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Henry BOULT (1856-1918) schoolmaster of Orpington

Henry Boult, headmaster, Chislehurst Road School, Orpington

This page reproduces the colourful and informative obituary of Henry Boult (1856 - 1918, headmaster of Chislehurst Road School, Orpington) and the unveiling of his memorial plaque. The page is prefaced with genealogy data from my own research into the family history of my husband, Neil Barrington Cryer.

This photograph is from an old newspaper. If you have a better one, I would very much appreciate a copy.

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The genealogy of Henry Boult

Henry Boult Neil's great grandfather, was remembered by Neil's mother, who started us off on Boult family history. Census, baptism, birth, marriage and death records have augmented the research.

Henry was born on 6 May 1856 at 4 Little Coram Street, Bloomsbury to Henry John Boult and Elizabeth, born Elizabeth Rawlings.

Lucy Jane Eyles later Lucy Amy Boult

Lucy Jane Eyles

On 19 Jul 1875, Henry married Lucy Jane Eyles at the at Free Methodist Chapel, Lambeth. According to the 1881 census, the couple first lived at Tetcott Road, Chelsea, London. He was a schoolmaster and she a schoolmistress. Interestingly the introduction may have come through Henry's Boult relations in Berkshire as a James Boult of Winkfield married an Elizabeth Eyles from out of parish at Binfield in Berkshire on 2 November 1823. (Binfield and Winkfield are neighbouring Berkshire parishes.)

The couple then moved to Orpington where Henry became the headmaster of the local school, Chislehurst Road School. In 1891, they lived in the School House and by 1901 they were in the adjacent Chislehurst Road. There is a photo of the school on the Old Orpington page.

The couple had the following children:

Henry died on 6 July 1918 age 60. According to his death certificate, the cause was granular kidney (many years); angina (6 months) and heart failure (18 hours). The informant was daughter W Mallet of 46 Braxted Park, Streatham. Henry's occupation was given as 'schoolmaster, Chislehurst Road, Orpington, Kent'. After his death, a plaque was put up at the school in his honour, reading "In loving memory".

Interestingly the 1851 census shows a Henry Boult, born about 1821, 30 unmarried, schoolmaster, a lodger, born St Clements Danes, Middlesex. He would have been some 35 years older than 'our' Henry, and if he was related, could have been instrumental in starting 'our' Henry off on his schoolteaching career.

We would love to make contact with the descendants of Henry, Winifred and Elsie, particularly if they have any family photos.

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Henry Boult memorabilia

I am grateful to Geoff Copus for a copy of the following drawings and information from the collection of Bill Morton in Bromley Library. Unfortunately only pages have survived, one of which is the cover page.

cover of nature book by Henry Boult     text of nature book by Henry Boult-thumbnail

Click for larger images.

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The obituary of Henry Boult

With thanks to Geoff Copus for bringing the following obituary to my attention.

12 July 1918



It is with much regret we have to announce the death of Mr. Henry Boult, headmaster of the Chishurst Road Council School, Orpington. Mr. Boult passed away at the residence of his daughter, Mrs Stanley Mallett, 46, Braxted Park, Streatham, at midnight on Saturday, from, angina pectoris, of which he had experienced several acute attacks of late. He had been critically ill for some three months past, and it was apparent to Mr. Boultís many friends that he was in a precarious state of health. He was in his 63rd year, and leaves a widow and four adult children: Mrs. F. B. Best of Overfield, Tower Road Orpington; Mr. Harry Boult, who is serving in France with the H.A.C.; Mrs. Stanley Mallett, of 46, Braxted Park, Streatham and Miss Elsie Boult, who resides with her sister, Mrs. Mallett.


Mr Henry Boult who was the only child of the late Mr Henry J. Boult of East Finchley was trained for the teaching profession in Westminster College. He came to Orpington in 1882 at a critical stage in the history of elementary education in the district. A School Board had just been set up for Orpington, the old British School in the Chislehurst Road having been closed and the school in the Wellington Road (which at that tune was maintained by Mr Joynson) was not capable of providing the necessary school accommodation required for the parish. The new School Board had at once to embark upon a building scheme and an excellent school was erected in the Chislehurst Road. Of this school Mr and Mrs Boult took charge - Mr. Boult of the mixed school and Mrs Boult of the infants' department.

