History

bee painter

Micklefield began its life as a girls’ school in Reigate, Surrey, in 1910 and relocated to Seaford 10 years later in a building that had been used as a military hospital in World War 1. The founder, Miss Beatrice Jones, was joined at Seaford by her partner and niece Miss Carpenter, to run the school.

In 1920 there were 20 boarders (compared to the 280 in 1980), studying a curriculum of scripture, cookery, maths, Latin, French, history, geography and English - sciences only came along in the 1940s. As the picture top right shows, the grounds were originally given over to potatoes, rhubarb and other vegetables before the creation of hard courts for tennis and netball. The top photograph is taken from the south, with Sutton Avenue just visible behind the school building.

The school motto was “love and serve” and its hymn Jerusalem. The uniform has always been green, a tradition that has been maintained by the nursery - though these days panama or straw hats are not insisted upon!

During World War 2 the boarders were evacuated to Newquay, allowing 100 soldiers to use the site as a transit camp.

The school returned to Seaford in 1945. By 1950 there were 93 boarders and four day girls and a laboratory was installed in 1958. A swimming pool followed in 1970 and the first computer in 1980. Micklefield was one of many boarding schools in the town and thrived for many years, but closed in 1994. The building’s final years were marred by vandalism and arson attacks - a sad end to a proud history.

The 5.6 acre site was put up for sale but there was little hope of finding a buyer who would maintain a school on the land. Instead, most of the northern two-thirds of the site were eventually redeveloped for residential use.

Happily Micklefield was not swallowed up completely by another housing estate. The playing field was opened up for community use, and the former art block was transformed into the nursery known and loved today.

In the spring of 1994 as Micklefield School prepared to close, the then playgroup staff, together with an enthusiastic governor, began to plan to retain a nursery on the site. Micklefield Nursery School opened in September 1994 and since then has grown, flourished and it is still evolving to meet the new challenges of today.
The beginnings back in 1994 were modest; a Nursery class and the 4+ Class on three mornings a week and a total of five staff. Home cooked lunches were introduced in January 1995 and the following year some afternoon classes were established, eventually including the Dormice introductory sessions.

In the sales particulars of 1994 shown on the right, the running track occupies the space now utilised as a public playing field; the building to the north is the swimming pool, originally open air but later covered and heated. The modern structure behind the original building is the hall which opened in 1978 and in the top left-hand corner is the art block now occupied by the nursery.

The old school fields and tennis courts became adventure playgrounds, people donated bicycles and scooters which were raced around the enormous, disused school hall in wet weather. While the building remained, everything was salvaged that might be of use in the future.

Watching the gradual decline of the deserted building was sad for those of who had been involved in the school community; stripped and derelict, it was a daily reminder of the busy school life so recently ended. Finally, two fires followed by the demolition team cleared the site, new houses appeared through the rubble and undergrowth and our school railings enclosed the nursery grounds.

historical

badge

saleshot 2

Children are at the heart of everything we do.

micklefield banner