Powys Digital History Project

Presteigne - John Beddoes' School 2
Decline and recovery


A damning report
A Report of the Schools Enquiry Commission issued in 1870 gave a very clear indication that the education provided by the school left much to be desired. The school was described as being in "an abject and useless state". Even the new buildings were described as inadequate, and the pupils of low ability.
The Trustees were described as taking little interest in the school, and not all the funds could be accounted for. This damning report concludes "this grammar school, with its endowment of nearly £200 a year, differs little from an ordinary National or British School, and where it differs differs for the worse."

Entry qualification
The creation of the National and British schools in the town left the Grammar School free to cater for older pupils and an entry qualification was introduced. The standards were greatly improved by the new Headmaster Mr Woodrow who came in 1870. Despite a well organised scheme for the further advancement of the school, Mr Woodrow was removed and his successor Charles Green led the school into so steep a decline that by 1883 when he was dismissed, there were only five boys attending the school. The Rev T.M. Newbery, former Headmaster at Llandrindod College, was appointed and he got the school back on a firm footing.

by kind permission of
Mrs Cherry Leversedge

A new building for the school
The Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889 brought the school under the control of the Local Education Authority and new premises were begun on the site of the old gaol.
The photograph above shows the construction team for the new building on the site

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