Created By: ODHS
The Olney Centre was, unsurprisingly, a former school which, during its existence from the 1920s to the 1970s, went through a series of names, such as Olney Council School, Junior School and Primary School.
This school was the only 'council' school in town until the Senior School at the top of Yardley Road/ Moores Hill was built around 1930. At this time the school became Olney Junior School/ Olney Primary School and accommodated children in seven classrooms, around 35 in a class, between the ages of rising 5s to 11 years. The infants, aged from 5 to 7 years, occupied the three classrooms at the front of the building, whilst the juniors, aged 8 to 11years, occupied the four classrooms towards the rear of the building. The classrooms ran off the school's central Main Hall.
During a period in WW2, children and their teachers from London were evacuated to Olney to take refuge from the blitz. The consequential pressure on classroom space forced the school to run a double day shift, the locals attending school in the morning and the evacuees in the afternoon. Apparently the children didn't complain about attending school for only half the day!
Incidentally the smart structured garden in the front of the building was developed from the infant's playground. Two playgrounds were provided at the rear of the building to separate the junior boys from the girls which now act as a car park for the Centre.
After new additional schools were built to cater for the increase in Olney's population in the 1960s and 70s the school was closed and later developed into the very successful town community centre it has now become.
.Walk about another 100 metres further up the street to Cobbs Garden.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Olney High Street - Heritage Trail