The College was established in 1852 by the Church of England for the training of women teachers, who like their brothers, "would go out to the schools in the service of humanity, lay priests to the poor, moved by Christian Charity". Hockerill was probably the tenth in order of foundation of the Women's Colleges, whose history goes back to the founding in 1811, of the "National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales". The College was founded by the diocese of Rochester which included, at that time, Hertfordshire and Essex and was known as the Rochester Diocesan Institute for the Training of Schoolmistresses.
The establishment of the College reflected the revolutionary change in the education system that began in the early part of the nineteenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century children were taught on a monitorial system, the teachers taught the monitors and the monitors the children. Masters were employed "to organise, to reward, to punish and to inspire" - but not to teach. (2) In 1846 Dr Kay Shuttleworth was instrumental in inaugurating the pupil teacher system. This was a five year apprenticeship for youths from 13 - 18 years of age. Each day the pupil teacher did five and half hours teaching and each week he or she received seven hours instruction. At the end of their apprenticeship the pupil teachers could compete for Queen's scholarships which gave entry to a three year training college course. The College received pupil teachers who had received the Queen's scholarship free of charge for one year. At the end of the year the scholarship might be renewed for a second year. There were also a limited number of exhibitions for deserving cases who had failed to get a scholarship.
The earliest extant record concerning the College is that of a meeting held in London on December 30th 1847 chaired by the Bishop of Rochester (D/EHk1/1). The members described themselves as a Provisional Committee. The project was initially expected to be financed by subscriptions and some donations had already been received. They appointed a Sites Sub Committee to inspect various sites according to the fourfold specification they laid down for the site. 1) It had to comprise between one and two acres; 2) it was to be near a railway station; 3) there had to be the possibility of obtaining sittings in the parish church for staff and students; and 4) the possibility of uniting a practising school to the Institute.
The sub committee examined sites all over Hertfordshire and on March 23rd 1848 they decided on a site in Hertford which lay betwen All Saints' Church and the Cowper Testimonial School, and requested the Diocesan Architect, Joseph Clarke, to supply plans for a building the cost of which was not to exceed £6000 exclusive of fittings. He produced two engravings of the College as he hoped it would be (D/EHk6/8/3). However, due to the difficulties of assigning a practising school to the Institute the plans at Hertford were abandoned. On August 16th, 1848 the sub committee inspected sites at Bishop's Stortford, where a new parish was to be formed needing both a church and schools. The vicar of St Michael's, Bishop's Stortford, the Reverend F W Rhodes showed great interest in the proposals. The schools were to be built on part of the training institute itself (see D/EHk3). On January 15th, 1850 the committee purchased the piece of land known as Bramblefields. Unfortunately, however, subscriptions had not been received at the expected
1. G A Wood, The History of Hockerill Training College p3 D/EHk5/1/5
2. Ibid p1
3. Eric Midwinter, Nineteenth Century Education (Longman 1973) p35 rate and the Committee had to apply for grants, the Privy Council gave £3000 for the College and £200 for the practising schools and the National Society contributed £600 and £50 respectively.
In January 1852, All Saints Church, Hockerill was completed and opened and the vicar, the Reverend John Menet, was appointed to be Chaplain of the Institute. (4) The college buildings were finished in March of that year but the Committee refused to have the buildings opened until all the debts were paid, and until they had received promises of £600 a year for the first four years, since it was impossible that the College could be self-financing immediately.
On November 10th, 1852 the Institute was formally opened. The ceremonies began with a service in All Saints Church, performed by the Bishop of Rochester, assisted by a large number of the clergy and laity.
On November 11th, 1852 the Bishop of Rochester nominated a House Committee (D/EHk1/6-17) which would meet regularly and report to the Committee of Management (D/EHk1/2-4) that had been elected by the Education Boards of Essex and Hertfordshire. Between November 10th, 1852 and January, 1853 only a few students were admitted and no regular work was done. In January, 1853 nineteen students assembled, in September, twenty-eight, until in 1858 fifty seven students enrolled and the College was declared full. The students were all between sixteen and twenty five years of age and were carefully selected. As well as being recommended by their local clergyman, they had to sit a written examination conducted either by the College Chaplain or some duly appointed clergyman. If they were accepted then it was for a probationary period of six weeks. Once this period was over the student settled down for two years. The Institute did, however, run shorter courses.
