Record Details

NHER Number:2934
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of County School, later Watts Naval Training School

Summary

This building was constructed in 1873 as the Norfolk County School but was closed in 1895. It was bought by Edmund Watts for Dr Barnardo and the buildings were converted and became the Watts Naval Training School. Many boys from Barnardo's homes were sent to the school between 1903 and 1949, before joining the Navy. The building continued in use as a Barnado's home until 1953, and was subsequently sold to a demolition company. The main building was demolished in the 1960s. Aerial photographs of this site in 1946 would suggest that this school was commandeered for military use during the war, see NHER 50913 for details.

Images

  • The 19th century buildings of the Norfolk County School which later became Watts Naval Training School  © Norfolk County Council

Location

Grid Reference:TF 9946 2257
Map Sheet:TF92SE
Parish:BINTREE, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

County School 1871-4, later Watts Naval Training School.
Architects, Giles and Gough. The main building had two towers, one with taller stair turret, and gabled windows in Norman Shaw style. Picture in (S1).
Totally demolished in the 1960s - the site is now a pig farm.
E. Rose (NAU), 23 November 1978.

Became the Naval Training School in 1891.
For background to foundation of County School by Rev. Brerton, vicar of Little Massingham, see (S2).
E. Rose (NAU), 5 June 1985.

See (S3).

November 2002.
Concrete water tower demolished.
See (S4).
E. Rose (NLA), 18 November 2002.

The school was attacked with machine guns by a German aircraft on 2 August 1942, after Great Ryburgh maltings had been bombed.
E. Rose (NLA), 12 March 2007.

According to (S5) and (S6) the Watts Naval Training School was virtually a self-contained village. It had its own gym, laundry, drill hall, chapel, cemetery, games room, playing field, sanatorium, dormitories, water tower, staff houses and even a cinema. This source notes that the school, founded in 1873 and opened in 1874, had closed by 1895 as families found the fees too high. When the building came up for sale, Dr Thomas Barnado was keen to purchase it, but did not have the money to do so. However, Edward Watts, a wealthy ship-owner agreed to buy and pay for the conversion of the school, which re-opened as a naval training college in 1903. The pupils were selected from various Barnados homes and foster homes around the country, and up to 300 could be accommodated at any one time. Many of the boys and staff transferred to the Parkstone Nautical Training School in Dorset in 1949. The building continued as a Barnados home until 1953. The East Anglian Regional Hospital Board intended to buy the buildings and convert them into a mental hospital, but local residents protested, and the building was finally purchased by a London demolition company in 1955. The main school building was demolished, along with many of the other buildings on the site, and the remainder have since been converted to residential use.
See (S5) and (S6) for further details.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 2 January 2008.

See NHER 2935 for St Luke's chapel, originally constructed as part of this complex of buildings.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 2 January 2008.

February 2008. Norfolk NMP.
Aerial photographs of this site in 1946 would suggest that this school was commandeered for military use during the war, see NHER 50913 for details.
S. Massey (NMP), 28 February 2008.

Monument Types

  • SCHOOL (Post Medieval to Cold War - 1873 AD to 1953 AD)
  • CEMETERY (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • CINEMA (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • DRILL HALL (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • GYMNASIUM (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • LAUNDRY (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • NAVAL COLLEGE (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD to 1949 AD)
  • ORPHANAGE (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD to 1953 AD)
  • PLAYING FIELD (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • SANATORIUM (Modern to Cold War - 1903 AD? to 1953 AD?)
  • WATER TOWER (Modern - 1903 AD? to 2002 AD)
  • HOUSE (Cold War to Modern - 1953 AD? to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. Boys who ran a clean ship.. 4 September.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Archive: Bolingbroke Collection.
<S2>Article in serial: 1982-3. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Vol LXXII, p 107-110. pp 107-110.
<S3>Photograph: AT 8-9, AT 16-19, CPN 10.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2002. End of an era as water tower is blown up.. 16 November.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. Thousands of cadets went on to careers in the Navy.. 24 September.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2004. All at sea in the heart of Norfolk.. 8 May.

Related records - none

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