In the old playground, you see a modern annexe for early years primary school children. There had been one before. In 1935, an annexe was built as an Infants Department but was demolished on the 1980s as a consequence of the redevelopment in the 60s and over the next two decades, which caused the school roll to fall. Substantial cracks appeared in the walls of the Infants Department caused by the heavy traffic on the newly-aligned Lindsay Road. It is ironic to consider the school was under threat of closure in the 1980s due to pupil numbers.
For centuries, The Free Fishermen’s Society of Newhaven had provided for education in the village.
The decision to build a new school was taken by a committee headed by Dr James Buchanan of North Leith Church, the foundation stone being laid in 1843. The architect, John Lessels, built the first part of the building which has the date plaques on it and now houses the school hall and classrooms above. This was originally all classrooms.
At the time there appears to have been five schools in the village but, bit by bit, the Victoria School was extended until eventually all the local children could be accommodated in one place. The building was further extended in 1874–75.
Victoria School, which eventually was a composite of three developments, opened to take boys only in 1844 eventaully taking in girls, too, in 1845, such was the demand. At first, it was a one storey building and extended again by architect, John Lessels, in 1861 with an additional two storeys. The school was once more extended in 1874 by building outwards to the east. This three storey high building is quite clearly defined, becoming obvious when you stand in the centre of the atrium and notice the decorative wrought-iron brackets which support the balcony that circumferences it. A further extension to the rear was undertaken in 1896.
At the time of its closure, many period pieces could be found throughout the building as can be seen in the images below, features such as the old telephone system used for intercommunication within the building, a rare example of a wrought-iron staircase, original Victorian radiators and wainscotting, a fire-alarm bell from the 30s that was used as a signalling system, too. Windows from the 1861 period on what was once then the east facing exterior are still in place over-looking the airy central hall. These windows were lost to within the building when the 1874 extension took place.