THIS advertisement for Rookwood House School is taken from Kelly’s Directory of Andover 1938.

It was during the school’s early days before it moved to the building next to Beech Hurst, in Weyhill Road.

This former site at No 4 Western Road is now the home to Andover’s Royal British Legion.

Andover Advertiser: A 1938 advertisement for Rookwood HouseA 1938 advertisement for Rookwood House (Image: Contributed)

The first principal was Miss Stainton who opened the school in 1934.

PNEU stood for Parents National Education Union.

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The education method laid down by this organisation was a rigid one, whereby the syllabus was exactly the same throughout the country so that pupils who had to move schools frequently could pick up from any new school exactly where they left off.

Even if they moved abroad, pupils could receive the same syllabus through the post.

It gave little initiative to teachers as the subjects covered were set in stone for each term, even so far as the number of textbook pages that had to be covered but it was a solid and dependable means of education.

Miss Stainton stayed as principal until 1942 when it was taken over by Miss Kathleen Tanner, a maths and music teacher already at the school, who was to lead Rookwood for the next 40 years, including the move to new premises where it remains today.

Miss Tanner was also the driving force behind the expansion that subsequently took place.

Presumably, on assuming the headship, she discontinued the PNEU method of education initiated by Miss Stainton.

The building shown here was not new in 1934 when Rookwood House School was opened.  

The 1894 Ordnance Survey map of Andover shows no buildings on that side of Western Road beyond The Knoll —  later the Central Hotel — but it is clearly marked on the following 1910 map, as are several other buildings recently constructed.

By then, Alexandra Road had also been laid out as a building estate and gradually the plots would fill up.

Many of these new houses were sizable constructions, destined to be occupied by the more well-to-do residents of the town, many of whom were councillors, shop proprietors or both.

Interestingly, the name Rookwood or Rookwood House was given to 4 Western Road from the outset.

The earliest resident I could trace here was grocer Henry Edwards who was certainly in residence by 1903 but was living at Barton House at the bottom of Winchester Street when the 1901 census was taken.

He had a large shop on the opposite side of the street, then well-established as Edwards and Barnard, though it had been just Henry Edwards from 1875 until the partnership with Barnard was formed around 1900.

Both Barton House and the shop buildings opposite, still stand today, although the ground floor arrangement of premises has changed.

Owners of shops and businesses were the natural breeding ground for council membership; therefore, it is no surprise to find Henry Edwards on the council by the 1880s, and serving as mayor in 1887-88 and 1896-97.

Retirement from the council soon afterwards and going into partnership with Barnard, may also have coincided with buying newly-built Rookwood House.

The Edwards family stayed there for less than 10 years and by 1911 he and his wife had moved to ‘Moness’ in Alexandra Road.

The next occupant of the house was Bridge Street corn merchant, James Compton Reeks, another mayor of the town in 1906-7 and 1910-11.

There is a poignant photograph of the mayor and mayoress during the very wet 1911 coronation celebrations with their daughter Eileen who was to catch a chill on that day and die a few days later.

The Reeks family moved out around 1918, and in June 1920 Rookwood House was put up for auction, along with Barton House, by the trustees of Edwards’ will.

He had died in 1916 and his wife three years later.

During the 1920s, Rookwood House became a dental surgery under Jonathan Baron Morrish.

Possibly Morrish was Andover’s first registered dental surgeon and it would be interesting to know the demographics of his clients.

This was of course long before the advent of the NHS with dental services available to all.

Morrish was a Cornishman, trained at Guy’s Hospital in London, and appears in Andover about the year 1923.

He stayed a few years before moving back to Cornwall, where he died in 1948.

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Dentistry must have been reasonably profitable in Andover because he was replaced by another dentist, Arthur Rice, who lived at Rookwood House from 1927 but whose surgery was at 19 High Street.

By 1931, Mr and Mrs Rice had gone to live at No 19, presumably above the surgery.

Briefly, during the early 1930s, bank manager George Loughnan and his wife Nina Mara moved into Rookwood House but subsequently went to Winchester Road.

After that, it must have become Rookwood House School.

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