Mill Lane School

Mill Lane School was built by the Codnor United Methodists in 1872. They had previously held a Sunday School in the Methodist Chapel on Codnor Market place at the top of Heanor Road. However after making alterations to the interior of the chapel the building proved to be no longer suitable for Sunday School lessons. It was decided that a new building would be erected to accommodate the Sunday school and also fill the role of a day school during the week.  The trustees took advantage of a grant made available by the 1870 Education Act, which authorised the erection of schools teaching religion on a non-denominational basis. Sufficient funds were obtained to cover the overall cost, which was approx £950 and a plot of land was allocated on Mill Lane for the new school.

The architect was Mr George Eyre of Codnor and the contractor was Mr Brown of Kilburn. The foundations were prepared and the laying of the foundation stone took place on Tuesday 12th March 1872.

The foundation stone was laid by Mr John Ashworth Esq. of Rochdale, who also placed a glass bottle beneath the stone containing a document recording the names of the trustees and other relevant statistics to do with the building of the school.
Three other stones were also set into the wall in memory of the following trustees; William Langton, Thomas Steeples, William Bowler.

Mr John Ashworth Esq. 1813 – 1875 Was a preacher from Rochdale and a staunch teetotaller. He grew up in a very poor family and had little access to education. But in later life this encouraged him to help and educate the poor and he founded a chapel for the destitute in Rochdale.
He also became a successful author and his books were translated into many different languages.  

The school had capacity for 210 girls and boys and 140 infants, it was later enlarged in 1894 for use as an Infants school.

The school was eventually taken over by the County Council under the 1902 Education Act and became known as Codnor Council Infants School.
A temporary school building was used whilst the 1894 enlargements were taking place; this was later purchased by the Codnor United Methodist and erected across the road from the school.
The Sunday school eventually moved out of Mill Lane school and into the temporary building known locally as the “Tin Pans” were they stayed until its demolition in 1978.

Mill Lane school continued as an Infants school until the latter half of the 1960s when the infants moved up to the lower part of Whitegates school and Mill Lane school became a community centre know as Peverel House.

Fig.1 I have no date for this photo, but it could be pre 1894. It shows the original windows which were later replaced with the standard school type windows shown below.

Fig.2 Mill Lane School, Information needed for this photo.

Fig.3 Codnor Council Infants possibly 1915. 
Reginald Sharp (my grandfather)Second row, third from left. His mother used to comb his fringe so it looked like a butterfly.

Fig.4 Codnor Infants, Mill Lane School.  The board being held by the girl on front row reads "Codnor Council Infants Class 1".
Reginald Sharp front row, lefthand side. He was born 08/07/1908 so this photo would be approx 1914/15

Fig.5 Codnor Council Infants Class 4 1915, Mill Lane School.  

Information for this page was obtained from the following sources.

The Ripley Advertiser March 16th 1872

The Ripley Advertiser April 1872

History of Methodism and the Codnor Church, by Colin B Wood

The Heritage of Codnor & Loscoe, by Fred S Thorpe 1990


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