At that time the late Rev. John Jones, minister of the Temple Congregational Church St. Mary Cray; Mr P J Stanger of St. Mary Cray and subsequently of Bromley; and Mr. John Higgs of Orpington, were active members of the Board. Before the new Board had completed the first three years of its existence. Mr. Jones had passed away, and in 1885 a breakdown occurred in the local educational machine. This was owing to the fact that the late Mr J. T Greenslade sought by election to obtain a seat on the Board. The original members regarded his election as a vote of censure upon their previous work and they resigned en bloc.

Owing to this procedure the late Mr. Robert Gordon Mullen (then Clerk to the Bromley Board of Guardians and to the School Boards had to return Mr Greenslade's name to the Education Department (or Board of Education, as it was then), and the upper Board called upon Mr Greenslade to form a School Board for Orpington. This he did and most successfully to the mortification of those members who had "come out on strike". The members of the new Board were: Mr. W E. Gray), Mr J.T. Greenslade (vice-chairman); Mr William Epsom; Mr T Sparkes and Mr W R Taylor, making five members in all. It was at this period that really progressive educational work was started at Orpington; and it soon became necessary to enlarge the school owing to the increased attendance of children under Mr Boultís management, Mr. William Nelson becoming a very excellent assistant master.

In 1888 the late Colonel B G Lake and Mr H P Barraud became members of the Board, the former being regarded, as he undoubtedly was at that time the official representative of the Church of England on the Board. The new members worked with commendable enthusiasm for the welfare of local education and like Mr Greenslade supported Mr Boult in every way.

It was admitted in all parts of the district that Mr Boult was bent on getting the most out of the existing conditions educationally for the well-being of the children under his care, and his cause became that of Colonel Lake, Mr. Barraud, and Mr. Greenslade, the other members following the lead. The existing buildings had become overcrowded, and they were successively enlarged. Mr Boult was desirous of having a manual instruction room added for the boys, while Mrs. Boult - who has always proved a whole hearted supporter of her husbandís progressive educational schemes - saw that it was in every way essential that the girls, whose mothers were for the most part workers either in the paper mills or on the land, should be taught plain cookery at least; they were already being taught needlework.

Colonel Lake was a most enthusiastic supporter of the scheme, with the result that both cookery and manual instruction departments were added to the school, and to this day the Chislehurst Road Schools are the only local schools to which these departments are attached.

In addition to these schemes it became necessary to provide a new infant school in connection with the Chislehurst Road School during Mr and Mrs Boult's joint term of office, and a splendid site, abutting on to I Moorfield and Orchard Roads was secured and a very convenient building erected. For all of these buildings which are now valued at quite £14000, Mr George St Pierre Harris was the architect, with Messrs H Somerford and Son, as builders, and the men who were at the back of these progressive schemes were: Colonel Luke Mr Barraud and Mr Greenslade. On the Board, which existence in 1891 the Rev Trench, Vicar of the parish at that time found a seat, and introduced what came to be known as the Orpington Plan for the withdrawal of children for religious instruction The plan failed absolutely through the utter disregard of it by the childen themselves. The youngsters simply did not attend the religious instruction given by the assistant clergy, but played about the streets until the time came for marking the registers in school when they toed the line and took up their secular school work.

Through all this trying and critical period the popularity of Mr Boult as head teacher never wavered, and it was soon to be increased by his success with what was known at the time of its inception as Nature Study. And this it really was. So successful did this school become under Mr Boultís guidance in the prosecution of the various methods of colour painting, upon subjects supplied direct from nature, that it became known throughout the country, while Mr. Boult became the author of an illustrated text book upon the subject of Nature Study for Schools. The feature of the work was found in the reproduction in the book of drawings and paintings done by his scholars. Today nearly every school is doing its bit of coloured Nature Study work.

