The village school is called Pillowell Community Primary School. Founded in the 19th century, it briefly became nationally known in 1973, when the children, under their music teacher Mrs Davies, sang "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" as the signature tune for the Forest of Dean chronicler Winifred Foley's A Child of the Forest, when it was serialized on BBC Woman's Hour. The poet F. W. Harvey (1888–1957) spent the last part of his life in the village.
According to the conservation area documentation, the earliest inhabitants may have been squatters on the edge of the royal Forest of Dean. In 1787, when the area still belonged to Newland parish, there were ten dwellings on Crown land, near the well that gave the settlement its name. Major growth came in the mid-19th century, with the development of deep mining.
A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1835, when there were around 30 cottages. The building is now in residential use. A larger chapel opened on a new site in 1885. A large school for the area opened in 1877, with places for 400 children. Average attendance in 281 in 1889 and 501 in 1901. However, the roll in 1992 was down to 61. The Swan opened as a beer house in the Bream Road before 1891. A Co-operative store had opened by the early 20th century.
Coal mining throughout the Forest of Dean began to decline in the 1930s. The Princess Royal colliery finally closed in 1962. A spiral brick chute and parts of a mineral railway bridge remain.
Pillowell Silver Band
The Pillowell Silver Band are a 4th Section nationally contesting band, which performs at various fetes, concerts and contests throughout the year. It is conducted by Ian Whitburn. In 2004, the band were runners-up in the National 4th Section Championships of Great Britain, narrowly beaten by a 1-point margin for the title. In 2015 the band will again compete in the National Finals of the Brass Band Championships having been crowned as West of England Champions in March.
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