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.











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.

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.

Wartime Arlesey Aircraft Crashes and the History of RAF Henlow


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Lockheed Hudson bomber from RAF Tempsford on Stotfold to Arlesey road – crew of 4 killed – 28 Mar 1944;

The aircraft FK767 had left its base at RAF Tempsford on a training flight. There was an officer pilot  ,an officer navigator , and two airgunner sargeants. On operations as well they carried up to 4 agents and desperately needed supplies for the resistance.

  • The Lockheed Hudson was an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft built initially for the Royal Air Force shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and primarily operated by the RAF thereafter. 
  • the lock head Crew
    Lockheed hudson pilots
    credit complied this information
  • RAF Tempsford was used during the war by the SOE (Special Operations Executive). It was from here that underground agents and their supplies were flown, and dropped into enemy occupied Europe. The station was home to “Special Duties” 138 and 161 Squadrons flying Whitley, Hudson, Halifax and Stirling bombers and also Lysanders.Over 80 aircraft were lost from Tempsford during the war, with many of their crews being killed.Gibraltar Farm Barn was built deliberately to look like a normal farm barn to fool German air-reconnaisance was where agents were supplied with their equipment and their poison pills, in case of capture. Today there are moving memorials to individual R.A.F. aircrews and S.O.E. agents inside the barn. Arround the barn memorial trees have been planted by the Czech, Norwegian and Polish underground resistance and others planted in memory of individual aircrews who never came back.Tempsford Airfield is a private airfield and as such not open to the public. Where possible small groups of visitors may be allowed access but only by prior arrangement. Anyone wishing to visit the airfield must telephone 01767 650251 beforehand
  • The Halifax Crash
  • handley-page-halifax-bomber-01
    halifax large halifax
    This sad story happened on Sunday 19th December 1943 at 19.25. They  still had to fly 8 more sorties to finish their year. A Handley Page Halifax BB364 from Squadron 138 at Tempsford had been in the air 1 hour 5 minutes on a practice flight. It was circulating RAF Henlow airfield dropping off containers on paracutes at a height of 40 feet.
    The young Welsh pilot Sargeant Hubert Williams 21 , was from a small village in Carmarthenshire , called Talaris . He clipped the top of a 280 foot brickyard chimney. Flying low and  at night has got to be the most dangerous flying you can do , especially in a Blackout situation. He knew the chimneys were there but wasn’t flying high enough in the dark to clear them . The aircraft was 1 mile from the airfield.  It burst into flames killing all nine on board . The crash scene was just the other side of the Arlesey Common bridge. A neighbour of mine Ray Shiel heard the crash and rushed down there the next morning as soon as it got light.
    The RAF were trying to stop people going there. But being schoolboys they went in the back woods way and took some metal souvenirs. Parts of aircraft were scattered all over the common.The chimney lights were switched off due to Blackout regulations.The experienced pilot had 252 hrs solo experience. 25 hrs on Halifaxs , and 62 hrs night flying experience , 8hrs on Halifaxs. It was a truly British Crew .Today of course this could never have happened , because the chimney would have set of an alarm and been detected.
    One of the propellors of the Halifax was put up on one of the London Brick Walls.What a shame it has disappeared , it could have been on display somewhere in the village.
    They were so young.
    Pilot Sgt                   HuW Williams 21 ,            the Welsh pilot ,
    Air Gunner Sgt         Alexander McIntyre 36 ,    from Glasgow.
    Nav/Bomber Sgt       Joeseph Polland 31,         from Belfast.
    Pilot / Nav Officer     Cyril Wooldridge 32         from Bromley
    Nav Sgt                    Harold Houghton 22         from Horwich , Lancs
    Air Gunner Sgt         Frank Adams 22             from Islington
    Flt Engineer Sgt        Stanley Higham 23         Mawdesley Lancashire
    Air Gunner Sgt         John Mooney 28             Liverpool
    Air Gunner Sgt         Cyril Addison 37             Liverpool

    Role Heavy bomber
    Manufacturer Handley Page
    First flight 25 October 1939
    Introduction 13 November 1940
    Retired 1961 (Pakistani Air Force)
    Primary users Royal Air Force
    Royal Canadian Air Force
    Royal Australian Air Force
    Free French Air Force
    Produced 1940–1945
    Number built 6,178

    These are not the actual crew but other Temsford aircrew that crashed and died that they have photos of. These were obviously colleagues and friends of theirs.

    Tempsford JamesArmour-1 TempsfordJamesArmour-2 Temsford d.w.Thane D W Temsford Helm G V Temsford Tanner T B Temsford Williams E J
    History of RAF Henlow info from Wikipedia
    While I was researching this story I thought I would include raf Henlow as it is very close to Arlesey , and obviously aircraft were always flying over Arlesey, thus making us a target in WW2.

    Henlow was chosen as a military aircraft repair depot in 1917 and was built by MacAlpine during 1917 and 1918. 4 Belfast Hangars were built and are now listed buildings. An additional hangar was added to the inventory in the 1930s and this too is now listed. Originally a repair depot for aircraft from the Western Front, the Station officially opened on 18 May 1918 when Lt Col Robert Francis Stapleton-Cotton arrived with a party of 40 airmen from Farnborough. The parachute testing unit moved The Officers Engineering School moved there in 1927. During the Second World War Henlow was used to assemble the Hawker Hurricanes which had been built at the Hurricane factory operated by Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario, Canada, under the leadership of Elsie MacGill. After test flying in Fort William, they were disassembled and sent to Henlow in shipping containers for reassembly there. Over 1,400 Hurricanes (about 10% of the total) were built by Canadian Car and Foundry. Henlow was also used as a repair base. Hurricane fighters were dismantled there to be shipped to Malta as well. After the war, Henlow became the RAF Signals Engineering Establishment, but was reduced to a Radio Engineering Unit in 1980.

