Report - Margaret Stancomb Infants’ School, Trowbridge, Wiltshire - December 2016

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Bertie Bollockbrains

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Sep 1, 2014
I’m well aware it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m supposed to be out partying, but on babysitting duties tonight with half the kids of Devizes. Great fun not! Anyways this could be 28DL’s last report of 2016.

A brief explore done on the way back from a much more exciting place in the south of the county. Visited with @Kirkymole. As a Victorian era schoolhouse it looked impressive on the outside. Inside it was disappointing, vandalised and with evidence of squatting.


Built in 1893 as The Margaret Stancomb Memorial Infants' School, it was opened on February 19th 1894 by J.F. Stancomb who had donated the cost of the building. It was originally, at 1254 sq. ft, designed for a maximum of 139 children.

The school itself, opened for business on the 23rd February under its first headmistress Leah Horne. She was aided by up to 3 pupil-teachers and also an assistant mistress. The pupils were given object lessons as well as singing, needlework, drawing, reading, arithmetic, scripture and an experiment in a form of drill from 1922.

The school c.1907

Pupils ranged from ages 3 to 7 years, they had to change school by the 31st day of April following their seventh birthday. Originally the school was divided into classes: 1st boys, 1st girls, 2nd boys, 2nd girls and a 3rd which for the youngest children; but the number of classes would grow as the school expanded. It was an undenominational school and was transferred to Wiltshire County Council in 1908.

Miss Horne resigned in 1922 to be succeeded by M. H. Collier, and in 1931 the school itself expanded with the addition of a new building which provided an additional 8754 sq. ft. The enlargement was primarily due to the amalgamation of three schools on the site; the other two being St Thomas' Infant School and the Parochial Infant School; average attendance rose to 198 and there were now 7 classes and five teachers assisting Miss Collier.

The school expanded further during World War II due to the arrival of evacuees, the first wave when war was announced and the second wave when the Blitz on London began. Margaret Stancomb School had a sizeable contingent from the Woodford Green School in Essex as well as from other places who were taught in separate classes while they attended the school.

The school opened a kitchen in July 1965 and began to serve hot dinners for those children who stayed to lunch. Miss Collier resigned in 1950, after 28 years, to be followed by Doreen Howard.

In January, 2008, Margaret Stancomb Infant School amalgamated with the Parochial Junior School to become the Bellefield Primary School. When Margaret Stancomb closed, the local authority intended to sell the site for housing. The Wiltshire Rural Music School then said it had an interest in using the original school building to extend its cultural mission within Trowbridge. The local authority agreed they could have it pretty much free of charge. It was intended that the Music School would reopen the building in September 2010. That did not happen and in May 2012 it was announced that the Music School did not intend to proceed with the transfer.

In May 2015, a fire was deliberately started within the school resulting in attendance of one fire engine from the local fire station. Watch manager Matthew Skyme said to the local media “We only needed buckets of water to extinguish it.” (sorry everyone for the lack of drama but this is Wiltshire – putting a fire out with a bucket of water is about as exciting as it gets here)

Trowbridge police issued a press release stating “If you are a parent or guardian, please make sure your children are aware of the risks they take when entering boarded up buildings and ensure you know where they are when out and about.”

Well that’s only an instruction to children. So as far as I’m concerned, that’s the green light from the police for an adult like myself to enter…


This Victorian era building is actually impressive on the outside, with a very ornate 1893 datestone


It was not possible to enter the classrooms

An impressive mosaic in the playground commemorating the centenary of the school in 1993

The old school building was dominated by the hall which had an impressive timber-framed ceiling and ornate church-style windows




Lots of peeling paint in the lobby

Peeling paint porn

The kitchen as seen in a photofail

A 2006 calendar

Finally it was possible to head downstairs to the boiler room

Thanks for reading and happy new year to you all


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nov 17, 2017
Tried to get in there last week but completelt borded up with metal and it's very hard to even attempt getting off. Wouldn't recommend as you'll just have a wasted journey.

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