The Bewsian is a history of Secondary Education in Bewsey
The information in this section is based on a booklet,
"The Bewsian - A History of Secondary Education in Bewsey 1934-1984"
Every effort has been made to trace the copyright owner.
I attended Bewsey Secondary Modern between 1974 and 1979. Some
of my memories are included at the end. If you attended Bewsey Secondary
Modern/Bewsey County High School, and wish to share your memories, do please use
link. If you have relevant photos for which you own the copyright, attach them
to the email address.
The Founding of the School
After 1830, the government saw the need to help with the
provision of elementary education in England and Wales and grants were made to
help local organizations to extend education for young children.
Throughout the 19th century moves were made to organize state
involvement in secondary education. In 1868 the Taunton Report suggested a
system based on three grades of school but this was never implemented.
The Bryce Report of 1895 put forward very similar suggestions
for a state system of secondary schooling and this finally led to the 1902
Education Act, which made it a duty for all local authorities to provide
secondary education. From that year the Warrington Local Education
Authority changed the role of some schools and took over some of the
church schools which were running into financial difficulties.
(above right) was taken in 1934 soon after the Bewsey council estate was
built. In the foreground is the 'straight' section of the Cheshire
Lines Railway which passed through the land once belonging to Clapgates
Farm, after which Clapgates Road and Clapgates Crescent were named.
Committee began secondary
education in 1903. Their first development was the Technical Institute
in Palmyra Square. Like many other schools it was not free at this
time, but it did provide the first opportunity for secondary education
for many working class children in Warrington. Council scholarships
were soon made available and after the Education Act of 1921, Warrington became
one of the first to provide 100% of such places in its schools. The
impact of these developments was enormous and made valuable education
provision for all children in the town up to the age of fourteen.
The next important piece of legislation to affect secondary
schools was the 1944 Education Act, which made it compulsory for all
children to receive a free secondary education up to the age of
fifteen, and many schools including Bewsey were renamed Secondary
the Borough Treasurers
building in later life.
Photo taken 3 Feb 2005.
Previously some working class children
had received secondary-type education in the higher standards (classes) of
elementary schools, but this was the first provision designed for this sector. The only secondary facilities available previously were at
Boteler Grammar School, the Clergyman's Daughters' School and the private
schools which were all essentially middle-class at the time and were restricted
in their intake.
In the 1930s pupils started school at 5 years old and left at
14. In my time it was 16, and I notice the government is considering raising it
to 18 in the 21st century. Basic subjects were Maths, English, History,
Geography, Geometry, Poetry and Drawing, with Religious Education too, as lots
of schools were originally connected to the churches.
The first purpose-built secondary schools did not open
until 1934, when Bewsey and Richard Fairclough schools were opened.
The Secondary or 'Senior' departments as they were known were built
near to council-provided elementary or 'Junior' departments.
this, the Education Committee was following national trends, being
influenced by the report, "Education of Adolescent of 1925"
by the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education and by the
Hadow Report of 1926. These reports wanted a definite break in education
of children at about 11 years old, and grading of classes according to
The origins of Bewsey go back to 1927 when, after the
Education Act of 1921, an area of land measuring approximately 29 acres was
handed over to the Local Education Authority.
The school's deed
of 23 August 1927.
Photo from The Bewsian.
The deed map, above right, shows the area
bound by the Sankey Brook, Lodge Lane and the
Cheshire Lines Railway. The area was originally acquired for use by the Ministry
of Health, presumably for some medical institution. Together with this map was
an official document with the then Minister of Health's Official Seal, signing
the land over to Warrington Borough Council.
Architects Wright and Hamlyn of Winmarleigh Street,
Warrington, were then appointed to draw up plans for the building. In the late
1920s local contractors started work, which was completed in 1933 at a cost of
£42,000. At a meeting on 18 December, 1933, the opening date for the school was
set. The Seniors school opened its doors for the first time on Monday 8
January, 1934. Present were the Mayor, Austin Matthew Crowe, and the Deputy
Chairman of the Education Committee (Rev E. Downham), who performed the opening
ceremony. The opening of the two Senior Departments at Bewsey (boys and girls)
was seen as an adventure in municipal enterprise by the Warrington Corporation.
|At that time boys were separate from girls and the
school was designed to hold 480 of each. In an essentially industrial
area (see the emblem of the school at the top of the page), whilst the
curriculum should have some relationship to the future vocation, it
was also seen that it should have some relationship to the future
leisure time of the pupils. This was met by an increased opportunity
for practical as well as theoretical studies in the new school.