He was also the first schoolmaster in the Crays and Orpington district to take up the county scholarship scheme, which he did with much success and the formation also of school gardens.

Under the new order of things which followed the passing of the later Education Act, the School Board passed away, the Committee of Managers under the County Council taking its place, of which Mr. William Jones is the present chairman, with Mr William Mansfield as the most active worker of the committee and champion of the local educational cause in the parish. The schools are still doing a splendid. work, and their loss by the death of Mr Boult is great indeed. Mr Boult was a very useful member of the Orpington Village Hall Club, and was a. member of the Cray Valley Lodge of Freemasons.

It is impossible to gauge the influence of Mr Boult in the building up of character amongst the rising generation of Orpington over a period of 36 years, so great has it been. Suffice it to say that many of the boys and girls who have passed through this school are now the heads of families, the parents owing much to the kindly influence of their schoolmaster, who has now laid down his work that another - let us hope as worthy as he - may take it up. He was possessed of a singularly lovable and kindly disposition; was in constant touch by correspondence and by visits with many of his old scholars; and this applies especially to those who are fighting for their King and country at the present time, for upwards of 250 of them are doing so. It was only a fortnight since that a handsome honours roll to their lasting memory was unveiled at the Chislehurst road School by Mrs Frederick Harrild. And he was indeed proud of his boys.

The Temple Congregational Church at St. Mary Cray has sustained a great loss by the death of Mr. Boult - a loss that it will be found extremely difficult to surmount From the time of his coming into the district in 1882 he and Mrs. Boult became members of the Church; and both of them, being possessed of musical gifts, speedily turned their attention to the choir, which they joined, Mr. Boult becoming choirmaster. The musical service of this Church has come to be regarded as second to none in the district by those who are qualified to speak, while the Temple choir has also proved successful under Mr. Boult's care in the musical competitions it has entered from time to time. M. Boult had also been the secretary of the Temple Church for many years past, having succeeded the late Mr Millhouse in that office. He served the Church under four ministries, viz., those of the late Rev. John Jones; the Rev W A Meaton; the late Rev. William Lewis, and the present minister (the Rev H Roberts Moxley). Mr. and Mrs Boult and their daughters have helped with many a concert and musical service for religious and charitable objects, and the district will be the poorer for Mr. Boult's passing. But he has left the impress of an exemplary life upon those amongst whom he has moved and worked so faithfully.


The funeral took place at Orpington on Wednesday afternoon in the presence of many sorrowing parishioners of Orpington, for Mr Boult belonged to all. Not a few of the scholars, past and present, of the Chislehurst Road Schools, as well as residents from the surrounding neighbourhood, also paid a final tribute of esteem by being at the graveside in Orpington Churchyard. The body was conveyed from Streatham to Orpington on Monday evening.

Mr Boult had been a member of the Orpington and Crays Special Constabulary ever since the outbreak of the war and the coffin was borne to the grave by members of that excellent body of men.

The burial service was taken by the Rev H. Roberts Moxley the first part being performed at Mr Boultís residence, the School House, Chislehurst Road. At the graveside the committal sentences simply were said in consequence of the heavy rain.

A guard of honour was formed by the Orpington Special Constabulary, under the command of Superintendent F W Austin, and members of the Cray Valley Lodge of Freemasons, carrying sprigs of acacia, also paid a final tribute of esteem to their departed fellow member by following the remains to the grave. At the lych-gate the Special Constabulary formed up on either side of the church path, the coffin being born, on the shoulders of Special Constables.

Nearly a hundred of the scholars attending the Chislehurst Road Schools also followed in the cortege from the school house. They were marshalled by Mr. W. Nelson.

