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Devon County

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(Known in later years as Lapford Collegiate School)

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From "Memories of Old Lapford"

By E. W. Challice 1920

(Courtesy Devon County Council)

"William Clark, the principal and proprietor of the school gave one the impression of being austere and strict. Qualified teaching staff were employed, and Mr. Clarke also took his place in the classrooms. I remember a Mr. Johnson and later Mr. Alexander Snape. Mr. Snape took over the school from Mr. Clark and there were thirty or more pupils, day and boarders.

When an Act of Parliament imposed higher building standards on privately-run schools, many such establishments, being unable to conform, closed down - Lapford Collegiate was one such school to close. Mr. Alexander Snape entered and studied at the Bristol Congregational Institute and was later ordained; he went on to minister at a Congregational Chapel in the Midlands.

William Clark, now left with the buildings on his hands, employed a firm of builders from North Tawton to convert the property into three separate dwellings.

After the conversion, Edgar Clark, son of William, who had married Minnie Densham of Bury Barton, occupied the larger residential part. This part fronts on to the village street.
Lapford Academy exterior

The Old School House, Lapford

Formerly Lapford Commercial Academy

Formerly Captain Binney's House

The central detached house, which formerly held of the classrooms, was let to Captain Binney of the Royal Marine Reserve.

Formerly Captain Binney's house

The detached cottage became the home of Fred and Ada Ley. The only part of the buildings completely demolished was on the site between Binney's and Ley's which contained the boys' dormitory on the first floor; the ground floor was used for classrooms. Bare wooden stairs led up to the dormitory; its floor was also of elm planking and without any kind of carpeting or other covering.

The Leys' Cottage, Lapford

Formerly the cottage of Fred and Ada Ley

To me, the dormitory seemed cold and comfortless, perhaps Spartan, or "cold as charity" would be an apt description. Such conditions were not unusual in many of the cottages in the village, and as such, were accepted as normal.

I understand that on the end outside wall of Ley Cottage may be seen the initials, scratched in the wall surface, of boys who over the years had been sleeping in the dormitory."

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