The Education System of the Borough was
organised to provide opportunities for all capable children to proceed
to the highest educational institutions after leaving school, passing
through various stages of Elementary, Secondary Branch Technical,
Technical and Commercial and Art Colleges, and from these on to
University, Training College or other educational institution.
Photo from The Bewsian.
The Boys and Girls schools (Boys near the railway side, Girls near
the playing fields), each had eight ordinary classrooms, an art room,
two science rooms, a library, a head teacher's room, staff rooms and a
medical inspection room.
In the Boys' department there were manual instruction rooms and
there were domestic science rooms for the girls. If you look at the overhead
photograph of 1934, below right, you will notice the original building was
The school catered largely for children of Bewsey and Whitecross
and the feeder schools were Evelyn Street Council School, St Barnabas School and
Arpley Street Council School. Headmaster for the Boys was Mr. N. H. Fackrell, whilst
Miss Smith became head for the Girls. Each school also had 14 assistant
The following is a copy of the
greetings from the first Head Master, Mr Fackrell.
BEWSEY is - what twelve months ago
was a pile of buildings and a site is now a school. From the opening ceremony,
on January 8th, when, in the presence of a number of distinguished visitors, His
Worship the Mayor declared the school open, we have gone ahead. We have no
traditions, but we are building them in work and in play; a glance round the
school in the class rooms, the labs., the gardens, and the workshops, will show
the work, our games and concerts show the play. The various school activities
are dealt with fully elsewhere, only one point I should like to stress, already
nearly 170 boys have left the school, and not more than a dozen are without
work, while some with whom we are in contact are doing really well.
I feel we have done well, and that
we shall continue to do better if the spirit which has animated the school so
far lives on, a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, of co-operation and
hard work. To those within our little world, children, parents and staff, who
have striven hard and successfully, I give thanks and good wishes for the
N. H. FACKRELL,
Bewsey Boys' School 1934-1946
The actual buildings in those early days were in many
ways very different from those later years. The school had been built
on the "Open Air Plan", a style very much in fashion for
school buildings all over the country at the time. Although it looked
very attractive, it was hardly appropriate for our climate.
The corridors were open to the weather and the outside
walls of the classrooms were actually made of glass (French window
style), meaning a great loss of heat. The heating was provided by
under-floor gas central heating, which was inadequate. It was given
the title of the "Ice Palace" by some, due to the cold.
The prefabricated buildings around the perimeter were not there
originally - they were erected during the war for the serving of school meals.
Notice the symmetry.
Photo from The Bewsian.
At first pupils (and staff) either went home for meals of brought sandwiches. On
opening, pupils and staff were transferred from the Senior Departments of
old-established schools in the central, western and north-western areas of the
town, including Arpley Street, Silver Street, St Anne's Hamilton Street (my
first school), St Barnabas and Heathside. These schools were often overcrowded
and badly lit and ventilated. Often a coke fire stove stood in the centre of the
classroom provided the heating. The colour scheme was a choice of two: all upper
walls were painted calf and the lower half was painted either dark green or
brown. Those schools remained as Junior schools.
||The old Wycliffe School, which opened in 1868, had moved
en masse to Bewsey Junior and Infants Schools when they opened in
1932. In the notes it says the pupils and teachers borrowed a handcart
from the Education Office in Sankey Street to move all the text books
and records, making several journeys to complete the transfer to the
new Junior School.
One assumes they walked down Bewsey Road and over the railway
bridge - that must have been hard pushing it one side and then trying
to keep control on the other side going down! One pupil notes they
settled in very quickly: How great it was to sit at a desk on a chair
instead of the old bench-type desk. We also had the playing fields
close by and at this time school milk was introduced at one old penny
for one third of a pint of fresh milk.
The pupils on entry were divided into four streams, named A, B,
C and D for convenience.
|The old Wycliffe
Street, which was,
a shirt factory.
Photo taken 9 Nov 2006.
The A and B were parallel academically, with the A
being a commercial basis, and the B a Technical basis. Both took the basic
subjects: English, Maths, Geography, History, etc. The A stream also took
French, Bookkeeping, etc and the B stream took more practical Science,
Technical Drawing, etc. The C and D streams spent more time on basic Maths and
English and Rural and Practical Science. Which stream would be best for you if
you wanted to be a Book-keeper at a Science lab? Just a thought! Pupils were
placed in their respective stream according to the result of an examination on
entry (that was before the 11+ came in, by the way).
