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Sources for the history of education in Bexley

Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre holds a variety of sources for researching the history of education and schools in the area.

Log books 1866-1997

Log books were kept by head teachers of schools and are a vital source of information on both education and social conditions in Bexley since 1866.

Under the Revised Code of Regulations, 1862 the head teacher of each school was required to keep a daily log book of occurrences at the school.

Factors affecting staff, and in particular pupil attendance, were a major preoccupation of head teachers. They note causes for falls in pupil attendance, with references to disease, severe weather and work.

Other information included depends on the circumstances of the school and the attention to detail of the head teacher. They might also include attendance statistics, lists of teaching staff, the curriculum, dates and results of visits by H M Inspectors, activities and events associated with wartime e.g. evacuation preparations and prize giving.

Admission registers 1866-2003*

School admission registers are an important source of information on individual pupils in Bexley schools in the late nineteenth century and twentieth century.

From 1866 onwards head teachers in the Bexley area kept admission registers. These contained information about the child's school career in a standard register. However, the information value depends upon the thoroughness of individual head teacher.

Usually the columns in an admission register allowed entries to be written about the following for each pupil: Date of Admission; Full name of child; Date of Birth; Address: Name of Parent or Guardian; Name of Last School; Particulars of leaving the School, which includes references to further education or employment. There is also a space is provided for the Head to make remarks on individual pupils.

Attendance registers 1900-1992*

Head teachers are required to ensure that an attendance register for all pupils on the school roll is taken twice a day; once at the start of the morning session and once during the afternoon session.

The registers record: the name of the class and form teacher; names of pupil; pupil number; date of birth; address and daily record of morning and afternoon attendance.

Punishment books 1921-1986*

The archives contain punishment books for only three schools in Bexley: Belvedere Primary School, Northumberland Heath Primary School and Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School.

The longest run of recording punishments is 1921-1983 for Belvedere Primary School, formally known as West Street County Primary School.

The punishment book recorded corporal punishment and not other types of punishment such as detention. They include the following details: date of punishment; name of pupil; offence; type of punishment metered out and signature the of teacher who gave administered the punishment.

Administrative records

These include records about how a particular school was managed.

For some schools, such as Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, they include times timetables, statistical returns, school entrance exams and local authority Education Committee papers. For other schools, they include estate and school managers' correspondence.


These show individual classes and/or the whole school. They can also include photographs of school plays, sports day or other school events such as official openings.


In some school archives ephemera also includes photographs. Other types of records that have been listed under 'Ephemera' include: press cuttings; scrap books; videos and school magazines.

Other archive collections: Schools and education

Some of the small collections of personal papers contain material relating to the school lives of the individuals who created them. Amongst the personal papers you will find school reports; examination certificates and school prizes.

There are also relevant records in the archives of Rev. John Wells Wilkinson (PEJWW); James Wellbeloved MP (PEJWB); Hall Place Academy (INHOU) and the Bexley and Erith branches of the National Union of Teachers (CSNUT).

Local Studies pamphlet collection

This collection contains school prospectuses; inspection reports, timetables and ephemera such as events programmes and school magazines from many of the primary and secondary schools in the London Borough of Bexley.

Local Studies photographic collection

Includes external and internal views of school buildings; children at work and play and some class photographs. The majority of the photographs are in black and white and were taken between c.1906-1995.

The Bobby Bartram Collection of Photographs contain black and white photographs that were taken between 2003 - 2005. This was during a time when many schools in Bexley were under going a programme of new building. This collection contains photographs of the following schools:

Northumberland Primary School, March 2003
Orchard Primary School, August 2004
Bexleyheath Secondary School, August 2005
Upland Primary School August, 2005

Local Studies postcard collection

The postcard collection contains images relating to schools in Bexley from the 1890s to 1950s. They include views of class groups; pupils working in classrooms; exterior views of schools, with some also showing school children and street scenes, that include a view of particular school.

* Contain personal information and are therefore subject to the Data Protection Act 1988. Please refer to staff for access.

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