Oaklands School is one of the longest established preparatory schools in the Epping Forest area. It was founded on the corner of Traps Hill, Loughton in 1937 by Miss L E Lord, and moved to its present site in Albion Hill in September 1944.
The house, then called Firbank, was built in 1837 and the iron railings around the main field go back to the 1870s. Around 1900 Firbank was owned by the Spurge family and a wedding photograph c1900 (above) shows the marriage of Florence Spurge to Booth Harris of Albion House (across the road, now an Old People's Home).
The Howards of Howard's Aspirins lived at Firbank from about 1915 until around 1930, and during the war to house accommodated Belgian refugees. In those days Oaklands was covered with ivy and ended near the bay windows (see below). The assembly hall was enlarged and further classrooms were added in the 1940s.
During the 1940s and 1950s Oaklands educated the children of many local families, sending the boys on to schools such as Chigwell, Forest and Bancroft's at 7 and keeping the girls until 11; a pattern which continues today. Many former pupils have kept in touch with the School and with each other.
Miss Lord retired in 1982 and handed over to Mr and Mrs Hagger. Mr Nicholas Hagger, a poet, philosopher and author of many books, is a former pupil of the school (ringed above). Mrs Ann Hagger was Headmistress of Oaklands from 1982 to 1996.
Oaklands School now forms part of the Oak-Tree Group of Schools, that also includes Coopersale Hall School in Epping and Normanhurst School in North Chingford. Mr Matthew Hagger is the Managing Principal of the three schools.
In July 2012 we held a 75th reunion party for over 300 Old Oaklandians, families staff and friends it was a fabulous day with many reminiscences, stories and some marvellous speeches. More details and pictures can be seen here