substantial.

The girls wore pineys to keep their clothes clean , and the men’s straw boater hats made in Luton ,or they wore cloth caps.Most of the men wore hats.

Horses and bikes were the main source of transport if you were well off , otherwise Shankseys pony was the order of the day.

I am Going to IMPROVE Arlesey Lake for the people of Arlesey.”Councillor Beatham” 9 old photos of Arlesey Lake


The reality of what actually happened…..

He stopped locals walking up there , built two houses up there , builders waste was then dumped in the Lake until it was almost completely filled in.

I am NOT a Fisherman but would like to Conserve Arlesey as it is. I am a member of the Arlesey Town Council Archive Group but I am not speaking for them.My gran and grandad were walking round the lake from 1937 when they first moved from the Brickyard foremans house to 2, St Peters Ave.They took me up their as a 4 year old in 1956. My son went round there until he was a teenager in the late 1980’s. So my family walked round the lake from 1937-1987 , 50 years.

anne francis lake

Three members of our Allen family Ron , Mick ,and Jim , and Richard and Ann Francis playing up the Lake.

david beatham

Twenty Years Ago on 4th March 1994 an article was printed in the BIGGLESWADE CHRONICLE with a photo of the Etonbury Farm Conservation Area sign. The fishermen were concerned the Lake was being destroyed forever.

The 8 Acre Arlesey Lake was one of Fishermans most historic waters.

ex Arlesey Councillor David Beatham even put up this sign Etonbury Farm Conservation Landfill Site

Arlesey Etonbury farm

The late record breaking local fisherman Dick Walker patented the Arlesey Bomb here , and this was a huge step forward for the sport.

Many fishermen look on it as a bit of a shrine to Dick Walker.

Beds County Council gave the owner David Beatham Planning Permision to partial fill in the Lake in1989. Work started in 1991 and by 1994 when finished half a million cubic metres of builders debri will have been tipped into it , allegedly to make it shallower and better for the spawning of the fish. Dumping all that rubbish in there though was killing the fish. Conservation Area Sign?the fish were being killed.

The owner David Beatham said he had done nothing wrong and has only the future of the Lake at heart. He said he had taken advice from the RSPB and Anglia Water and wanted to improve it and turn it into a much more natural Lake.

He went on to say the fish and the environment will benefit.

I hear there is no fishing up there now and its only about 4 feet deep , and people have been stopped from walking around there.

Strange I have another Biggleswade Chronicle article dated 21 October 1994 which says he only had permission to dump 300,000 cubic metres of harmless waste. By the time councillor Beatham’s permit ran out he had only dumped 250,000 cubic metres.

The fishermen protested and lobbied Mid Beds County council not to extend his permit but they lost and he was given permission to dump another 100,000 cubic metres.

That was a huge blow to the fishermen across the UK.

The dumping scheme allegedly had the support of RSPB , Anglia Water , and Mid Beds County Council. For what that was worth , in my opinion clauses should have been put into the agreement.

Arlesey Etonbury farm work is ruining lake Arlesey Etonbury farm more waste

A farmer is facing the prospect of demolishing a house he built without planning permission.

This week Wheelform Properties’ directors Mr and Mrs David Beatham of Etonbury Farm, Stotfold Road, Arlesey, asked Mr Justice Cranston in the High Court to quash a Government planning inspector’s decision that his farm manager’s house must go.

Mr Beatham, owner of a pig farm, had claimed the building was vital for a farm manager to keep an eye on livestock.

But Mr Justice Cranston disagreed saying the inspector’s decision should stand, adding: “The relatively routine work does not in my mind require workers to be readily available at most times, or on hand day and night.”

The judge also said that should any emergencies arise, Lake House, where the Beathams live, was close enough to the pig sheds for any disturbance to be noticed and concluded that a farm worker living in Arlesey would be able to provide essential care for animals at a reasonably short notice.

Wheelform argued that the inspector’s report was unreasonable.

The court heard Mr Beatham had started building the property in 2005 pending completion of his own intended home Lake House, set in about three acres with its own drive and looking out over landscaped lakes and surrounded by the 22 hectare farm.

The farm also had a mobile home for its resident stockman since 1993 and in October 2004 Mid Beds District Council (MBDC) indicated it would be prepared to grant planning permission for its replacement with a farm manager’s house if Wheelform met certain obligations.

The court was told that the obligations were not met and planning permission was later refused.

But the house was substantially completed, apart from external cladding of the upper floor and the Beathams moved into the house in 2005 while Lake House continued to be built.

