Barham Lodge School

Barham Lodge-1

According to "A Short History of Weybridge"*, the school started by Dr.Thomas Spyers at Holstein House, Weybridge later moved to Barham Lodge. This didn't happen within the lifetime of Dr.Spyers or his brother William, but the connection comes through a gentleman named Thelwell Mather Pike.

Walton Urban District Council filed a building plan, dated July 1899, for an additional classroom at Barham Lodge for "Mr T Pike" (see here - opens in new window) but there is no indication that it proceeded beyond that stage.

The 1901 census shows him living at Barham Lodge, which is shown as being a boarding school and he is recorded as "Schoolmaster" and "Employer". There are eight boys as "Boarders" - there may have been day pupils as well - and two other schoolmasters who are listed as "Assistant".

What is not certain, from the limeted number of documents we have looked at so far, is that Barham Lodge represented a relocation of Dr.Spyers' school as has been written elsewhere. Mr Pike was still shown at Holstein House in 1900  but he was obviously intending to start a new venture at Oatlands and seems to have purchased the property in the previous year. The school is shown in the 1905 Kelly's Directory as "Weybridge School" with Thelwell Pike as Headmaster but there is no solid information after that date to add to the facts.

Barham Lodge - 1901 Census

Barham Lodge - 1901 Census - Crown copyright

The 1911 census shows Mrs Wood as being resident and Barham Lodge being a private house once again. Mrs Wood seems to have acquired the property in about 1908 as she is listed as occupier in the Weybridge UDC Rate Book for that year, so it would appear that the school didn'r run for very long. In Following her death in South Africa in 1913 Florence Wood's son (later to become Captain Wood - an Army title, although he had also captained the local cricket team) offered the building and its grounds to the to the War Office in 1915 for use as an auxiliary hospital and you can read more about that here. (opens in a new window)

Captain Wood put Barham Lodge and its grounds on the market in early1919 - though the hospital continued in the house until the summer of that year, Due largely to the foresight and persuasive nature of  Mr G J Fowler (of "The Homestead", Oatlands Chase), eight acres were acquired (along with a further plot of 3.5 acres that had been given over to allotments during the war) by the "Oatlands 1914-1919 War Memorial Charity" and the ex-Barham Lodge ground became the Recreation Ground, whilst the allotments carried on unaltered except for their ownership. Whilst it seems highly probable that the level area may have been used as playing fields by the earlier school, we have yet to locate any evidence to support that. The house cotinued as a private residence until it was purchased in 1946 by a Mrs.K.G.Elers who had previously been running a school for girls aged eight to twelve in Cavendish Road, Weybridge since 1942.

This appears to be the start of Barham Lodge School and the Surrey Herald carried a report of a performance by the children of "The Holy Night" by Florence Converse, held at the Airscrew Hall. The 1955 "Walton & Weybridge Oficial Guide" describes Barham Lodge as a mixed school, with children three to ten years.

Miss Elers died in 1956 and the school was bought in October of that year by Mrs. Elaine Hocking and it was her plan to educate her own three daughters in the school. By 1958, when the advertisement at the top of the page ran in  there were twenty five boys and sixty two girls but the success wasn't to last and in 1961 the local education authority refused to renew its certification due to lack of facilities.

Barham Lodge was sold in the Autumn of 1961 and was subsequently demolished - the houses of Barham Close being built on the site of the house and its drive.

Barham Lodge before demolitionBarham Lodge shortly before demolition in 1962


Further Reading
"300 Years of Local Schools"
by Margaret le Fevre
Walton & Weybridge Local History Society - 1970
"A Short History of Weybridge" by M. E. Blackman & J. S. L. Pulford
Walton & Weybridge Local History Society - 1991

"Oatlands First World War Memorials"
Walton & Weybridge Local History Society - Monograph No.67 - 2005

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO