know from church records that there were 'dame schools' in the village:
Extract from Visitation
Return, 1843 (now held at Norfolk Record Office):
9. Is there a day school, and how
supported? Two dame schools supported by weekly payments of the children
10. What is the
average number of scholars? About 50
11. Is it in
union with the National Society? No
White's Directory of Norfolk, 1845, Mark
Bean Petchell is listed as 'Schoolmaster & Registrar'. Even before then,
deeds of the house on the Common now called 'Carpenters'
lists a schoolmaster as resident.
entry in White's Directory of 1883 states that a house was built on the Rich
Charity land in 1829 and used as a school, but was pulled down in 1865 (i.e.
when the new school was built) and the land is 'now let as a garden' (probably the current Rich's Trust allotment land).
old school at the bottom of the common appears to be built on former Common
land. It has one large square room with a chimney for a stove, a tiny entry
lobby, and at the side is a manger and hitching rail for a horse. In the early
years of the twentieth century it belonged to John Henry Steward Esq., who as Lord of the Manor was owner of the Common. In
1915 it was let to the wheelwright at the Tradesman's
Arms opposite for use as a paint shop where carriages and carts
could be decorated.
was part of the of the great sale of the East Carleton Manor Estate in 1920,
and the description here is the only documentary evidence that it was a school:
LOT 21: The Old
Mulbarton School (now used as a Paint Shop), situated at the junction of the
roads from Mulbarton and Bracon Ash, and being a weather-board and tiled
building with flagged floor. Lean-to Cart Shed attached. The estimated area is
4 poles .... Let to Mr. F Swain on a yearly tenancy at £3 pa.
It seems that Mr Swain, wheelwright and publican, bought the freehold and continued to use it for his business.
THE 'NATIONAL' SCHOOL
In the early 1860s, the Rector of Mulbarton
negotiated with the Lord of the Manor to enclose some Common land on the east
side of the Common to build a more modern school. 'Specifications of Sundry
Artificer's Work required to be done in the Erection of a Village School at Mulbarton
for the Rev. R.G. Lucas' were drawn up by the architect R.M. Phipson of Surrey
Street, Norwich in March 1864. The plans can be seen in the Norfolk Record Office (PD494/21).
The National School (the 'old school' - now the dental surgery) was opened in 1865. It was a very simple design - one large room and no School House. This proved to be a deterrant to getting and keeping Head Teachers - they had to find their own accommodation (one is recorded as living with the local 'rat-catcher'!) and travel to work, and they had to teach all ages in one room. In 1876, a 2nd small classroom was added at the back for the Infants and a porch at the front to 'improve' this Victorian school (NRO plans PD494/22 & 23). It was not until 1900-01 that a School House was built for Mr & Mrs Simmonds. Use these links for information from the school log-book.