In November 2005, Wheelform made a retrospective application for planning permission but this was also refused and MBDC issued an enforcement notice requiring the house to be demolished.

Mr Beatham said this week after the High Court decision: “I feel I have had a raw deal and now we have lost this appeal we might have reached the end of the road and the house might have to come down.

“This whole business has cost me many thousands of pounds and it has caused a great deal of stress and strain on me and my family.

dove lakehouse

LAKE 2009

FILLED UP SO MUCH it is now a series of little islands

arlesey lake part filled in

the lake with roger and Bob Arlesey lake1

Roger my brother up the lake in the 50’s

Even my late sister  Maria even went for walks up the lake when she was heavily pregnant in the 1970’s

It must b gut wrenching tho to go thro all the emotions of a build , and the stress ,after having 3 extensions done , and extortionate expense.Always a lot more than you have budgeted for , then to have to lay out more money to have it demolished. I am not completely heartless , BUT AGREED WITH CENTRAL BEDS! The house had to come down.

40 Old Photos of Arlesey Fetes 195? , 1981, 1986 , 2012


The late Nick Daniels when he was Mare rest in peace. And a man with a very good voice on the left lol


the calm after the altercation with Ian Dalgarno. Which I regretted after the red mist had settled. Yet the burger was good lol


Susan Edwards (the ex vicar of Arlesey) who we personally got on very well , she did my mum and dads funerals very well.

DSS-D2a-005DSS-D2a-004carnival queen

Our second cousin on my mum Alma Allen’s side of the family.

conservative feteDSS-D2a-001DSS-D2a-002DSS-D2a-003arlesey feteDSS-D2a-0071011078_647836311953339_1093891105_n

Brass band at fete


The Arlesey Guides in the 80’s


Lots of floats in the Fete


Would Health and Safety allow kids on the back of Lorries and Tractor and Trailers


Fancy Dress Contest


Arlesey Princess Caron Heudebourck


Mrs Hayes I believe


Dog Show


Arlesey Brownies . My two nieces Lisa and Caron Heudebourck
















Sheila Oakley donated this Collection of Arlesey 80’s Photos to Arlesey TC Archive scanned by clive lombari

arlesey 80's flood

The Car is approaching Arlesey Carpets drive

Arlesey Biggs Butchers

Biggs butchers Angela Bigg was in my class at Etonbury , i believe the butchers had a racehorse as well.John Hayes reminded me the horse’s name was Oxo .I remember now lots of Arlesey people having a flutter on it when it ran.

 Arlesey Cosy Cinema

A nice colour photo of the Cosy cinema , Nipper Dalton’s mum used to run it.

Arlesey Goodwins bakers

Peter Goodwins Bakery I believe he had a skip hire business as well. it would be good to have a bakery in the village like Stotfold has Ashwell Bakery.

Arlesey Hildons butchers

I remember my Mr Hildon senior mainly , and going in there with my mum. He stocked stuff for the Hospital road Italians as well.

Arlesey Lamb Meadow

Lamb Meadow I remember playing there for the under sixteens, and there was a very large crowd against a much fancied Hitchin Argonauts.I think we drew 1-1.

Arlesey Three Counties Firemans helmets

Three Counties Firemans helmets .I think the Fairfield hospital huts are in the background.

Arlesey W.I. Fire

W.I. being refurbished after the fire.What caused the fire? I bet the Insurance company would have tried hard getting out of paying for it today. Slightest thing and they don’t payout.The womens institute was built out of wood in 1918. It was used as a cinema until the Cosy opened in 1920. Later on London Brick Company donated all the bricks needed to rebuild it because even when i was a boy in the sixties it was also the village hALL.

Arlesey W.I. no roof

The Womens Institute was first made out of wood . It was used as a cinema to start with .  London Brick donated the bricks for the building so it could be rebuilt .New roof going on the W.I. parking was bad there then as well.Arlesey Women’s Institute Hall re-opened on the 29th October two years after being gutted by fire on 15th April 1981, the cost of restoration and rebuilding being around £24,000.

Biggs Butchers Arlesey1

I wonder why the double window was bricked up.Did Mr Biggs own the slaughterhouse as well ?

Grimes Cottage Arlesey with railway stuff

Grimes cottage with the railway memorabilia.Shame it was taken down i always used to look at it. Lyn lives there now I believe.

The star pub arlesey and Karl's Franklon's cottage

What a lovely little cottage shame it was demolished and not refurbished.

Even though Karl Franklin it was always cold even with a roaring fire. I remember a row of cottages behind there with an outside tap for the tenants.