Saturday, 27 January 2007

Cliffe House

This picture of Cliffe House is taken from the elevated position of the Church yard and cuts off the ground floor! It is a formidable building that has just been renovated. It was built around 1820 by James Temple and was a school dwelling house for around 120 boys. Their class rooms and playground were in what was until recently The Cliffe Inn. In 1827 it was described as one of the best run commercial schools in Kent in Tones Table Book. One of the scholars was the Victorian artist W.P. Frith R.A. who stated in his memoirs that a number of French lads came to the School to learn English. Dr Temple was an important man in the village and was head of the secular arm of the Parish Council. He owned a great deal of land and erected Morley House (now part of Portal House) as a girl's residential school. The School closed in 1874 after Dr Temple's death and was sold to a Mr Cripps who converted it to a hotel. The hotel closed around 1968 and since then it has been a lodging house and the converted to private flats.

7 comments:

Alan said...

Excellent stuff Tony, many thanks indeed for posting this. All very interesting, and the info about the French boys matches with what I saw in the 1851 census. Do you have any idea if any records from the school have survived and are viewable?

Tony Morris said...

Hi Alan, I don't know. There is an active History Society in the village that I joined last month. I'll try to make enquiries and get bact to you. Do you want to e-mail me?

Alan said...

You have mail :-)

tut-tut said...

Even though you had to cut off the ground floor, the tree makes a great frame for the house.

Tony Morris said...

Thanks tut-tut, that's the way I saw it, it took a bit of maneuvering to get to the right place.

Katie said...

Hi Tony,
Thank you for this fantastic information about Cliffe House. I have been searching for information on this for some time as my father has a coin/token from this school that his father found in Redcliffe, QLD, Australia.

A description of the coin is as follows:
First side has a picture of the school (matching your post) with the words "Cliffe House School est. 1745. St Margarets near Dover"
The other side has the words "Half Penny Token" "payable by James Temple"

I believe there was also a Penny variety as well.

Can you help out with the dates? Is this refering to when the school was established or was there a second school?

We are very interested on any further history you can tell us about the school and James Temple.

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie
Just saw your post whilst preparing a short talk on the village schools of St Margaret's for a History Society talk next week. We have photos of the tokens but no actual token. Fascinating to hear one got to Australia. Any idea how? The Cliffe House Academy aka St Margaret's College or Cliffe House School was founded by John Youden in 1745 but these tokens were produced by Dr Temple who converted the boy's pocket money into tokens to spend in the village shops.It was sold to 1873 by the Temple's to Samuel Cripps who after a failed sale to another man for which he was tried for fraud, took it back and turned it into a hotel. His daughter, Eva, married Charles Groves and they ran the hotel until 1959. It was then known as the Cliffe Tavern and now the White Cliffs Hotel,although that part is only a part of the original school. Cliffe House, a grade 2 listed building, is now flats.If you google the hotel name you will see the latest views. During the war the hotel housed the ARP post for the village. WE have pictures and more on the Temples if you are keen.In December we are launching the first part of our online archive catalogue.If you contact me again on this site I will send you more details
Best wishes
Christine Waterman St Margarets History Society