The Education Act of 1870 was brought in to deal with the provision of compulsory education for all children in England and Wales, with school boards established to ensure schools were built and managed in areas where they were needed.
One of those was on Chaldon Road in Caterham. Opened in 1872, it provided space for 125 boys, 125 girls and 100 infants. Today, the site is home to Hillcroft Primary School, which now has 453 children on its register.
September 2022 marked the beginning of Hillcroft’s 150th academic year, and the school has planned a series of events to mark the anniversary.
During the autumn term, the pupils created items that would be placed into a time capsule. Each class is represented by artwork and quotes, and photos from school trips have also been included. The capsule was buried on the school field on Wednesday, 4 January, by head boy and girl James and Tabitha. It has been left with instructions not to be opened until 2047.
Teacher Emily Dunn, who is coordinating the celebrations, hopes that the pupils who are present when it is dug up will include sons or daughters of the current cohort:
“Hillcroft is a big part of the community, and many of the children here have parents, and even grandparents, who also attended the school.”
A celebration book has been opened in the reception area, for the school community and members of the public to add their comments. It will remain open for the rest of the year.
(Above: James and Tabitha bury the time capsule)
(Above: James and Tabitha with the time capsule’s commemoration plaque)