    A major RAF technical training college was also formed at Henlow after the Second World War and this was amalgamated with RAF College Cranwell in 1965. The RAF Officer Cadet Training Unit then moved in, but this also moved to Cranwell in 1980. In 1983, theLand Registry took over part of the site.

    Henlow Camp, a civilian settlement, has grown up around RAF Henlow since the station’s establishment.


    Today, RAF Henlow houses the Joint Arms Control Implementation Group (JACIG), all 3 of the RAF’S Police Wings (including the Tactical Provost Squadron), the RAF Centre for Aviation Medicine (RAF CAM), DE&S, 616 Volunteer Gliding Squadron which operatesVigilant T1 motor gliders and number 1 Military Intelligence Brigade HQ. A civilian flying school also operates from the site.

    Administratively, RAF Henlow was part of a combined base, RAF Brampton Wyton Henlow but this has been disbanded with RAF Brampton being closed.


    Henlow facilities include a Medical and Dental Centre, Officers’ Mess, WOs’ and Sgts’ Mess, Junior Ranks Club – ‘Whittles’, Junior Ranks Mess and Coffee Shop – ‘Crystals’, Welfare housing – ‘Whittle’s Inn’, Gymnasium, Swimming pool, bowling alley, an 8 runway grass airfield and a 9 hole golf course open to the public.


    RAF Henlow is also home to 2482 (Henlow) Sqn Air Training Corps.

11 Closed Arlesey Pubs (20 old Photos)

brick ground hotel_Cosy brickground- hotel

These two are both Brickground Hotel .I Haven’t got them all The Cock ,(Hildons) the stag (Davis Row), the railway inn (Blands or Latimers),the bricklayers arms (Near the True Briton) and the Star, now its an Indian restaurant.

I will add the years wen they opened and shut soon too.

Brickground Hotel   47 Hospital Road.(Mallard)           now a nursey
Cock(hildons)   Hitchin Road.                             still a shop
Bricklayers Arms 1926  hospital rd                                  now a house
Crown 1985 Opened 1863.                            Now a Block of flats
Fountain  20  hitchin rd                                  now a house
Lamb Inn 196?   station rd                                 now   houses 
Prince Of Wales 1999 60 Hitchin Road. Opened 1865.  row of houses
Rose & Crown 1994 200 High Street.                        now a house
Stag 1926 Davis Row. Opened 1868.          now a house
Star 1994 High Street.                              now an indian restaurant
Three Tuns  201? High Street.                              now a house

a pattern is emerging hereCityArms1925

The City Arms this looks very similar to the steam engine but smaller.Same brewery as well.


The Crown


The Fountain

lamb inn (2)

the lamb inn


The Crown                                                                                                                                                                                       ???????????????????????????????

the rose and crown


the Fountain


The Fountain                                                                                                                                                                                  The Lamb Inn

lamb inn (3) Lamb Inn (4) lamb inn before its was rendered old ROSE AND CROWN

The Old Rose and Crown

prince (2)

the prince of wales

Rose and Crown

the old rose and crown                                                                                                    I have had pints in them all that were open  in my drinking lifetime. My favourites were the Brickground , The Three Tons and The Oak. I still use the Oak and the Vicars Inn.

The Old Arlesey Shops (26 old photos)


This shop is still here , and was a Post Office as well until quite recently.

Mr Howell and Joyce Steptoe ran the post office in my day. This is almost opposite the hospital gates.


The Coop butchers is the fine building with the shutters down.Situated in Primrose Lane.It was run by Morriss Kiteley an Arlesey man who was then living in Stotfold.

DSS-D1c-002 this was Freddie Albone’s paper shop in my day , situated on Stotfold road.His daughter Marilyn helped in the shop.She later became our next door neighbour in Davis Row.Notice it is only single storey in this photo.


this was my great grandmother Ellen Dears shop opposite Davis Row and the chemist.I knew it as Japps .In my youth it was Fairfield Garage.It doesn’t look like a garage in this picture.


Duncan Cree’s paper shop.It has just changed ownership and is now a house.


I had my Etonbury bike mended here lots of times , and the Coop Butchers boy bike.The son of the owner was also at etonbury i think a few years older than me , Barry i think. (Hitchin Road ) opposite the old Football club (Lamb Meadow

ATI A2a-004

The first 3 houses in Hitchin rd passed London Row were once shops

ATI-A2a-003 Harry Wrights newspaper shop high street opposite Raj VillaATI-A2a-008 ATI-A2a-030  ATI-A2a-033 ATI-A2a-034 ATI-A2a-035 ATI-A2a-036 ATI-A2a-037 ATI-A2b-001 ATI-A2b-046 ATI-A2b-047 ATI-A2c-001 butchers cart COOP hitchin rd shop

33 Hitchin Road Shop

oRIGANAL rOSE aND cROWN AND the white horse

Kings. Noel used to run this shop .Actually is still there now it is directly opposite the White Horse.