Ancestry UK

Brighton and Preston School Board Industrial School for Boys, Chailey, Sussex

In 1875, the Brighton and Preston School Board established an Industrial School for Boys to serve East Sussex. The School occupied the former Chailey parish workhouse building at North Common, Chailey. On June 9th, 1875, the School was certified to accommodate up to 60 boys placed by magistrates under detention. Mr Henry Glover was appointed as superintendent with his wife, Ellen, as matron, positions they were to hold until the School's relocation in 1902.

Former Brighton Industrial School from the north-east, Chailey, 2000. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Brighton Industrial School from the south-east, Chailey, 2000. © Peter Higginbotham

As well as classroom lessons, the boys received industrial training in shoemaking and tailoring with the older boys doing farm and horticultural work on the School's six acres of land.

An 1896 report on the School commented that there was a pleasant homely look about both its exterior and interior, but that the provision for air-space was far from satisfactory. One dormitory in particular was like the orlop deck in the bowels of an old sailing ship. The schoolroom was rated as good but its galvanized iron construction made it hot in summer and difficult to warm in winter. The main building suffered from dampness. Two cows were being kept and a few pigs. Ten boys worked in the tailor's shop and made all the clothes for the school. Two boys were engaged once a week for 3 hours in the laundry, while the bulk of the washing was sent to Brighton. The brass and reed band had 28 members which constituted more than half of the School's 52 inmates. Fifteen minutes of military drill and ten of physical drill were given each day. The play-yard had some gymnastic apparatus under a covered shed. The adjacent common was used daily for cricket or football. The choir and the band occasional excursions but not the school as a whole. There was is a library of about 120 books. The winter evenings were spent in reading or in games such as draughts. There was a mark system in operation by which the boys could earn monetary rewards for good conduct.

Concern about the physical conditions in parts of the building led to the School's removal in 1902 to new premises at Portslade, an establishment run jointly with the London County Council.

The Chailey site was subsequently occupied by the Heritage Craft Special Industrial School for Crippled Children.


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