The first Creekmouth School was formed, in the 1870s, by combining three houses in the middle of the ‘back row’, facing the river. Mr John Bennet Lawes furnished the two schoolrooms with desks & chairs and chalk boards for the children.
In the late 1890s the Barking School Board closed the little school, forcing the young village children to walk two miles, along a muddy track, to Westbury School in Barking.
They would arrive at school dirty and tired and, following a busy day of learning, have to make the long journey back to the village. In the winter months it would be dark by the time they reached home and, as the track was unlit, their journey became extremely treacherous.
Eventually, common sense would prevail and the Barking School board realised the village did indeed need its own school. Creekmouth Village School opened in 1902. It was re-organised for juniors and infants in 1925, but sadly closed in 1928 because of falling numbers.
The following recollections are from two early villagers who attended the school.
‘I went to Creeksmouth School when I was 4. The teachers I remember were: Mr Matthews, Miss Downs and Miss Debenham. During an epidemic of Scarlet Fever the school was taken over as a hospital because so many people in the village had it. My mum and two brothers were taken into the school but I had to go to Upney Hospital. The ambulance would drive up and down, taking people away. We had a blanket across the front door, soaked in disinfectant, until an ambulance could be spared to pick me up.
I don’t know when the school re-opened after the epidemic as I was sent to Westbury School and from there, when I was eleven, to Eastbury School.’ –GWEN SOPER, b. 1919
‘As far as I can remember I went to school when I was aged 3 and a half. Mum used to come over at lunchtime and bring me a biscuit and a cup of cocoa.
We had a teacher named Miss Adams. She was a tall, blonde lady, very attractive and a nice teacher. She was about to leave to get married when she died. She was only about 30 and she was buried at Rippleside cemetery. There was a glass globe put on the grave with a message: “From the Children of Creeksmouth School.” -JESSIE SLEIGHT, b. 1922