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Plumstead Manor

School History

School History

Built on a site formerly occupied by a cottage, this is an impressive building bordering the Common.

Built in 1913, it sustained bomb damage during World War 2 but was restored to its former elegance. Behind the building are modern extensions added by Powell and Moya in 1973.

The school had the Old Mill (sketch by Ranwell) as its logo. Plumstead Manor School was opened as an eight form entry comprehensive school in 1967, amalgamating 3 schools: Kings Warren Grammar, Waverley school and Church Manorway.

Plumstead Common has been used for schools in our area since the beginning of organised state education in 1870, and even earlier for church-run schools at St Margaret's on the Common. Ancona Road School, as Waverley was originally known, was an elementary school, as was Church Manorway. The log books reveal the elementary curriculum that was taught, along with the early focus at Ancona Road on girls' education; there were always more girls than boys.

Plumstead County School for Girls, which became known as Kings Warren, was opened in the wake of the 1902 Education Act which acknowledged the need for some kind of secondary education for those especially bright people from the elementary school.

The brand new building, opened in 1913, contained every facility for a 'liberal education' for girls and forms the front part of the present day Plumstead Manor. Girls were required to take a test to enter the school and came from a number of elementary schools, in practice one or two from each. Some girls were fee-paying but many were given a free place.

Miss Bartram, the first headmistress, and the other teachers were highly educated in the late 19th century expansion of secondary education for middle-class girls, and the reluctant acceptance by some universities of the right of women to study for degrees.

However, while encouraging a few to the heights of degrees and teaching certificates, the aim of the school was also to provide a practical education for girls so that they could seek employment in commercial and domestic fields. The 6th form was never large in the early days, for example.

Reminiscence reveals that working-class girls were often the first to be given a secondary education in their families, although the girls who came were never from the poorest families. The school began well, although it suffered from falling numbers during the first world war, due to girls leaving to work in the Arsenal.

The 1920s - 1990s