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A Hucknall History

Historic Schools

Council / New Street / John Davies

Hucknall Huthwaite Urban District Council were responsible for the 1902 opening of this third new Public Elementary schoolhouse. Designed to accommodate an additional 260 infants, plus 360 junior boys and girls, actually presented two neighbouring buildings amid the recently developed back streets, when recognising need to cope with far more rapid twentieth century village expansion.

1933 HO0158

Original ground plan is still evident after 1933 following broader residential expansion, amongst which these were initially called the Hucknall Huthwaite, or Local Council Schools. But because access was gained via a fronting primary school, location soon offered the fuller addressing given Huthwaite New Street Council Schools, or just a more commonly shortened New Street Schools.


Infants nearing five years of age would be sent into this roadside property through heavy double doors, to find a cloakroom on left for hanging up name tagged coats. A separate toilet block cornered the rear playground. Miss Hellen Shaw identifies the first Infants Headmistress. HO0157

All junior pupils ageing between eight to eleven years moved up into the bigger school situated behind. Despite larger size, sheltered position didn't present many photos other than revealed in background featuring two later primary teachers. Miss Dennis was then Headmistress, with Miss Bailey able to extend her locally influential family name beyond discovering one brother named Mr J W Bailey BSc formerly held post of assistant master at these Council Schools. His July 1932 return from Constantinople had been a three year post of assistant master at one of their English High Schools.

That's MeClassrooms here were all mixed, catering for each year. Boys and girls were only separated for any junior sports PE and play ground breaks. Hearing shrill squeals of elder children playing over our rear garden wall upon end of Main Street is well remembered, years before being led in blind trepidation to apparently arrive late and left dumped inside 1964 primary school gate.

New Street Council Schools had already been renamed the John Davis Schools some years previous. Naming must be acknowledgement for prior efforts and interest given by Councillor Davis. Years 1932-33 can so far identify John was not just the school manager, but also held influential positions as Chairman of the Huthwaite Urban District Council plus a Nottinghamshire County Councillor and Mansfield Magistrate.

It could therefore be possible, Cllr. J. Davis J.P. played some later part when seeing these school grounds extended. Addition of an adjacent sports field promoting open air team games for both girls and boys did raise school recognition among district leagues. Among various teams and clubs worthy of being separately featured in gallery albums, is the notably repeated success of John Davis Football Club.

One long serving teacher is well recognised from coaching football, later assisted by a younger Mr Bunting. Although naming Mr Rawlstone has offered several spelling variations based on a phonetically sounding Rollston, he taught under three headmasters.   They were preceded by the first appointed headmaster Mr Thomas Goodall. Elder generations may still recall Mr H Johnson next held main junior school head office. Mr Goulding followed and is personally remembered after serving well before my schoolboy years, up until these New Street Schools closed. To confuse matters somewhat, the John Davis name was then transferred to an existing Barker Street School complex. That relocation of some elder teachers plus all infant pupils identified a newly appointed master, although Mr Taylor should rightly introduce a subsequent historic chapter for Barker Street John Davis Primary education.

These schools closed from 1977 county cutbacks, when Notts Education timely decided to adopt a full comprehensive system. The comparable views of a former New Street John Davis primary school show the buildings converted use as a Huthwaite Leisure Centre. Opened 1982 by Ashfield District Council and lastly managed by SLM Ltd, it has so far survived plans for demolition.

Leisure CentreLeisure Centre

Shown from year 2002 is the former junior school building, turned into John Davis Workshops. Security fencing has since aimed to keep children out, although added Main Street entrance gate did welcome parental access for younger nursery ages. A Kids Club sited below car park upon what had been the schools grassed sports field, added yet another name to a list of business closures.

Kids ClubWorkshops

29 Oct 13     by Gary Elliott       Updated 22 Apr 19