Sport was also a big part of the school's activities, especially
football and cricket. An entry in the log book of 2 April, 1934, records that
Bewsey won the P.W.V. Cup at the Peninsular Barracks. The winning team were
treated to a hot pot supper at Atkins Café on Bridge Street.
|Other external activities included the Bewsey Boys Club,
the Bewsey Boys Concert Party, rugby teams, baseball and many school
trips and outings, including an early trip to Edinburgh on 10 May,
1934. That's some going for those days. No M6 motorway then! Wherever
possible, outside activities were linked to formal work. The Rural
Science classes were involved in bee-keeping, poultry, pig farming and it also
had fish pond. An old car was purchased from school funds for car
maintenance classes. Some boys produced their own magazine.
|Bewsey Junior and
School on 2 Dec 2006.
A Carol Service and parties were held every Christmas. One year
the whole of the school went to the Ritz cinema for a specially arranged show
with one of the teachers playing the Wurlitzer organ.
The school adopted "For All The Saints" as its anthem.
Discipline was strict and "four of the best" was often the punishment
for small offences, but there were no complaints and staff were respected by
most pupils. There was little or no vandalism and the authorities were respected
for what they had done to build such a fine school, and the pupils were proud of
In the town there was no shortage of entertainment, with two
theatres, nine cinemas, two roller skating rinks and a speedway track. We had
the wireless as television was many years in the future.
Bewsey Girls' School 1934 -
In the Girls' side subjects included Science, Geography,
Needlework and Crafts. There were two cookery rooms, a grand assembly hall,
where as well as allowing P.T. (Physical Training) to be enjoyed, some really
useful plays were performed. There were new interests, gardening and bee-keeping
(unheard of before) and the introduction of French. In those early days foreign
languages were normally taught to the privileged few in the grammar schools, so
to see it in Bewsey was something modern.
One teacher recalls that during the war the younger men were
called up for active service and female teachers were asked to teach in the Boys
School. She has two memories - one was the singing of those boys, something
quite awesome and really beautiful. The other was a staff versus pupils cricket
match at the end of the summer term.
Back to the French lessons. Another teacher recalls how the
pupils were very interested in the subject. She says she managed to persuade
them that the main diet of the French was NOT frogs. Actually, I recently
watched a classic episode of The Likely Lads from the 1960s when Terry's sister,
Audrey, when asked what do you give a French girl to eat, replied "frog
||The teacher reports that some of the pupils were lucky
enough to spend a week's holiday in the country, with a stay at a very
nice Paris hotel where they sampled the culinary delights the country
had to offer (not a frog butty in sight!). The pupils managed to make
brief conversation with the lift boy, but she doesn't say what was
During the war, pupils were escorted into the shelters when the air
raid warnings sounded. These were built on the playing fields next to
the girls' playgrounds. Sometimes the children were sent home, whilst
staff remained behind for the obligatory teaching of first aid. Some
rooms were made like strongholds by the building of outside walls.
The windows were blackened out with curtains and blinds. Staff and
pupils knitted comforts for the Forces, khaki wool being in endless
supply. Just over the woods was Burtonwood Air Base, so the noise from
the planes always interrupted the teaching. Some of the teachers
helped out on night duty in the activity known as
1974 the school
came under the
Bewsey Boys' School 1946-1972
Like most of the country, the World Wars took their toll on the
efforts of the schools. The priority now was to re-establish the school for the
next generation. During the war years shortages of both staff and equipment had
resulted in severe limitations in the scope of the curriculum, e.g.
practical rooms were closed and there was little of any organized P.E. and
Between 1945 and 1947, eleven members of staff were appointed,
some returning from the Services. The school was subjected to an H.M.I.
inspection. At this time there were almost 400 boys as the school leaving age
had been raised to 15. Extra classrooms were built alongside the railway for a
projected life of just 10 years (they were still there when I left the school in
1979 and were only dismantled in recent years).
Rural Studies was still high on the agenda, with the keeping of
hens, chickens, pigs and bee-keeping. There were also some well cultivated garden
plots which occupied the land where the gymnasiums were built later on.
In 1951 the first headmaster, Mr. Fackrell, died. His place was
taken by Mr. Thompson (who was my headmaster during the 1970s). During 1951 the
Festival of Britain was held - a celebration designed to lift the spirits out of
the post war rationing and shortages. This was jointly celebrated with the
Girls' School in the form of a mass P.E. display and Maypole dancing on the
school field attended by a large gathering of parents and Governors.