In 1856 not only was the Maintenance Fund renewed but the Institute received a glowing report from Her Majesty's Inspector, which remarked especially on the thorough knowledge of domestic economy possessed by the students. The subject was taught practically in that the students did most of the housework themselves. The reason for this was that the authorities had been horrified by reports that Training Schools in Europe were producing teachers with "vain and silly airs". Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth (Secretary of State for Education) was determined that England's teachers should not fall into such sin, so "as a safeguard against intellectual pride, assumption of superiority, and selfish ambition", the Hockerill students, like their contemporaries in other colleges, set and cleared away their meals, washed dishes, did all the necessary laundry, dusted and polished, and even swept the floors according to a system of rotation.
Academically, also, the day was very demanding. The students studied arithmetic, grammar, history and geography as well as doing a great deal of plain needlework and improving their reading and writing, under the supervision of the governesses, who had themselves been trained at the Institute. School practice was done entirely in the practising schools, and criticism lessons, which were given before the whole college, staff and students, were usually held in the Training Room. John Menet's criticism notebook (D/EHk2/7/154) outlines some of these lessons, some students also kept school practice notebooks and Beatrice Lee presented hers to the College (D/EHk7/1/16-18). Much can be learnt about the actual training given and the principles of education taught in the Institution from John Menet's book, practical Hints on Teaching (D/EHk5/1/1-2). (4) The Principal was known as Chaplain until 1897.
In 1863 the Reverend John Menet and all his staff except the Lady Superintendent resigned when the Revised Code became law. It became popularly known as the "payment by results" system. Under the original Code, devised in the late 1850s, teachers' grants, pupil teachers' stipends, teachers' pensions and certain grants to Training Colleges were all abolished. In their place, school managers were offered an attendance grant per child, which was dependent on their passing an examination in reading, writing, arithmetic. A child's failure in any one subject reduced his grant by one third. Even infants of three were examined and so helped the school to continue running. After agitation by Sir Thomas Kay-Shuttleworth and the Reverend John Menet among others, the proposals were revised. Thus the Revised Code laid down that a grant of 4s per pupil was to be paid on attendance, and 8s on attainment measured by examination in the 'three Rs'. Infants were to be exempted from examination. Schools above infant level were to be divided into six 'standards' could earn grant only once in each standard. Teachers had to earn the grant or risk dismissal. The Chaplain and his staff felt unable to work under these terms.
Menet's successor was the Reverend A H Blunt. Practical difficulties arose almost immediately since there was no house for the Chaplain, Mr Menet having built his own. A suitable building was therefore erected. Little else of note occurred during the Chaplaincy of Mr Blunt. Report after report comments on the decline in the number and quality of the candidates for admission. In 1871, after a long illness, Mr Blunt died and was replaced by the Reverend A E Northey, who had been elected from a field of sixty candidates.
His Chaplaincy was a short one but encompassed the building of the Chapel (see D/EHk2/10), which was opened by the Bishop of St Albans in 1878. In 1881, Mr Northey was replaced by the Reverend R A Oram who was Chaplain for three years. Although Her Majesty's Inspector had been vociferous in his complaints, no improvements had been made, so that by the time the Reverend W J Frere arrived, there was a considerable task ahead. In 1885, the Inspector returned and was much more insistent about recreation and that the fees were too low. Mr Frere raised the fees and introduced the teaching of science. In 1886, the Inspector again reiterated the need for recreation. In 1888, Mrs Claughton, wife of the first Bishop of St Albans determined to raise the necessary £300 from the ladies of the diocese. The result of this was the construction of the Claughton Room and the Drill Room. In 1897, Mr Frere resigned. He will be remembered as the author of the College hymn set to music by Sir John Stainer (D/EHk2/10/14).
In 1896, Hockerill Old Students Association (HOSA) was founded. The subscription was 2s 6d, meetings were to be held twice a year, once in London and once at Hockerill, and each term a "paper" containing College news was to be issued to members, whose names and addresses were to appear in it annually. This grew into the College magazine (D/EHk4/1).
The Cycling Club was founded in 1897 (D/EHk2/12/50) and tennis prospered, stoolball was played in a field adjoining the Principal's house, but there was no hockey until 1901.
