The History of Southbroom Infants  Church of England School, Devizes.


 Southbroom Voluntary Aided School ca 1910, London Road, opposite St. James Church

Both Southbroom Junior and Infant Schools started their history in 1833 as a joint school initiative of St. James Church of England. Southbroom National School, north of the church on Estcourt Street, was built in 1833. A state building grant was paid in 1834.


The school consisted of two rooms one above the other and was of stone with a thatched roof. It was said to be capable of holding 128 boys and 105 girls, but this estimate is extraordinary based on two rooms 34 feet long.


 Two teachers Mr and Mrs James Gregory were the school master and mistress in 1842 (Pigot's 1842). A two storey teacher's house had been built on to each level adjoining the classrooms to the north-east side. In 1855 the teachers were Mr Daniel Tarrant and Miss Mary Wilby. In 1859, when both teachers were declared to be of 'high respectability', only 50 boys and girls attended the school


The school was enlarged in 1872 by the addition of an infants' classrooms separate to the original school but on the same site. By 1874 the whole school had an attendance of 238. It was again enlarged in 1879 by providing more rooms for the infants.


In 1893, on the eve of the last enlargement in 1894, the average attendance was 311. To meet Board of Education requirements it was substantially rebuilt in 1894–5 at a cost of £500 and thereafter had approved aaccommodation for 165 boys, 134 girls, and 168 infants. The total attendance was 382 in 1908–9 and 304 in 1937–8. In the earlier 20th century the school was much praised by the inspectors in three separate annual reports.


On th e reorganization of the Devizes schools in 1926 it became the Southbroom Parochial School,a school for standard I children and infants only. It was enlarged in 1928. Children over 8 went to the new Southbroom Secondary School based on Southbroom House and Heathcote House (right)


The Southbroom Parochial School was granted controlled status in 1949. In 1950 the average attendance was 452. In 1954 classrooms were provided at Southbroom Secondary School, on the Heathcote House site, to rehouse a part of the growing Southbroom Parochial school.


In 1957 it was decided to split the Parochial School into two parts – the Infants and juniors.


The Southbroom Church of England Controlled Infants' schoolstayed at Heathcote House and a Southbroom Church of England Controlled Junior school was formed on the old Estcourt Street opposite St. James until a new purpose school was built on a new Nursteed Road site. 


 The Heathcote House site was later enlarged and in January 1973 there were 451 pupils on the roll. In 1998 it was one of the largest infants' schools in the county with 238 children. In 2002 there were 242 pupils aged from 5 to 7.


Heathcote House is no longer part of the Southbroom Infants School. It is now back in use as a Private day Nursery.



Above, the Infants School with Heathcote House at the rear