In the 1950s the population grew and, of course, so did pupil
numbers. At one point the Boys' School had around 600 pupils in a building
designed for 480. School assemblies saw pupils sat on the floor because there
was no other space. The school teaching timetable had to adjusted to a
six-day-week to spread out the skills of the specialist teaching. The second
Monday in each term became day 6, etc.
|There was another inspection in 1957. During the 1950s,
the school's catchments area had been extended to include the whole of
Longford beyond the Fiat Car plant (now Alban Retail Park) and
eastwards as far as Orford Church and Hallfields Road.
It was clear that resources were overstretched and it was decided
to build two new Secondary Schools on Long Lane to cope with demand.
These schools were Orford Secondary (Boys and Girls), which opened in August 1958.
Staffing and pupil levels dropped at the two schools in Bewsey, but in
the long term it meant there was now space to cope with the inflated
birth rate of the immediate post-war era.
Throughout the 1960s, Bewsey established its reputation in the
forefront of local schools in both rugby and association football.
Many boys achieved County Honours and school teams at Senior and
Intermediate level were frequently successful in league and cup
In common with many Secondary schools, Bewsey Boys were
encouraged to stay on for a fifth year in order to prepare for one of the
external examinations which were the precursors of the C.S.E. (Certificate of
|A winter scene
with the Infant and
Junior Schools on the
house on the right
in the 1980s.
Photo © DJ Kenny.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the Local Education Authority made
plans to rebuild both of the Bewsey Schools. Work eventually began in 1969 and
was finished in 1971. The building program involved driving a wide point of
access at the eastern end of the quadrangle which deprived each school of its
specialist Art rooms. Health and Safety laws were not as strict as nowadays and
access to and from classrooms was quite hazardous, particularly in bad weather.
However, the final outcome was favourable as the school received two new
gymnasiums, a library, excellent new practical rooms, new assembly halls and
By 1972, the Local Education Authority had completed its
preparations for co-educational Secondary Education and in July, 1972, the two
schools at Bewsey plus the smaller Evelyn Street Secondary School were
amalgamated into one school housed in the refurbished provision at Bewsey.
Bewsey Girls' School 1946-1972
Miss Smith, the first Headmistress in 1934, retired and her
place was taken by Miss Griffiths. Miss Griffiths was also a qualified social
worker and was well respected by pupils. A tradition for sound teaching, high
achievement and good behaviour had been established. The school was ready for
some innovations, such as a less formal approach to teaching and a certain
relaxation to discipline. New furniture, equipment and text books were needed.
The school had 500 girls on its books and the building was overcrowded.
The School Governors and Education Committee made a generous
allowance in the early years for the purchase of furniture and equipment. In
1956, they recognized the success of the specialist subject teachers by
appointing two Heads of Department and six teachers in Grade Posts.
There was a need to learn what each girl could achieve and award
recognition for this achievement. There were a number of intelligent girls who,
had the educational opportunities been different, would have gained from a
grammar or technical education. The less able were encouraged in the basic
subjects. The staff recognized that all girls could be helped to achieve some
success. Self-confidence, self-respect, self-esteem and self-discipline were
Social depravation and problems at home were major
issues and so every effort was made to allow each girl to develop. The
changes during adolescence were given consideration and the girls
received excellent health and sex education from the Deputy
Headmistress, who was also a specialist teacher of biology.
The building was cold, especially in the winter, with
conditions that would not have been tolerated elsewhere. At times of
frost and snow the outside toilets would freeze and the surface of the
playground was dangerous because the authorities would not provide
salt or sand. Some girls did not have proper footwear which often
resulted in weekly attendances falling below 90%. An inside toilet
block did not appear until 1970!
Improvements in specialist teaching gradually appeared and new
technology was finding its way into the classrooms. There were film-strip
projectors, a large sound/film projector, a Fordifax overhead projector and tape
recorders. Also up-to-date office equipment made easier duplication of exam
papers, questionnaires, excursion and holiday booklets and the annual School
|The original Girls'
School occupied the
side closest to the
taken in the early
1990s after the
Photo © DJ Kenny.
One of the most innovative ideas was when the school was divided
into Houses. Each was named after a prominent Warringtonian and had its own
motto and appropriate social concern. They were:
William A. Boulting, J.P.
Mary Downham, J.P.