In 1897 seventy four candidates answered the advertisement for the post of Principal and Chaplain. It was the first and last time that the title was used, all previous Chaplains had been Chaplain only, no later Principal acted as Chaplain. The Committee appointed the Reverend A E Vintner (later known as A E Murray-Aynsley). He instituted a great number of building works and improvements in response to yet another scathing report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate.
In 1902 the government decided that grants to Church Training Colleges could only be paid on condition that a certain number of places be thrown open for non-conformist students and the College was in a quandary. Eventually the Committee had to yield to financial necessity. In 1904, therefore, another large building programme was undertaken to accommodate the extra students. School practice was also found to be difficult and some of the students from London were accommodated in London County Council schools. In 1908 the whole year had teaching practice at one time. In 1910 a sanatorium was added and in 1911 the Infants Practising School modernised.
The First World War seems to have affected the College in many ways. The students entertained the troops, who were billetted in the area, with concerts and hockey and tennis matches and some of the troops attended Chapel services. The students knitted items to help with the war effort. The danger from air raids meant that the College was blacked out. Students also went to work on the land during their vacation. In 1918 influenza hit Bishop's Stortford so badly that the College was closed and those who were uninfected were sent home. In 1916 His Majesty's Inspectorate had produced another scathing report with a long 'blacklist' of items that needed attention, including lack of space, recreation and other pressing items.
In 1920 Mr Murray Aynsley resigned and he was replaced by the first woman Principal, Miss A D Malden. Although many church people objected to this, there was nothing they could do, as in 1917 the Board of Education had declared that all heads of Women's Colleges had to be women. Miss Malden immediately began to work on improving the College and another extensive building programme was undertaken. In 1929 when His Majesty's Inspector came to Hockerill, all the items blacklisted in the 1916 Report had been dealt with, and thus the College was saved from threatened closure. In 1931 the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Chelmsford, for the buildings financed by the Board of Supervision (D/EHk6/4/21) and these buildings were opened in 1932 by the Bishop of St Albans, (D/EHk6/4/22).
In 1930 Rural Science was added to the curriculum and in 1931 the number of students was increased by the Board of Education from one hundred and thirty three to one hundred and fifty. In 1937 the government again recommended financially "uneconomic" training colleges for closure, but once again Hockerill escaped. In 1938 Miss Malden retired.
Although Hockerill College escaped closure in 1937, several other diocesan training colleges did not. Truro Diocesan Training College was one of those. Its Principal, Miss Pedder, however, was appointed to succeed Miss Malden, when she retired and she assumed her post in 1938. She brought with her a number of Truro students who joined the ranks at Hockerill. HOSA consented to join with the Truro Guild (the Truro Old Students Association) and from 1938 the magazine became known as HOSA (with Truro Guild) Magazine (D/EHk4/1/69ff). The College proceeded through the war coping with the exigencies of blackout and rationing. On 11 October 1940, however, Menet House and St Albans House were bombed and three students lost their lives, St Alban's House was completely demolished and Menet House was declared unsafe. The damage was extensive (D/EHk6/4/14-17, 6/9/12). Once the war was over the builders moved into Hockerill once more (see D/EHk2/2).
In 1952 the College celebrated its centenary, culminating in a service at All Saints conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a large banquet lunch. The students put on a play called the Smoking Flax. The Minister of Education also attended together with a host of past students (see D/EHk2/10/51, 6/5/1-6, 6/9/19,24-25. 6/10/2-3, 7/2/1-8)/ In 1966 Princess Margaret visited the College to open the buildings erected on the war damaged site. She was, however, taken ill in the middle of the visit and it had to be cut short. (See D/EHk2/10/54, 6/1/3, 6/5/7-8, 6/10/6, 7/2/9-10).
In 1969 the College began to try and get its students accepted for B.Ed courses and finally Cambridge University accepted them. The first and last graduation ceremony took place in 1978 (D/EHk7/3/16). By 1973 the College was once again fighting for survival, and a possible merger with Saffron Walden College was negotiated (D/EHk2/4/22-27) but this did not turn out to be a feasible proposition. Between 1974 and 1977 Balls Park College, Hockerill College and Wall Hall College combined to present proposals to the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) for an upgrading of the course (D/EHk2/8). However, in 1978 Hockerill College was closed and students and staff were transferred to the College of St Mark and St John at Cheltenham.
