History of The Germain Rooms
The building known as the Germain Rooms was built c. 1718-19 as a Charity School under the terms of the will of Sir John Germaine of Drayton House, who died in 1718. He left £1000 to be invested to provide £50 a year to maintain the school. In 1725 this was augmented with a further £40 a year deriving from the lease of the Rectory of Ringstead by order of Lady Elizabeth Germaine, his widow.
Attached to the school was added an existing cottage for use of the master. Over the doorway is a stone shield carved with the coat of arms of Sir John and Lady Elizabeth. The original deed states that on 1st May each year 20 poor children from Lowick, Islip and Slipton should be provided with clothes: green cloth coats with pink collar and white buttons, green caps with pink border and white ribbons, shoes, stockings, shirts and neckcloths for the boys, and green stiff gowns with linen coifs, smocks, aprons, shoes and stockings for the girls. £20 per year was provided for the wages of the master who taught them to read and write and do accounts, with the aim that the boys should into an apprenticeship and the girls should go into trade or service. The accounts were to be prepared by the Steward to the Drayton Estate which would then be authorised by the owner of Drayton. It was reformed under the various Charity Acts and re-named the Germain Educational Foundation. It still exists although its finances are now considerably diminished.
There are only a few references in the Drayton Archive prior to 1770 from when there are a number of bills and accounts, The master in 1770 was Samuel Oakley who was there until his death in 1807. In 1770 it is recorded that there were 14 boys and 13 girls and a tailor named Kemptston made 27 suits of clothes. The original roof was thatch and there are records of it being repaired or redone in 1772 and 1775. By 1780 the number of children had fallen to 20. In 1790 a "Necessary House" (toilet) was built and thatched and there was a well and a pump, in 1797 a School of Industry was set up, using part of the master's house where the children could be taught spinning knitting and sewing and it is noted they made stocking and gloves. This had its own master named Abbott. In 1808 Oakley was succeeded by Mrs Watts, who was succeeded in 1816 by Mrs Colston. In 1819 there were 12 boys and 8 girls being supported by the charity although there were other children being taught. There is then a gap in the surviving documents until 1831 when it is recorded that there were at the school 35 boys and 28 girls aged between 7 and 13, with the endowment providing for 20 boys and 8 girls. In 1834 when the master was Litchfield and the School of Industry was still in operation with a record of the making of shirts in 1844. There then were a succession of masters: 'W.J. Creswick 1847; James (from Cornwall) 1851; Fairman 1858; White 1863; Appleyard 1868; Randall 1870. A Walker's Patent Stove was fitted in 1862 and the school room was given a new floor in 1869, It is unclear when the roof was replaced bur in 1830 £109 was spent on repairs which might indicate a possible date and there is no mention of thatching after this date. At the time of the Education Act 1870 there were 52 children taught and a new room was added to the building in 1875 at a cost of £121.
The charity was reviewed again under the Education Act of 1902 but it continued to operate under the Education Acts until the school was closed in December 1963. Records of teachers that survive are: 1903-1920 J.W, Worthington as head teacher with Miss Ives as Assistant
who resigns in 1907; 1920 Miss Norah Jervis until her death in 1932, with Miss Height as Infant Mistress until 1922; Miss M. Walker 1932-1934; 1934-1963 Miss M. Palmer? There is also record of Mrs Curtis who in 1936 replaced Mrs Jacques; in 1946 Mrs Tivey; and in 1947 Mrs Mann, presumably assistant teachers.
In the 1930s a purpose-built Parish Hall had been built in Robbs Lane and the former school building remained empty after the closure of the school in 1963. In 1970 the Parish Hall was sold and converted into a residence and the rooms were set aside for village use.
By 2000 concerns were raised about the condition of the rooms and the school house, which had been let until 1997 but was in severe need of its services being replaced However, by this time there were not sufficient funds held by the Trust for the work to be carried out. A number of schemes for the restoration of the rooms were prepared and finally in 2015 with the aid of grants from WREN, Awards for All, and East Northants Community Fund the repair and refurbishment of the rooms together with the creation of an outside area and repairs to roofing was undertaken using both professional and volunteer labour.
History provided by Bruce Bailey, Historian and Archivist