Thy Father and Mother"
Rex Furness, M.B.E.
especially the blind
Joseph Poole, J.P.
we build a new world"
Margaret Robinson, O.B.E., J.P.
nursing and hospitals
Led by House Mistresses, House and Games captains, the girls
competed in self-denial, work, games, sports and conduct.
||The House Service became a feature of school life and prominent
men and women concerned with social work came as guest speakers. These occasions
lent themselves to useful classroom teaching in most subjects. Many striking
illustrative projects were set up in the corridors. Through their thought and
self-denial money, the girls strove to recognize and satisfy the needs of
others. The donation of money was replaced by the giving of specific objects,
wheelchairs, coal, outings/holidays for the elderly and furniture. Many will
recall being their form's House representative and following the House banner in
photo shows a nativity Scene 1950s. (Photo Copyright © D Hardman.)
By the time I attended Bewsey School,
Poole and Downham had been combined into Poole-Downham. Every Friday we would
collect our self-denial money. It was a bit of a competition between different
forms to get the most. My class always tried to collect more than we had the
week before. So that's where Bruce Forsyth got his "so much better than
last week" catchphrase from!
||The girls were helped to success in sport
by the games mistresses, including athletics, netball, gymnastics and swimming.
The school field, though, was not at its best during these early years and there
were no changing or shower facilities. Despite this, inter-house sporting events
were held and in the early years the school had success in inter-school
athletics and netball.
shows a winning team, not yet unidentified. (Photo Copyright © D
|Certain events, such as the
Ascension Day outing, the Beauty of the Spoken English Competition,
the P.E. Display and Drama and Dance were held annually. The Ascension
Outing took place each year until 1967, travelling by train and coach
to beauty spots in Wales, Derbyshire and the Lake District. Some of
the girls spent holidays at Coleg Harlech or on Youth Hostelling
Visits were made to Warrington Reference
Library and Museum, the town's churches, Howarth and Bronte Country,
Liverpool Museum, Ainsdale Nature Trail, water works and sewage
plants, all departments of the Borough Hospital, Pilkington Glass
Museum and the Wedgwood Pottery, to name just a few. At that time the
Education Authority made small grants towards educational visits, with
many parents giving money to their children's trips so they didn't
miss out on the things they themselves missed out on.
Eight-eight girls were transferred to
Orford Secondary Modern in the early 1970s. The overcrowding at Bewsey was
relieved slightly but the building was still inadequate. The extension of the
late 1960s were planned with the sole purpose of remedying the deficiencies of the
the council in
Photo taken 2 Dec 2006.
They included indoor toilet blocks, an assembly hall, a
gymnasium, a housecraft block with large utility D.I.Y. room for home-crafts,
additional science, needlework, art and crafts and store rooms. As mentioned in
the Boys' School section, the results were well worth waiting for.
A number of trophies had been given as
inter-House competition awards:- the Arthur Hill Cup for Work, the Alice
Boulting Trophy for Conduct, the Joyce Potter Cup for the Beauty of Spoken
English, the Fearnley Cup for Athletics, the Hatch Cup for Netball and the
Furness Trophy for Swimming. These were awarded at the Annual Prize Distribution
which became one of the social highlights of the school year.
The final Prize Giving was held in July,
1972, and it was appropriate that the former Deputy Headmistress, Miss
Hawthorn, who had served the girls so loyally from 1938 to 1971, should make the
ON EMAIL OR FEMAIL TO CONTACT ME
Bewsey School 1972 -
In September 1972, three small schools combined to form one
large one, Bewsey Secondary Modern Mixed School, which combined the old Boys and
Girls schools, plus Evelyn Street Secondary Modern School. It didn't take long
for both genders to mix and settle down to their new school life.
|In 1973, with the Raising of the School Leaving Age,
known as ROSLA, numbers of pupils expanded even further, as new first
year pupils arrive but no fourth year ones left. In 1979, the year I
left, a new Comprehensive education system was brought in and the name
changed to Bewsey County High School, with many changes to the
curriculum. With the introduction of foreign languages, a language
laboratory was necessary. Typewriters (remember them?) were introduced
for Office Studies and commercial subjects. A special room was set
aside for Computer Studies (didn't have them in my day). A former
cloakroom was converted into a Fifth Form Common Room.
Apart from changes in day-to-day school work, social occasions were
enhanced as a result of both sexes participating. A mixed-gender choir
was formed for the Christmas Carol Service, creating a sound that
neither boy, girl or teacher had experienced at the school before.
Dancing was also performed at the Christmas parties, such as the St
Bernard's Waltz and the Barn Dance. The various House groups were
maintained in the new set up and donations continued for community
During this period some of the teachers who contributed many
years to the school reached retirement age.
