Shaftesbury Junior School

We care, we share, for the future we prepare

The School's History

Shaftesbury Junior School


Shaftesbury Junior School has a long tradition of providing a good education for all, extending back to the Victorian period and we wanted to share some of the history that has brought us here today.


Shaftesbury opened as a temporary school in 1886 but what was here before us?


The Westcotes area was formerly one of the granges (farms) belonging to the Abbey of Leicester.  In the 1500's, it was leased by the Abbot and Convent to John Ruding, in whose family it remained until the 1800's.  It was sold to Thomas Freer in 1821 whose son sold it to the last owner, Joseph Harris in 1843.  The Harris family lived in Westcotes House, a mansion situated approximately where Cranmer Street is now (see below).  


Westcotes House circa 1730 


It was Joseph Harris's son, also named Joseph Harris who sold the land that the school is built on for £3,000.  At the time, he lived in Eastbourne and was responsible for building and endowing the Church of the Martyrs.  He also donated the land on which the library on Narborough Road was built.  A plaque commemorating Rev. Joseph Harris can be found in the Church of the Martyrs today.


The original plans for the 'temporary' school can be seen below.  The name of the school was changed to Shaftesbury in honour of Lord Shaftesbury who had died a year earlier (in 1885).  


Copy of original plans for the school

The school still holds the original log books from when the school opened.  Below is the first entry for the new school in 1886 which gives details of some of the members of staff.


Log book entry