See study by E. B. Bailey (1967).
Opened in 1905. The name given to the Training School or Residential Home situated near the village of Hutton for destitute children from the district of Poplar in the east end of London. Capable of housing anything from 400 - 700 children at any one time. Like much of London during the Victorian era the Borough of Poplar faced high poverty levels. As the 19th century drew to a close the workhouses and orphanages in the borough were trying to cope with significant overcrowding. The chairman of the Board of Guardians for the region, George Lansbury, saw an opportunity to expand their operations into the Essex countryside, and convinced the Board to acquire 100 acres of land situated between Hutton and Shenfield on the Rayleigh Road. In 1906 the Board completed work on a self-contained community with its own stores, school, indoor swimming pool and an array of ancillary buildings. alongside the accommodation for the staff and a significant number of orphans living in small groups.
The final cost of the project caused uproar in the Houses of Parliament when it first opened. Some MPs complained that with their parquet flooring and central heating the buildings were more of the comfort levels of a public school like Eton than an orphans training school. However once operational the project received recognition for it's good work, with a Governmental inspection in early 1914 rating the facilities as "among the best in Britain" with the children "well cared for by an efficient staff of specially selected teachers." A Royal visit followed in 1918.
The placement of such an establishment was predictably controversial with the local residents. The hostility dragged out some time, with the children referred to as "outsiders" and thought best avoided by the local residents. Towards the end of the 20th century this attitude is regarded as having mellowed.
The administration of Hutton Poplars passed to the London County Council in the 1920s subsequently opening its doors to children from all parts of East and North London.
Several thousand children passed through its gates over the next six decades. Inevitably the cost of running such an establishment came under scrutiny and an eventual policy shift saw the responsibility for child care passing to the individual borough councils with smaller care homes springing up to replace these victorian monoliths.
The creation of the Greater London Council in 1966 replacing the London County Council resulted in the Borough of Hackney in London taking administrative control of the residential home. Charged with emptying it of non Hackney residents and ultimately selling it off to property developers children began leaving for smaller establishments in and around London. Hackney continued to house its children there until 1982.
Hutton Poplar remained open until 1982 The buildings then witnessed various fates under Essex County Council. The swimming pool was demolished despite local residents pleas for it to become a facility for the wider community. The school hall, known as Bishops Hill, has been maintained as an Adult Community Learning centre for the Mid Essex Adult Community College. Hutton Poplar Hall was restored in 1991 and may now be hired from Brentwood Borough Council.
The new housing development on the old site was modelled largely on the original layout with houses forming a oval around central open spaces. The Essex Dining Hall remains as a traditional village hall.
Whit Monday was traditionally a reunion day when former residents were encouraged to visit for the annual open fete day. A reunion still takes place in the Essex dining hall on Whit Monday every year. Centenary celebrations took place in 2006. Former residents or anyone with connections to Hutton Poplars are most welcome at the annual event.
Hutton All Saints' Church is a small ancient structure, with a wooden steeple, containing five bells. It has a more modern subsidiary church, St. Peter's, which was originally built in the 1950s as a dual purpose church and hall - a daughter church of All Saints', to serve the newly-developing housing estates in the centre of Hutton. In 1990, it was possible to extend the building to provide separate worship and community areas. In 2001, generous grant funding enabled a complete refurbishment of the whole building to improve the facilities available to church and community organisations.
The town also has two preparatory schools: Herington House School and Woodlands School Hutton Manor.
The nearby secondary school St Martin's in Brentwood also serves the area.