Paglesham VPA and Hockley Bell

Anyone got more information about these ?

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I spotted the attached (photos) in the Southend Standard of 1961 which I thought were of interest. The Paglesham VPA picture may be in Peter Thorogood's collection but I thought I would scan anyway. The Hockley Bell item was new to me but may be known to others – I wonder where it went?

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This page was added by Robert Stephen on 06/04/2015.
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As ever with newspapers they do like to exagerate a bit to make a story more interesting, either that or Mr. Colgan was not told the full story of the bell. In fact the bell weighs only eighty pounds. It was cast on December 2nd 1898 by John Taylor and Sons, Bellfounders of Loughborough, Leicestershire. The company still trades now.

It had been ordered for the school by the Reverend S. Maude, vicar of Hockley Church after the architects acting for the school, E.H. Hunter of Fenchuch Street, London, had obtained a quote for it. The cost quoted was One Shilling and One penny (1/1) per pound (llb) in weight of the bell, after it had been cast, machined, tuned and polished. As such the cost of the bell was £3..15..10p, (approximately £3..79p). The cost of delivery to Hockley Station, the headstock (the mounting for the bell) the clapper and the rope was another £1..15..00, making a total of £5..10..10d, (approximately £5..54p).

The bell was originally fitted at the old school in Church Road in 1899, and was then moved to the new Board School in Main Road after it opened in 1903. When this school was closed and reopened on a new site in Chevening Gardens in 1983 the bell was rehung inside the new school. It still hangs there now and was last rung (by me) during the summer of 2012 to mark the opening of the London Olympics, along with bells from all around the country.

In 1997 the school was having an extension built in the atrium area where the bell was hung, so I took the opportunity to take the bell down and have it refurbished. With advice from the bellfounders it was shot blasted and machine polished and then finally hand polished by me and still proudly hangs in the school hall.

The newspaper arcticle was quite right insamuch as the bell was rung to denote the start of the school day, breaks, lunch and the end of the day. It was hung quite low outside at the back of the main school building in one corner (facing the very old and grim toilet block at the edge of the playground). I started at the school in 1960 and when you finally went into Miss Moss' class, when you were about 9 or 10, I think, you took it in turns to go and ring the bell, as she seemed to be the school time keeper. I have rung it many times.

We lived in Folly Chase, about half a mile from the school, and my Mum always knew when we were on our way home as the bell could clearly be heard all over the area.

Miss Moss was deputy head of the school and taught there for over 50 years, starting as a very young student teacher. She is buried in St. Peters and St. Pauls graveyard, as is Mr. Colgan.

The school is quite unusual, in that since it moved to the Main Road site in 1903, there has only been six headteachers in all of the 113 years. Mr. Blackerby was the first, followed by Mr. Cooper, Mr. Colgan, Mrs. Arnold, Mr. Jones and currently Mrs. Heatherson.

For my and my familys part, I started at Hockley Primary School in 1960, and was followed over the years by my five younger sisters, and there was always one of us there. Before the youngest had left, I had been asked if I would become a school governor, because I was a past pupil. 35 years later I am still a governor and have been chair of the governing body for 28 years. In the meanwhile, 2 of my nieces and my 2 sons all attended the school and in September 2014 my great neice started at the school, and will be followed by her brother this year. My eldest sister was also a governor for many years. As such at least one of my family has been at the school as either a pupil or governor, continuously, for the past 56 years, and with the chance that this will continue for at least another 8 years. Once you get our family involved in something, you have a job to get rid of us!!!!!

Paul Taylor

By Paul Taylor
On 01/01/2016
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