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Sydenham House (HT)

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About Sydenham House (HT)

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In 1808, a report on schools in Essex listed 4 schools in Rochford, plus a Sunday school. One of these schools was Mrs Anne Allen’s boarding school run from 28 South Street, as yet not known as Sydenham House. Mrs Allen continued to run her boarding school until 1845.

The building was named Sydenham House in 1858 when the school was re-opened by George Foster, who came from Sydenham in Kent. This school was definitely not intended for any “Tom, Dick or Harry” and wealthier people, including some tradesmen, from around the area would send their children here to be educated. A draper from Great Wakering is recorded as sending his son to Sydenham House School in 1864 for board and education.

15 years after George Foster re-opened the premises, Sydenham House School had a slight change of focus, becoming a girls-only school. Miss S Raynham had set up a school for young ladies in part of King’s Hill, making it available for both boarders and day pupils. She moved her school to Sydenham House in 1873, although may well have also continued using part of King’s Hill for a while longer. In addition to her standard board and education fees (£5.75 per quarter year for boarders and 1 Guinea per quarter for day scholars), Miss Raynham charged extra quarterly fees – for example a Guinea for Music, half a Guinea for French and half a Guinea for doing the laundry. It is interesting to see the continued use of pricing in Guineas even though the coin had been replaced as the major unit of currency in 1816. The name guinea was used to indicate the amount of 21 shillings (£1.05 in decimalised currency). The Guinea had an aristocratic overtone and hence the pricing would probably have appealed to the upper classes.

Sydenham House is a 2 storey Grade II listed building. Many features are from the late 18th century or possibly of earlier origin. It has a red brick frontage and plastered north wall. During the 19th century, an extension was made to support the needs of the boarding school. Number 30 South Street was part of this extension and number 32 may also have been. It is not known which of the above owners undertook the extension.

The 20th century saw Sydenham House return to private residence, as schooling became more formalised and accessible to everyone, thereby decreasing the demand for private boarding schools.

Address:28 South St
Postcode:SS4 1BQ
Categories:Point of Interest, Rochford

Sydenham House (HT) is included in the following trails:

Outer Heritage Trail

7 Centuries of Architecture