Built in 1838 by James Brook (1773-1845) to a design by architect James Pigott Pritchett with an adjoining Gothic church. According to newspaper reports of the consecration of the small church, the school rooms could accommodate about 600 children. Adjoining the school were houses for the vicar and the schoolmaster. The total cost was "no less than £4000."
The school was extended in 1844, with the small church being replaced by St. James's Church (also endowed by James Brook, although completed after his death).
Charles Brook (1814-1872) funded a further extension in 1857 which added an infants school.
The methods used by schoolmaster Giles Moorhouse were called into question in October 1865 after schoolboy Thomas Carter of Shady Row died, allegedly from head injuries caused by Moorhouse beating him. Although surgeon Thomas Allen Haigh testified that the boy had died from inflammation of the brain, probably caused by tuberculosis, J.W. Carlile noted that Haigh had previously tended to a boy who had suffered a head injury inflicted by the schoolmaster. The jury decided that Carter had died of "natural causes".