The story of St Ann’s School and parish begins in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
Two prosperous London merchants, Mr John Robins and Mr Fowler Newsam made their fortunes trading with South American countries. Mr Robins retired in 1834 and settled in Watford.
Mr Newsam continued in business, becoming Director of the Globe Insurance Company, the National Bank and the Chartered Bank of Australia. In 1841 he took up residence in a large house at Stamford Hill, opposite the present St. Ignatius Church.
Mr Robins’ only son, John William Robins lived with Fowler Newsam while his parents were in South America. In 1846 he married Mr Newsam’s only daughter Emily Mary Newsam. John and Emily moved into a big house on part of the land that is now occupied by St. Ann’s hospital. To their great sorrow, they were unable to have children.
In 1856 Emily suffered a severe illness and on her recovery her parents wished to offer thanks to God. They asked Emily what she would like them to do. Emily asked her father to build a school for the poor children in the area.
So on her 33rd birthday her father presented her with a cheque for £500 for this purpose. Emily laid the foundation stone and the school was opened on the 1st November 1858. It was a mixed school for boys, girls and infants. It was called “The Hermitage School” after the hermitage that existed in the High Road.
This area of Tottenham was still the countryside, with cows grazing in the fields nearby, so the school was referred to as a “Country School.”
Fowler Newsam then paid for a church to be built across the road from the school, and a new parish was formed. He paid for a parsonage to be built too, so that the vicar could live next to the church.
As there were so many pupils who wanted to attend the school he paid for a new school building. The school was divided into a Boys’ and Girls’ School.
Finally he paid for the Infant School which was housed on the same side of the road as the church, but a little further away.
Important dates in the history of the school:
1858: The Hermitage School opened for boys, girls and infants
1861: St. Ann’s church was built
1863: St. Ann’s Boys’ School opened. The original building was used as a Girls’ School.
1871: The Hermitage Infants’ School was opened.
1902 : Education for pupils in Church schools became free.
1917 – 18 : School was closed on a number of occasions due to air raids during the War
1933 : The school ceased to exist as separate Boys’ and Girls’ Schools and became a Mixed school again.
1934: The school was divided into a Senior Mixed School and a Junior Mixed School
1939: The Senior Mixed School was closed and older pupils transferred to neighbouring senior schools.
1939: When War began the children were evacuated to Peterborough and Huntingdonshire and the school was closed.
1940: The school was reopened for children who returned from evacuation. Two air raid shelters were built in the playground.
1944: After the Education Act of 1944 the schools were reorganised and the Infant and Junior Mixed School were joined to form a Primary School.
1951: St. Ann’s School was granted Voluntary Aided Status.
1962: The first phase of the new school building was completed, including the hall and kitchens. A statue of St. Ann and Mary was placed outside the entrance.
1967: The new block of classrooms was completed and all pupils moved into them. One of the old buildings was demolished and a car park built in its place.
1977: The new Nursery Block was opened.
1997: The restored Fowler Newsam Hall was re-opened by the Rev. Richard Charters, Bishop of London.
2003: The new ICT suite opened.
2005: The new training room was opened.
2009: The new school kitchen was opened.
2010: St. Ann’s began it's partnership with St. Michael’s in Wood Green.
2011: The new Nursery Block was opened.
2013: The school converted to an academy school as part of the new LDBS Academies Trust