St Brelade's School

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St Brelade's School

As St Aubin developed as a busy town around its harbour, which was Jersey’s principal port in the early 19th century, a number of private schools opened. But they were way beyond the reach of most parents, whose children had no chance of an education, and mostly could not read and write.

Mrs Queripel

In the 1840s a Mrs Queripel opened a dame school for infants in the living room of her house on Market Hill. She attracted the attention of the Rev Samuel King, who had been appointed minister of the new Anglican chapel on Mont Les Vaux in 1850.

He, his wife, a Miss Scott, and Julia Marett of La Haule Manor raised funds to support the school. Some of the seaweed albums Miss Scott made are still in existence today. One presented to Queen Victoria resulted in a return gift of money for the school.

A class at the school in 1926
Catherine Queripel was trained as a teacher and the school expanded to take older pupils. More support came from the Le Couteur family, led by Sir John Le Couteur, who was ADC to Queen Victoria.

The family raised funds and in 1865 this enabled the school, which had over 100 pupils, to move to Hibernia Vale, a granite house close to the centre of the town. It opened with John Paul as master for the boys and his wife Emma teaching the girls.

Soon there were more than 200 pupils, and more fund-raising allowed a new building to be built alongside Hibernia Vale. Work started in 1878 and it opened as St Brelade’s School in 1880, and was ultimately taken over by the States. It served the whole parish until it closed in the 1980s and became St Brelade's College, a school that teaches English to foreign students.

Further history

From an article on St Aubin in the 1949 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise by Julia Marett

The Rev Samuel King and his wife came to St Aubin in 1850 and built and lived in Cardington Lodge at the entrance of Noirmont Avenue. It was due to them that a dame's school for infants, kept by a Mrs Queripcl at Hilbré in Market Hill, grew into a bigger school for St Aubin's children.

Under their auspices working parties were started to help to pay the expenses of this little school in the lower room of the house, and later of an upper school held in the upper room of the same house. Miss Scott, niece of Mrs King and only daughter of Scott, the commentator on the Bible, with the help of other ladies of whom my mother was one, collected seaweeds dried and mounted them and made them into albums, the sale of which helped to pay the expenses of the school for 14 years.

De la Rue of London made a present to the collectors of a handsomely bound book which was filled with seaweeds named by Miss Scott and presented to Queen Victoria, through Lord Wriothesley Russell. Her Majesty sent £20 in return with a request that Miss Scott should purchase Harvey's book on sea¬weeds and give the rest (£14) to the school fund.

As many as 250 specimens were in each album of seaweeds. Besides supporting the junior school, the sale of seaweeds gave £10 a year for two or three years to the upper school, and thus by the help of friends the education was carried on in both schools till Sir John le Couteur of Belle Vue adopted the infant school as a thanks¬ offering for his preservation in battle.

Bazaars were then organised to get larger premises. These were held at Belle Vue, and Hibernia Vale in Mont les Vaux was bought, and Mr and Mrs Paul appointed as master and mistress. There were then 210 children, 76 boys, 54 girls and 80 infants.

Bazaars at Belle Vue, La Haule Manor and a grand fete in the St Aubin's Railway Terminus kept the school going and helped to collect money to build a new school and the foundation stone of the present school building was laid by the Bishop of Winchester, Harold Browne, on 5 June 1878 and the school opened by the Bishop two years later.

With the passing of the Compulsory Education Act, with free education, the school, which was a church school, ceased to be supported by public subscription and children's fees and was finally handed over to the States Education Committee with the proviso, however, that out of school hours it should belong to the trustees. Till the past war a jumble sale was annually held in the school after school hours. Hibernia Vale still belongs to the trustees.

Lawford girls who were at the school in the 1890s
An informal class photograph in about 1900

19th century certificates

Certificates awarded to Wilfred Fisher in the 1890s as he progressed from class to class

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