History of St John’s School


The early beginnings of the school are recorded in a booklet written by Olivia Cotton in 1993 ‘The first ten years – The National School of St John’s, Churt, Surrey, 1870-1880’.  There is more about the school in another of Olivia’s books ‘Churt an Oasis through Time’.  Copies of both are available in the Churt Heritage archives.

You can read Frank Thorne’s account of life at St John’s in the 1930s here, and Jenny Silvester’s account of life at St John’s in the 50s here.

The audio recordings of Ruth Croucher and Joan Harris also describe life at the school.  You can listen to these on-line.

There are many photographs of the school and the pupils both on-line and in hard copy in the archives

Is there anyone who would like to research and write up some more about the school history?  It would be a fascinating project.


Meanwhile I found this description of an early school concert in the Surrey Advertiser 23 February 1895.  How things had changed for the inhabitants of Churt in the first twenty five years of the life of the school!

The schoolchildren soon started contibuting to village life.

CHURT. Entertainment. – On Tuesday a very attractive and amusing entertainment was given by the scholars of the Church Schools, under the excellent conductorship of the master, Mr H. Frost, assisted by Mrs Frost and the teachers.  The room was crowded in every part, quite a third having to stand.  The audience was chiefly composed of the parents and relatives of the children, who entered heartily into the various items on the programme, which consisted of songs, recitations, dialogues, musical drills, (…….) troupe, jokes and songs, and an operetta entitled “Nobody.” The whole programme was very creditably performed, but especially worthy of being noticed was the prologue spoken by a very small boy with great clearness and diction, for which Master Tommy Clark was called to the front.  Songs by the children, “Seesaw” and “The burlesque band,” were also remarkably well rendered ; and a dialogue in character by Alice and James Hammond and Ethel Criddle was exceptionally well given ; but the item that brought the House down and received a persistent encore was the (……) troupe in character, their jokes and songs being exceedingly good. The various characters in the operetta “Nobody” were well delineated and sustained, especially those of Old Peter (Chris. Harris) whose orchard had been robbed; whilst the village policeman (Mark Hermiston), with his usual pomposity, was well hit off and very amusing. The whole was well staged, and reflected great credit on the master and mistress and those friends who assisted. The bright colours of the girl’s dresses, blended with the darker hues of the boys’ clothes, were very charming. Mrs Frost made an excellent accompanist, leading, not drowning, the singers, as is often the case at village entertainments.