A History of St Paul’s School Temporary Exhibition

Dorking Museum was proud to present a new Exhibition that told the story of St Paul’s C of E Primary School from its opening in 1860 to the present day. This Special Exhibition ran from 9th January – 19th April 2014.

St Pauls School 1860s
St Pauls School in the 1860’s © Dorking Museum

A History of St Paul’s traces 150 years of Dorking life and education. As a new school in the 1860s St Paul’s was surrounded primarily by agricultural land. The only nearby buildings were St Paul’s Church and the Dorking Union Workhouse.

St Paul's School, from St Paul's Road West. 1890's
St Paul’s School, from St Paul’s Road West. 1890’s © Dorking Museum
Today, St Paul’s is bounded on three sides by housing. The school has grown from its original 3 classrooms to the present 14 classrooms and other specialist facilities. St Paul’s now accommodates 420 children compared to just 130 in the 1860s.
St Paul's Road East, c 1900
St Paul’s Road East, c 1900 © Dorking Museum

The Exhibition uses a timeline to show the changes made to the school over the past 150 years. Events are shown in the context of broader developments in the local area and in education more widely.

Other stories from the school’s past are told in more detail, including the design of the new school and more recent events such as the fire in 1970 and the time the school hit the national headlines in the 1990s. Stories of the school’s nine Headteachers are also included.

There’s an opportunity to see the film about St Paul’s, made by parents of children at the school in 2011. And a chance to recreate the school building of the 1860s using some specially designed wooden blocks.

From St Paul's Road 2012
From St Paul’s Road 2012 © Helen Wharmby

The Exhibition was written by Helen Wharmby, author of A history of St Paul’s, the story of the school published in July 2013. Copies of Helen’s book are available here. All profits from the sale of the book go to the school.