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Beech Hill Primary School

History of Beech Hill 

The School

Beech Hill Council Mixed School was created in 1910 and divided into separate boys and girls schools in 1914. In the week of its opening on 24th May, 1910. 232 pupils between the age of nine and thirteen were admitted from Dunstable Road School.

In 1966 the Boys and Girls schools were joined to become a mixed comprehensive school (Beech Hill High) The school closed in 1985. The site was redeveloped and then reopened as Central Luton Community Infant and Junior Schools, which then became Beech Hill Primary.

The images shown are extracts from The Boys School log book. They show entries made during the time of the war.

The school was heavily affected by poor attendance, illnesses such as diphtheria and influenza were rife in the area and poor weather often kept pupils away. Other, more unusual events, such as Sunday School Treats and the arrival of the circus into town are also cited as reasons for low numbers. Towards the end of the war, many pupils are absent because they have been sent to queue for food for their families.

While the entries are brief, they do give some insight into how the school was affected during the war.




Fig. 1 Two entries from the headteacher’s journal during the war.

World War 1 – the photograph below was taken in the playground at Beech Hill Primary with Royal Army Medical Corps soldiers during World War 1.

The Surrounding Area

Map of Luton and surroundings annotated with areas for billeting and parading gunners and drivers as well as the location of the camp in the area including Biscot Road, Leagrave Road, Denbigh Road, Cavendish Road, Kennington Road, Ascot Road, Beaumont Road and Holland Road; the map is noted as “specially prepared for the new Industries Committee of the Town Council and the Luton Chamber of Commerce and published by the Luton News with their Red Book and Almanac.

60x47cm approx.

Scale: 6 ins: 1 mile

Shown here are the full map and a cropped image showing the area around Beech Hill Schools (then Beech Hill Council Girls’ and Boys’ Schools).

Fig 2. The map of the Beech Hill area in 1916

As can be seen from the map, the schools were situated in the heart of Luton’s industrial quarter, with many famous firms close by:

  • Kents Works
  • Commercial Cars
  • H Brown & Sons Sawmills
  • CWS Cocoa Works
  • Davis Gas Stove Works

Many of the pupils attending the schools would have had family employed at one of these factories and they would have experienced the dramatic change in workforce and product experienced throughout and after the war.

The Football Ground of Luton Town FC had recently relocated from it’s Dunstable Road site, to Kenilworth Road. Many of the pupils (particularly the boys) would have watched matches at the new ground and would have been familiar with the players.

Beech Hill Primary School in the 1950’s

Mr C.H. Illsley was our headteacher during this time and we were fortunate to get pictures and documents from back then to showcase the events of the time.