The Catholic Parishes of Barking & Ilford Lane, Diocese of Brentwood, Reg. Charity No. 234092

St. Joseph Catholic Primary School

St Joseph's school has its roots going back to 1856. Fr. James McQuoin (from Stratford) of the Archdiocese of Westminster had placed great emphasis upon the work of the schools of the mission. He was keen to establish a chapel-of-ease in the outlying parts of his mission. It appears that there was already a small, makeshift Catholic school at Barking by the time Father McQuoin took charge at Stratford in 1856. On 29 December 1856 a plot of land on Station (now Linton) Road, which was one of the new streets laid out to the west of Barking Station was set aside for a new school. Lord Petre had purchased the freehold of a plot of land on which a church and presbytery might eventually be built. The first building to be erected was a schoolroom which would serve as a chapel until the resources to build a permanent church became available

In 1926 work commenced on a new school, designed by Mr T.H.B. Scott. It was built to accommodate the junior and infant children from the existing school next to the St Mary & St Ethelburga church, leaving the latter to cater for children aged from eleven to fourteen years. St Joseph's School, Morley Road, was opened in 1927.

By 2 March 1930, when Bishop Doubleday made a visit to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, he was informed that the two Catholic schools in Barking (St Joseph's School, and early in 1928 St Ethelburga's School, Linton Road, which was reorganized as a senior school) were educating nearly 540 pupils.

On the night of Saturday 20 April 1941 St Joseph's School was destroyed in an Air raid as part of the Second World War. As a result of the loss of the school in Morley Road, at the end of April 1941 the Junior and Infant Sections were re-housed in St Ethelburga's School (which was eventually re-named 'St Joseph's'). This meant that the school premises in Linton Road became overcrowded, especially as children continued to return to Barking from evacuation zones despite the danger at home. On Tuesday 23 April 1941, just three days after the destruction of St Joseph's, Canon Cameron was able to inform Bishop Doubleday that 181 children were now being accommodated in Linton Road. Of the remains of the school property in Morley Road, only the Mass & Altar things, the Registers & Log Book could be salvaged.

Building work on the new school had begun on 9 January 1967. On 13 January 1967 the Secretary of State for Education and Science signed the official order for the transfer of St Joseph's Junior and Infant School to a three-acre site in Heath Street (St Paul's Road/Gascoigne Road), where it would be known as St Joseph's Primary School (the official address was Gascoigne Road). Building operations were conducted by Messrs Haines & Warwick under the direction of the architects' practice of Scott & Jacques (successor to T.G. Birchall Scott). The new school opened in February 1968, when the Headmaster (Mr J. Smith), staff and children vacated the premises in Linton Road, and building work was finally completed in February 1969. Meanwhile, it had been announced that St Ethelburga's Secondary School was to close in July 1971 as part of the diocesan re-organization scheme whereby both Bishop Ward School and Sacred Heart School would adopt the comprehensive system of education.

School website:

Some interesting Events/Facts:

On Friday 1 September 1939, two days before the actual declaration of war, the evacuation plan was put into operation for the children of St Ethelburga's and St Joseph's Schools. A total of 155 pupils travelled from Paddington Station to Oxford, and from here they were taken by bus to the village of Chinnor in Oxfordshire. The children were accompanied by teachers from both schools, although Miss Lyons, Headmistress of St Joseph's School, duly returned to Barking.

In July 1954, the War Damage Commission agreed to compensate for the loss of the school in Morley Road. But refused to grant a cost of works payment for St Joseph's School if it was rebuilt on another site. Bishop Beck and Canon Dacey persuade the authorities; the Local Education Authority & Ministry of Education to have the War Damage Commission agree on the new location (i.e. Heath Street). Later in October 1955 the War Damage Commission paid twice the original amount agreed as compensation

Reference: The Catholic Parish of Saints Mary & Ethelburga, Barking written by Father Stewart Foster