Amongst those attending were: Mr William Fox and M. Oswald Vinson who officially represented the Temple Congregational Church, St Mary Cray; the Vicar of Orpington (the Rev. T. G Gilling-Lax) the Vicar of St. Mary Cray being unable to be present through illness; Mr. William Jones J P (chairman of the Orpington committee of School Managers); Mr. William Mansfield (who ako officially represented that body); Mr. William Nelson (assistant master of the Chislehurst-road School); Mr A W Webster, BSc headmaster of the St. Mary Cray Council School; Mr R J Pugh, late master of the Wellingtron Road Council School, together with several members of the teaching staff of both the Chislehurst Road and Wellington Road Council Schools; Mr Frank Stanger, Mr C W Higgs, Mr W. Beer, Mr. Greenfield (Chislehurst), Mr J Howe, Mr E A Edmed, Mr. Frank Pipe, Mr R Smallwood, Mr. Willis (Chislehurst road), Mr J W. Thomas (Devonshire House School), Mr. W. B. Taylor (a member of the Orpington School Board, formed in 1885), Mr J C D Jenkins, Mr A Payne, D C; Mr J Marks, Mr S Farrants Mr A, R Martin, Sergeant Major Newman and Mr J T Fryer. The Rev 0. K. Fearn would have been present but for being absent from borne through his recent indisposition. The members of the Cray Valley Ledge, No 2,147 attending were Messrs F Stanger, R J Pugh, W F Darby, Beer, F R Greenfield, F Lewis (Bromley), secretary; R G Knight, Sergeant Edwards of the Ontario Hospital. Other lodges represented included Burgoyne No 902 and St Paulís No 194.

Floral tokens were laid upon the coffin and grave from the widow and members of the bereaved family, scholars and staff of the Chislehurst Road School, tradespeople, Special Constabulary, and friends at Orpington, the Misses Ockenden, Lieutenant and Mrs Wortley, Mr and Mrs R Smallwood, Mr and Mrs S Bristow, Miss Shadwellís circle, Mrs William Lewis, Masonic Lodge (Cray Valley No 2147), Mr P Lewis, the Misses Cruttenden, Miss Fox, Mr and Mrs W H Davies, Mrs Lovell, Mr and Mrs A. Webster, Mrs W Bowers, and Miss Sales, The Birches Orpington, Mr and Mrs T Greenslade, Messrs Chantler, Mr George J Chapple and family; and several of the scholars in the schools also sent or brought flowers.


At the morning service a the Temple Congregational Church on Sunday, Mr Moxley announced the death of the Churchís faithful servant and in a few sympathetic sentences expressed the sorrow of himself and the people at the news. To know Mr Boult, he said, was to love him. His heart was in all that made for the welfare of that Church and they felt that they had sustained an irreparable loss. Everyone would be bearing in their thoughts and prayers those who had been so sorely bereaved.

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The unveiling of the memorial plaque

The following is a cutting from The (Orpington) District Times, 12 March 1920. The text is transcribed on the left as the original cutting is difficult to read.

District Times, 12 March 1920



The unveiling of a memorial brass inscribed by the staff and scholars of the Chislehurst Road Council Schools, Orpington to perpetuate the memory of the late Mr. H. Boult, who for 37 years held the post of headmaster at this school, took place on Wednesday morning.

The unveiling ceremony was performed shortly after nine oíclock by Mr. William Jones, J.P. who as, Chairman of the School Managers, referred in terms of the highest appreciation of Mr. Boultís services, and he also expressed the hope that Mrs Boult who was present, and who is now retiring from her post as head of the infants' department, would enjoy many years of well earned rest.

The memorial brass is attached to the wall under the clock in the principal room of the school, in which is placed the honours roll of the school. The inscription upon the tablet is as follows

This tablet is placed by the children and staff of the schools, in loving memory of Henry Boult, headmaster from the foundation  July 10th, 1882, until he passed to rest. July 6th. 1918.

The Rev. Stanley K Osborne (Vicar of Orpington) and the Rev. 0. R. Y. Fearn (minister of the Baptist Church at Orpington) were present.

Newscutting on the unveiling of the memorial plaque to Henry Boult, headmaster of Chislehurst Road School

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