Minute books, log books, files, magazines, photographs, postcards and other material relating to Hockerill Training College, 1847-1978, deposited by the Clerk to the Trustees of Hockerill Education Foundation
D/EHk1 Governing bodies. These bodies, including the Provisional Committee and the House Committee, met first in London. The documents consist mainly of minute books belonging to the various committees and sub-committees, although all the correspondence received by the governors of Hockerill College is in this section too.
D/EHk2 Administration of the College. This section has been divided into sixteen sub sections dealing with the various aspects of college administration.
D/EHk2/1 The documents here consist of the minutes and reports presented to the internal boards and committees on a college-wide basis. Departmental meetings are to be found in the relevant departmental sections.
D/EHk2/2 The documents in this section contain all the material (except photographs) relating to buildings and maintenance. These include specifications for much of the war damage repair as well as later material.
D/EHk2/3 This section contains all the financial material relating to the College between 1899-1971.
D/EHk2/4-6 These sections contain the separate filing systems of the Principal (D/EHk2/4), the Vice-Principal (D/EHk2/5), and the Academic Registrar (D/EHk2/6). Any file that could be directly attributed has been assigned a place. Files that had no indication of their, provenance have been placed in one of two sections, D/EHk2/11 or 2/12. The only files that have survived here are files that were current in 1978. D/EHk2/5 presents a unique problem in that as the closure drew near staff began to leave and were not replaced. Their duties were taken over by the remaining staff. The Dean of Students became Vice-Principal in this way and did not maintain a separate filing system. Therefore the Vice-Principal's section contains records of the Dean of Students too.
D/EHk2/7 These documents deal with all aspects of academic planning to examination papers and work sheets, including teaching practice reports and mark sheets.
D/EHk2/8 This section contains only the printed submissions of Balls Park College, Hockerill College and Wall Hall College to the Council for National Academic Awards.
D/EHk2/9 These documents were produced by the Chapel Committee and there are fixtures of the Chapel including a book of common prayer.
D/EHk2/10 These documents were produced by the librarian and include the Library Committee minutes as well as stock lists and bibliographies.
D/EHk2/11 All records relating to staff including staff handbooks and a register of staff beginning in 1898.
D/EHk2/12 All records relating to students including the original College register (1852-1873), student lists, photographs of every student in the years 1968-1975, student accommodation, student handbooks and the records (mainly financial) of the Students' Union.
D/EHk2/13 These documents were collected by the Head of the History Department and consist mainly of projects completed by students.
D/EHk2/14 This consists of the minute book of the Mathematics Departmental meeting.
D/EHk2/15 This section consists of work presented in the Art and Design Department by students.
D/EHk2/16 This section contains all the papers relating to the administration of the College which were not large enough to merit a section of their own.
D/EHk3 Practising Schools. This section is subdivided into three sub sections, D/EHk3/1 contains all the logbooks of the three practising schools, D/EHk3/2 contains the managers' minutes and D/EHk3/3 correspondence and application forms.
D/EHk4 Hockerill Old Students Association (HOSA). This section is subdivided into two subsections. D/EHk4/1 contains all the HOSA magazines and D/EHk4/2, minute books, addresses and correspondence.
D/EHk5 Printed material. All the printed material in the deposit, books and articles are in this section. Section D/EHk5/1 includes all material produced by members of staff or students at Hockerill College, and section D/EHk5/2 contains the other printed material.
D/EHk6 Audio visual material, and press cuttings. As far as possible the items have been broken down into specific subject groups. However, the College mounted several exhibitions and these contained many mounted photographs. These have been kept together in the order they were used in the exhibition although they have been removed from the boards. Much of the visual material (photographs and sketches) was donated to the College by former students or their relatives and where provenance is known a note is made on the list.
D/EHk7 This section contains all items that were not large enough to merit a section for themselves.
D/EHk7/1 Contains a variety of items donated by old students including beautifully illustrated nature notebooks, teachers' certificates and specimens of needlework amongst others.
D/EHk7/2 Contains items relating to special events.
D/EHk7/3 Contains programmes and tickets for college events.
D/EHk7/4 Other miscellaneous items.
D/EHk7/5 Contains all artefacts found in the collection consisting mainly of badges and printing blocks.