Ashton Middle School – formerly Dunstable Grammar School
The Ashton Schools Foundation is a registered charity with a Board of Governors who are the trustees of three Church of England Schools in Dunstable including Ashton Middle School. The buildings and associated grounds belong to the Foundation.
The school owes its origins to an early eighteenth century benefactor called Frances Ashton whom the school is named after. However, the school, which was founded as Dunstable Grammar School, did not come into being until 160 year after her death in 1727. Frances Ashton's original bequest was for six almshouses in the town.
Over time, the Ashton Almshouse Charity acquired various lands for investment and in 1868 sold land to the Midlands Railway Company for £14,500 and, having by this time already established a Church of England elementary school, the Charity now decided to establish a day and boarding grammar school for boys. It took a further 17 years before the scheme to establish the school was agreed and it received the approval of Queen Victoria on 12 August 1885.
The foundation stone for Dunstable Grammar School was laid in 1887.
The school cost £12,000 to build and was designed by E.R. Robinson FSA of Westminster. A science building was added in 1907 and a further new science building in 1964.
In the early 1970s, with the introduction of comprehensive education and a three-tier school system in Dunstable, the Grammar School ceased to exist. The students in Ashton Grammar School were moved to a new Upper School the southern end of Dunstable, and Ashton Middle School was established in the former Grammar School buildings.
With Dunstable now largely returning to a two-tier school system of primary and secondary schools, Ashton Middle School is set to close in July 2016.
Click images to enlarge