People in East Ham have always given a high priority to good education. ‘Quaker’ Christians set up a school here before the 17th Century. Charity Schools and Sunday Schools continued this tradition of public education and in 1811 Elizabeth Fry had opened a school near Plashet House.
By the 19th & 20th centuries, East Ham was noted for the number and range of schools it provided. These included a National School opened in the old workhouse buildings in Wall End Road. In the years immediately after World War 2, the Education Committee of East Ham Council built a brand new school for young people who would become ‘a credit to themselves, their parents... and their town.’
Langdon was the product of this vision. Building the schools was ‘the costliest and most ambitious project ever undertaken in East Ham.’ The final bill was over one million pounds. The marshland (covered in water-cress beds) and the Back River, running through the site, provided a considerable engineering challenge. Eventually the stream was culverted and the land was drained and filled in.
The Langdon Schools, as they were known at the time, were completed in 1953, were acclaimed as one of the finest sets of school buildings in the country. In 1972, the three original schools (Burges Manor, Thomas Lethaby and East Ham Grammar School) were combined to form Langdon School, a mixed comprehensive.
Since then, Langdon has gone from strength to strength and reflected the changes within the local community to become a thriving and successful multi-cultural all through school with 1912 students. It has well regarded both locally and nationally as a school which combines a sense of tradition with the education needed in the 21st century. For three years in succession Langdon has been selected for a DfES School Achievement Award.
Recent changes to the way schools are evaluated, and to key personnel in the school means that we are in a challenging but necessary and exciting phase of change, as we ‘raise our game’.