Our History

History of Shirley Infant School

The first school known as Shirley National School was set up in 1837 in Winchester Road on land opposite the end of Wordsworth Road. By 1859 the school had over 400 pupils and had become very crowded.  So, in 1867 Nathaniel and Catherine Jefferys who were generous benefactors to the school donated land on the corner of Wilton Road and Bellemoor Road to the church wardens of St James Church for a larger school to be built.

Another benefactor to the school was General Russell who on the 22nd June 1888 donated 14 dresses in green serge and 50 yards of grey serge for the poor children of the school and these became the school colours.

As was typical of Victorian schools it was divided into three sections, Infants, Boys and Girls and it served a very large area covering Bassett, Shirley Warren, and Freemantle. Because of this the school was overcrowded right from the start until other schools opened in the area. In 1912 the school was demolished and replaced by the present Shirley School.

Nathaniel Jefferys who was great grandson of Judge Jefferys lived in Hollybrook House built on part of the former Shirley Common. The estate consisted of 54 acres north of Winchester Road between Lordswood and Malvern Road. Hollybrook House itself was sited in the area of the modern Linford Crescent. The gates still stand in Seagarth Lane and the carriageway to the house can still be seen.

In 1910 the Board of Guardians acquired the house and in 1912 opened it as a children’s home. The house was then demolished in 1952.

Nathaniel Jefferys died in 1873 and was interred in the catacombs of St James Church with which he had so closely been identified. Jefferys gave the site on which the Church is built in 1835 to serve the growing population of Shirley.