Back to school

The small white-painted, thatched School Room sits at the top of a valley at Glendurgan in Cornwall

Sitting at the top of one of Glendurgan's three valleys is a small thatched building. This recreation of the Fox family's first school at Glendurgan is still a place of learning - or you can simply enjoy the view.

For over fifteen years children from the local area, including some of Alfred and Sarah Fox's twelve sons and daughters, attended lessons in the School Room within Glendurgan garden.

" I hereby agree with Sarah Alfred Fox to undertake to teach the children at her school at Glendurgan to read, write, cypher, sew, knit and plait straw... "
- Lavinia Chinn, Schoolmistress, 1831

Sarah Fox was very upset when the school closed in 1846. Thirty years later a new school was built on the quay in Durgan village by her son-in-law Sir Joseph Pease. This more substantial building evolved into a reading room and is now a holiday cottage.

Recreating the School Room

By the year 2000 all traces of the School Room had vanished. We know that after the school closed it was used in conjunction with fruit growing in the garden and may have housed an apple press.

Thanks to the generosity of visitors and other donors we were able to recreate the building in 2002 with the help of local builders and schoolchildren who helped stamp down the cob walls. Luckily some of the windows from the original building had survived in storage. This enabled us not only to copy them for the remaining windows but also to have original parts of the old building in our new recreation.

School Room
A small white-painted, thatched building sits at the end of a path against evergreen bushes at Glendurgan in Cornwall

The School Room today

In this tiny little building today you'll find things to read, and simple lessons to test your knowledge.

On damp days it's a place to take shelter, on hot days it's lovely and cool. Being close to the Giant's Stride you can enjoy the shrieks of laughter and surprise coming from people enjoying the rope swing.

The School Room has a fine view down through one of the three valleys that make up Glendurgan garden.