Welcome to Richardson Endowed Primary School

School History

The school has an interesting history and an overview has been compiled by one of our Governors Stan Wilton. 




Our school began life as Smalley Richardson Endowed School and was a boys only school until July 1958.  Boys came to the school from Smalley and Horsley Woodhouse at the age of seven and stayed there until they left school unless they passed what was then called the Eleven Plus exam and they took up positions at Heanor Grammar School.

Smalley Richardson Endowed School began life in 1721 when the Richardson brothers of Smalley Hall, John and Samuel, built the school to provide education for the boys of Smalley and Horsley Woodhouse.  It was, of course, just a one room school in those days, and for many years after.

John and Samuel Richardson made their money from mining and selling coal and upon their deaths their respective wills contained an endowment of, what in those days, was a sizeable amount of money and some property, one of which was a farm, to enable the school to continue and to provide sufficient money for twelve poor scholars of the area to attend the school.

This endowment was, and still in, administered by Trustees who are appointed from the communities of Smalley and Horsley Woodhouse

In my days at the school there were, as today, no poor scholars, so each term all the pupils names were put into a draw and twelve scholars names drawn out to receive seven shillings and sixpence (37p). 

The Dix family, Mr H H Dix and his father before him were headteachers of the Richardson Endowed School for Boys for well over one hundred years between them, followed by Cyril Arme, up to the point when it ceased to be just a boys school in 1958.

When, three years ago, urgent repairs were needed to the school roof, the original Headmasters Quarters from the early days of the school were uncovered, and photographs of this are displayed around school.

Until 1895 the Headmaster of the school lived on the job, then, when the “poor cottages” of Smalley village were pulled down (they were adjacent to the school) the land was used to build a new School House for the Head Teacher.  This is the large house which stands next to the school.  It was sold for private occupation following the retirement of Cyril Arme in the early 1960’s.

Since then, new classrooms have been build on what was the old School Garden, and land purchased by the Local Authority beyond this to make a school playing field, although this land was, and still is, itemised in situ for the building of more classrooms – even possibly a new school altogether – when what we today call the “top school” is classed as unfit for use.