The School building still in use is now called "KINGSMEAD COUNTY PRIMARY SCHOOL"

The British Schools

These schools are erected in St. John's Place, Northgate, for the purpose of giving instruction to the children of the poor, without regard to their religous tenets. The boys' school was built in 1840, and the girls added in 1846. The children pay twopence per week towards the maintenance of the school, and all deficiencies are supplied by contributions.


From the Canterbury Directory 1858 - St. John's Place

The British Boys School - was built in 1840

The British Girls School - was built in 1846 (also took younger boys)

"The schools were erected for giving instructions to the children of the poor without religious tenets. The children pay 2d a week towards the support of the school and all deficiencies are supplied by contribution." Canterbury Directory 1858

This St. John's Board School was built in 1903


Erected in 1871, accomodation for 255 boys, 177 girls, and 200 infants



Kentish Gazette - April 1872

"The British Schools were taken over by the Canterbury School Board in April 1872. The boys school started immediately for 400 boys, but the girls school didn't start until January 1873. Pupils still paid 2d a week to attend. The girls School was for girls up to 13 years of age, and younger boys."


The Old St. John's Board School, 1876


In 1876, St. John's Board School took over the Primitive Methodist Chapel in St. John's Place to use as an Infants School and changed the stone heading to that effect. Researched by Tricia Baxter


1877 - Canterbury Northgate, St. Johns (N. 7) Amount of Grants for Building, Enlargement, Improvements or fixtures to 31 Dec. 1876 - 293 10 0

Average attendance 269 / 23

Annual Grants - 223 17 0 / 11 2 0

The Old St. John's Board School 1876



Albert Shreeves Paine - Master

Mrs. Mary J. Thurgar - Mistress

Mrs. Sarah Elliott - Infants mistress


The letter of the head-master of the Canterbury Board Schools which we give below must be not very pleasant reading to the Vice-President of the Committee of Council. The right honourable gentleman announced so very loudly that he was going to be the great educational reformer and benefactor of the century that it must be peculiarly disappointing for him to hear complaints of this kind.

*The following letter was read from the head master of the Board schools (Mr. A. S. Paine):

Doubtless you have heard much and read more about over pressure in public elementary schools.

Facts are daily brought to the notice of the public by teachers, parents, and medical men in which instances of nervous excitement, derangement of health, diseases of the brain, loss of sleep, and even death, are all due to the mental overstraining now going on in elementary schools.

The present Mundella Code is the most exacting and elastic one that has been issued from the the Education Department. It is, gentlemen, in your power to diminish somewhat from the tale of bricks now required of us. I have sent you a syllabus of the work of the 5th and 6th Standards, so that you may see what is required of little boys about twelve years of age.

I am sure, gentlemen, it is not your wish that we and the children should suffer from this mental strain. It is hurry and drive all day long, the song of the shirt is being dramatised! If I may be allowed to expunge drill and drawing from the time table it will allow of more time and ease with the compulsory subjects. The boys when not at school spend most of their time running about, so drill is not necessary in this kind of school. Drawing is not within the reach of all who have time and taste for it.

The Clerk (Mr. J. J. Lancaster) said the school managers had considered the letter, and recommended that the whole system of work required under the present regulations be considered at the end of the school year; likewise the system of teachers salaries depending largely on results. The committee considered it was desirable that fixed salaries should take the place of the present arrangement.

The Chairman moved that the school managers' recommendation be adopted, and the motion was carried. The school year ends at Midsummer.

"The National Schoolmaster" Feb. 1884



St. John's Board School, St. John's Place, Northgate erected in 1871, for 255 boys, 220 girls, and 200 infants; average attendance, 230 boys, 179 girls and 137 infants

Albert Shreeves Paine, Master

Mrs. Mary Ann Latham, Mistress

Miss Annie Wiltshier, Infant's Mistress


The Old St. John's Board School, 1903 - The Single Story Infant's School

The article is about the opening of two newly built school buildings at St. John's Place. Built at a cost of £16,645, by Messrs. G[?]stin & Co. of Whitstable. There was a single story building for the Infants, and a two story building for the older children. Boys on the first floor and girls on the ground floor, each having on their floor, classrooms to one side of a main hall. July 1902 there were 726 children on the books, with an average daily attendance of 545.

Kentish Gazette, Thursday, October 1, 1903



Robert H. Barker - Master (certificated schoolmaster)*

Miss J. Russell - Mistress

Mrs. Ruth Cannell - Infants mistress




Robert H. Barker - Master (certificated schoolmaster)*

Miss J. Russell - Mistress

Miss Lucy Cook - Infants' mistress**


A view of St. John's School from St. John's Car Park

This St. John's Board School was built in 1903

*his wife Mary A. Barker is also a certificated schoolmistress. The couple are living in St. John's Place in Northgate in the early 1900's.

**In 1903 Lucy was working for the Diocesan National School


© T. Machado 2007