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Special schools

Schools N to W

Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (previously the Norwich Blind Institution)

The Norwich Blind Institution, later known as the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, was based in Magdalen Street and incorporated a school.

The school was established following the Elementary Education (Blind and Deaf Children) Act of 1893 and closed in 1900.

Blind children were then educated at the Horn’s Lane school (see the previous chapter).

  • For records of the Norwich Association for the Blind, which mainly include minutes, visitors’ books and photographs, 1805-1981, see list SO 159.
  • There is a plan of The Norwich Blind Institution, 1889, in the Norwich City Engineer’s records. See N/EN/12/1/1783.
  • For later plans of The Norwich Blind Institution, 1936-67, in the records of H C Boardman, architects, see list BR 35.
  • For a history of the Norwich Blind Institution, see F Meeres, One Man’s Vision: The Story of the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, 1805-2005 (Norwich, 2005).

The Orthopaedic Hospital School, Melton Lodge, Great Yarmouth

This opened on 29 May 1929. By September 1960, pupil numbers had been in steady decline for some time and the school closed on 16 December 1960.

  • For records of Melton Lodge Orthopaedic Hospital School, see Y/ED 414-417. They include a log book, 1929-60, an admission register, 1935-60 and sales accounts for the school, 1929-60.
  • For records about the school building and capital projects, see Y/ED 785.
  • There are county architect’s plans of this school, references C/AR 1/50, 1935 and C/AR 1/740-751, 1935-40.
  • For minutes of the Norfolk County Council, Melton Lodge sub-committee, 1935-48, see references C/C 10/365-366.

Sidestrand Hall Special School

The Norfolk education committee opened Sidestrand Hall, on the coast near Overstrand, in 1950.

The committee’s report, Education in Norfolk, 1950-1960, notes that it was a boarding school for 89 boys and girls with learning difficulties.

There is still a school at Sidestrand Hall, which is now attended by boys and girls, aged seven to 16, with moderate learning difficulties.

It maintains its own school records which are not held by us.

The Watts Naval Training School, North Elmham

The Watts Naval Training School was originally known as the Norfolk County School.

It was established and opened in 1873 for the sons of farmers and artisans.

It closed in 1895, but was re-established by Edmund Hannay Watts in 1901 and repaired by his son, Sir Fenwick Shadforth Watts.

The school became a Dr Barnardo’s home in 1903 following the death of Edmund Hannay Watts and was formally opened in 1906.

It accommodated about 300 boys who were trained for a future life in the Royal or Merchant Navy. The school estate consisted of about 54 acres, including playing fields and gardens.

There is an article about the history of the school in the magazine of the Watts Naval Training School, Elmham, Jack Tar, (July 1937), see PD 209/471.

It ceased to be a sea school in 1949, but continued as a Barnardo’s home until it closed in December 1953.

Few records of the school are held at the NRO, apart some admission registers.

  • For admission registers of the Watts Naval Training School, 1912-32, see C/ED 4/ 2-6
  • Barnardo’s keep records about children in their care and advice can be obtained from the Barnardo’s Family History Service