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History of Orwell Park School
1868 - 1939

Orwell Park Observatory is part of Orwell Park School, which licenses its use to OASI.

The school was founded in Lowestoft in 1868 by the Reverend Walter George Wilkinson (1830-1906). The school was initially called Crespigny House, and Wilkinson was first Headmaster [1]. Records reveal the subsequent history of the school as follows.

1881 Census

The 1881 census, taken while the school was still called Crespigny House, recorded the following on the night it was taken.

Name Age Position Duties Place of Birth
Walter G Wilkinson 51 Head Schoolmaster Godshill, Hampshire
Charlotte 39 Wife Charlton, Wilts
Christabel Emra 9 Daughter Scholar Aldeburgh
Maurice 7 Son Scholar Aldeburgh
Emma Green 23 Assistant Teacher of music Northamptonshire
Caroline Ringer 32 Servant School matron Norfolk
Elizabeth Ellis 29 Servant Cook Harwich, Essex
Sarah Button 19 Servant Housemaid Leiston
Jane Read 18 Servant Housemaid Leiston
Jane Woodbridge 19 Servant Kitchenmaid Blaxhall
Emma Harvey 14 Servant Nursemaid Ipswich
Plus 27 male scholars, age 9 to 14

The census records individuals present in a particular building on the night it is taken, so it is reasonable to assume that those identified above as scholars are boarding pupils, and that day pupils would not have been recorded.

1891 Census

By the time of the 1891 census, the school had changed its name to Eaton House. The following persons were recorded.

Name Age Position Duties Place of Birth
Walter G Wilkinson 61 Head Clark in holy orders and head of preparatory school Godshill, Isle of Wight
Charlotte 49 Wife Charlton, Wilts
Christabel Emra 19 Daughter Aldeburgh
Louis Umfreville # 9 Son Scholar Aldeburgh
Rebecca Forbes 26 Teacher of English and classes etc Scotland
Torel John Groche 29 Teacher of classes in French etc Jersey
John Tothill 20 Teacher of classes, drawing etc Devonshire
Caroline Ringer 42 Servant Matron Nottingham
Agnes Elliston 38 Servant Cook Ipswich
Mary Corneby 26 Servant Parlourmaid Suffolk
Louisa Hammond 24 Servant Housemaid Cambridgeshire
Esther Pallant 19 Servant Housemaid Aldeburgh
Elizabeth Corneby 20 Servant Kitchenmaid Suffolk
Caroline Warren 18 Servant Nursemaid Ipswich
Plus 28 male scholars, age 9 to 15

# See Wikipedia article on "Louis Wilkinson" (1881-1966).

1901 Census

In 1901, the school was still known as Eaton House. The census recorded the following.

Name Age Position Duties Place of Birth
Walter Wilkinson 71 Head Clergyman (CoE), schoolmaster Godshill, Isle of Wight
Charlotte 59 Wife Charlton, Wilts
Maurice 27 Son Schoolmaster Aldeburgh
Francis Glass 25 Schoolmaster Marlborough, Wilts
Edward Tupper 23 Schoolmaster Wimbledon
Edith Maltravers 28 Schoolmistress Melksham, Wilts
Elizabeth Stewart 59 Servant Cook Baylham
Winifred Roberts 24 Servant Matron Merionethshire
Annie Bloomfield 24 Servant Housemaid Benhall
Annie Everett 17 Servant Housemaid Bedingham, Nfk
Edith Bloomfield 19 Servant Housemaid Rickinghall
Gertrude Cooper 15 Servant Kitchenmaid Aldeburgh
Thomas Lister 14 Servant Page Hitcham
Plus 29 male pupils, age 9 to 14

1911 Census

By 1911, the school had again changed its name, this time to Aldeburgh Lodge, and Walter Wilkinson's son, Maurice (1874-1943), was headmaster. The census recorded the following.

Name Age Position Duties Place of Birth
Maurice Wilkinson 37 Head Headmaster Aldeburgh
Alice Wilkinson 31 Wife Birmingham
Violet Wilkinson 7 Daughter Aldeburgh
Mark Wilkinson 3 Son Aldeburgh
Noel Wilkinson 2 Son Aldeburgh
Gerald Dale 51 Assistant schoolmaster Blackheath
Edith Tillott 32 Matron Loddon
Mildred Barnett 24 Servant Nurse Raynham
Jane Dale 17 Servant Nurse E. London
Edith Goddard 31 Servant Cook Bury St. Eds
Edith Gamble 22 Servant Kitchen maid Ipswich
May Weaver 19 Servant Parlour maid Metfield
Ellen Sawyer 17 Servant Dormitory maid Tunstall
Maud Bailey 14 Servant Between maid Rickinghall
Edith Cattermole 22 Servant House maid Glemham
Plus 19 male boarders, age 7 to 13

1939 School Register

In 1936, the school purchased Orwell Park from the Pretyman family and, in the following year, relocated from Aldeburgh to the new location, changing its name to Orwell Park School [2]. Two years later, in 1939, the school register recorded the following.

