New focus for Bishop’s Stortford Young People’s Center, which has been educating children since 1840

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A renovation project is planned for a building in Bishop’s Stortford which has been a focal point for the town’s children for 180 years.

Herts County Council invests in its youth center in Northgate End, first used as a boys’ school in 1840.

When modernized, the building will house a brand new independent living training kitchen, a bespoke gym for young people to focus on improving physical health and emotional well-being, and a music studio. to develop their creative skills.

Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop’s Stortford. GV of the old school and youth center. Pic: Vikki Lince. (45135189)

A wide range of YCH youth service projects will be provided directly from the center, including for people with learning disabilities, young parents and those who identify as LGBT +.

The center will also host the Bishop’s Stortford Youth Forum and a space where users can find a range of counseling and guidance services, including employment and training, in a new access point.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, deputy head of HCC and member of her cabinet for children, youth and families, said: “These are worrying times for young people now, more than ever, with the effects of Covid-19 and uncertainty about their education, future jobs and prospects in general and we are committed to supporting them as much as possible. “

Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop's Stortford.  GV of the old school and youth center.  Pic: Vikki Lince.  (45135131)
Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop’s Stortford. GV of the old school and youth center. Pic: Vikki Lince. (45135131)

A county council survey in 2020 showed that Bishop’s Stortford youth need a safe space to meet where they can access support services and opportunities to improve their mental health, build confidence, d ” improve opportunities and provide positive alternatives to the risk of engaging in social behavior and associated dangers.

The council hopes the modernized Northgate center will provide this vital link between youth and services and meet the needs of the community for years to come.

According to columnist Paul Ailey’s website www.stortfordhistory.co.uk, the building was constructed on land called Lime Kiln Meadow after a meeting at the former George Inn (now Prezzo) on North Street to discuss a new school.

It was funded by the British Society and the then Congregational Church at Water Lane, as well as by public subscription, including £ 20 from Prime Minister Lord Melbourne.

Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop's Stortford.  GV of the old school and youth center.  Pic: Vikki Lince.  (45135184)
Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop’s Stortford. GV of the old school and youth center. Pic: Vikki Lince. (45135184)

The boys ‘section of the so-called British school opened in January 1840, followed by the girls’ section in March.

Each had its own leader and was empowered to admit “the children of all working class people under the conditions provided, while the children of traders paid 6 d (2.5 p.) Per week and stationery costs”.

Mr. Skinner and Miss Unwin began their task with only 18 Bibles and a map of the world, but in 1846 the school’s academic progress was hailed by an inspector.

Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop's Stortford.  GV of the old school and youth center.  Pic: Vikki Lince.  (45135185)
Northgate Youth Center, Northgate End, Bishop’s Stortford. GV of the old school and youth center. Pic: Vikki Lince. (45135185)

In 1902, when education became the responsibility of local authorities, the word “British” was removed from the school’s title and it was renamed Northgate.

In 1909, 345 children were educated in a space that could accommodate 245, with staff responsible for classes of 74 young people.

World War I put the improvements on hold, but in 1924 the county council updated the building and purchased the land behind for games and gardening.

During World War II the role of the school included evacuated children and the Barrells Down Road Mission Hall was used as an additional classroom.

In 1947, the school became a JMI (Junior Mixed Infants) school for children aged five to 11, and older children were transferred to the city’s first modern high school in military-built war huts. Americans as a rest center on land that is now the Causeway parking lot.

In 1966, construction of a replacement Northgate school began at Cricketfield Lane. It was completed two years later and modernized in 1999.





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