Name Date of Birth Duties
Maurice Wilkinson 20 March 1874 School teacher
Alice Wilkinson 04 September 1879 Unpaid domestic
John Spurgeon #1 02 November 1874 Headmaster
Dora Spurgeon 31 March 1875 Unpaid domestic
Noel Wilkinson #2 24 December 1908 School teacher
Philip Sidney 13 October 1905 School teacher
Brian Belle #3 07 April 1914 School teacher
Edward Scholefield 13 June 1908 School teacher
Marjorie Hagger 21 October 1909 School teacher
Edith Tillott 17 March 1879 School matron
Barbara Stearn 27 May 1919 School matron
Betty Ruffles 04 May 1918 School matron
Joyce Manning 18 October 1913 Lady cook
Catherine Macauley 12 September 1913 Head parlour maid
Margaret Balls 25 September 1916 Head dormitory maid
Megan Davies 20 January 1911 2nd Dormitory maid
Marjorie Rivron 26 October 1923 3rd Dormitory maid
Frances Smith 04 July 1920 1st Kitchenmaid
Marjorie Newson 16 February 1919 Housemaid
Peggy Soanes 14 September 1914 Housemaid
Plus 22+ "at school"

#1, Spurgeon, John Frederick, Joint Headmaster 1919-1946, died, Ipswich 17 July 1946 [3].

#2, Wilkinson, Noel Hawtrey, (born Aldeburgh, 24 December 1908, died 6 Market Place, Hadleigh, 23 October 1983). Co-author of the Dragon Book of Verse, Clarendon Press, 1956, with Wilkinson, William Alexander Chaplin [4]. Noel taught at the Dragon School 1931-35. He was Headmaster of Orwell Park School 1947-69 [5].

#3, Belle, Brian (1914-2007), Headmaster of Orwell Park School 1969-79 [6]. Belle was the first president of OASI, serving for the year 1973 [7].

Trade Directories

Information from Kelly's Directory for Suffolk





Aldeburgh Lodge Preparatory School (M E Wilkinson, MA, J F Spurgeon BA #1, & N H Wilkinson, MA principals).
Aldeburgh Lodge Preparatory School (M E Wilkinson, MA, J F Spurgeon, BA, & A F Saunders, BA principals).
Aldeburgh Lodge Preparatory School (M E Wilkinson, MA, J F Spurgeon, BA, & A F Saunders, BA principals).
Wilkinson (Maurice Emra, MA), Spurgeon (John Frederick, BA) & Saunders (Arnold Frederick, BA) #2, Aldeburgh Lodge Preparatory School.
Wilkinson (Maurice Emra, MA) & Glass (Rev Francis James Welch, MA) #3, Aldeburgh Lodge Preparatory School.
Wilkinson Rev Walter George, MA, prep. schl, Eaton Ho.
Wilkinson Rev Walter George, MA, prep. schl, Eaton Ho.
Wilkinson Rev Walter George, MA, preparatory boarding school, Eaton House.
Wilkinson Rev Walter George, MA, preparatory day and boarding school, Crespigny House.

#1. John Frederick Spurgeon, Aldeburgh Corporation Councillor 1921-22 [8].

#2. Arnold Frederick Saunders, born Reigate, Surrey, 1865, died Aldeburgh, 1950.

#3. Francis James Welch Glass, born Marlborough, Wilts, 1875, died Dersingham, Norfolk 1968.

Footnotes And References




Private correspondence between OASI Secretary, Roy Gooding, and Noel Wilkinson, January-February 1982.


Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, volume 2, John Venn, p. 612.


https://www.dragonschool.org/flippingbooks/The_OD_Issue_6/The_OD_Issue_6/assets/common/downloads/publication.pdf page 25.


Ipswich Evening Star, 07 August 1974.




OASI Newsletter, February 1973, second page (numbered p. 1).


Kelly's Suffolk 1922, p. 26.

Bill Barton, FRAS