In 1981, a group
Year pupils designed
this sculpture which
is on display in
Sankey Valley Park,
funded by the New Town
Photo taken 2 Dec 2006.
These included Miss Griffiths, Mr.
Thompson, Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Jones, Mr. Bayley and Mr. Mather. I always remember
Mr. Mather reading the short Paddington Bear stories from my Blue Peter
annual. He was fascinated by the creative writing of Michael Bond and his
enthusiasm was a joy to witness as his voice changed when the story became more
dramatic. He was greatly missed and it was a sad day when I heard that he had
Between 1972 and 1984 the school experience two very
long hot summers (the longest being 1976 during my time there). It
benefited the Sports Days and Fetes, although late afternoon classes
were quite unbearable.
In contrast, the winters were harsh, resulting in
pupils being sent home on many occasions before the school day had
even started because the heating system had broken down. Joy for the
pupils in one sense, but then, how did we fill the day at home? We,
and our parents, were used to us being in school.
Photo from The
It would be chaotic in the modern world where often both parents
were out at work. The winter weather also affected the Carol Service and
Christmas parties in some years.
School Rules for
i) By way of Lovely
Lane and Clapgates Road.
ii) By Lodge Lane gate
and access road by the tennis courts.
USE OF BICYCLES
Bicycles must be
thoroughly roadworthy and must not be ridden on any part of the school premises.
8.55 a.m. until 12 noon - 1.10 p.m. until 3.35 p.m.
No boy or girl is to
leave school without permission during either the morning or afternoon sessions.
Permission will be
granted to boys and girls to keep appointments at clinics and hospitals on
production of an official appointment card. In all other cases application for
permission to leave school must be supported by a parent's note.
All children seeking
permission to leave school must report to the School Office before 8.50 a.m.
each day. On returning to school such children must report to the office.
In all cases of absence
from school a parent's note or parent's telephone message is required no
later than the day of return from absence. (Dear teacher. Please excuse
Little Johnny today as he is not well. Signed My Mother!)
Ball games must be
played on the tarmacadam surface by the side of the gymnasium. The railway
embankment and canal bank are out of bounds.
Movement should be
quiet and orderly. Keep to the left when moving along corridors. Running in
school is forbidden.
All cases of damage to
be reported immediately to [nominated teacher].
e.g. jewellery, portable radios, cassette recorders, etc MUST NOT BE BROUGHT
Pupils who have school
meals should remain on the school site for the remainder of the lunch time
session unless a note requesting otherwise has been received from your parents.
Taken from the 1983-4 Year Booklet
(apart from Little Johnny's sick note!)
But the best set of rules I ever heard
were in the film version of the BBC TV sitcom Porridge:
There are only two rules in this
1 - You do not write on the walls
2 - You obey all the rules!
The Later Years
In 1984, the Headmaster, Mr. Goodier, set out his vision for the
Much has been written about the last 50 years at
Bewsey. Very little of course can be written about the future. Perhaps this is
as well because we all react to new situations in different ways and part of the
challenge of a teacher's job is continually to build on past experience.
What is certain is that we will endeavour to do our
utmost to educate the pupils attending the school, within the guidelines of our
stated aims and objectives.
|Bewsey High School is situated in the centre of
an established community and has the added advantage of having new
development nearby. In addition to our academic aims I feel we should
play an important part in the community both old and new, as
symbolized by our highly acclaimed Arrows sculpture in Sankey Valley
Park. Many community links have been developed over the years and I
trust these will be built on and added to in the future.
One thing above all other has been apparent in all our
conversations with former pupils concerning the Jubilee, and that has
been the fond regard they have for the school and their former
teachers. I hope that those reviewing the school in 2034, after
another fifty years will continue to feel the same affection for the
school and the education they will have received. If that is so, we,
or our successors, will feel very pleased.
was built on The Towers.
Photo taken 2 Dec 2006.
Sadly, Mr. Goodier's vision for 2034 would not be
realized. Pupil numbers were dropping and the costs were rising, resulting in
the announcement from Cheshire County Council that the school would have to
close. This created fury in the community and a major campaign was started to
keep the school open. After a hard-fought series of meetings, which involved
coach-loads of pupils, parents and community users attending meetings at County
Hall in Chester, the Council decided to back down on the condition that pupil
numbers must rise. Feeling was so strong that when the Bewsey and Dallam
Community Play was performed in the Parr Hall for 8 nights in 1991, the closure
of the school featured in one very dramatic, heart-wrenching scene, and I
believe the actors taking part in that scene were re-living their real
expressions and emotions which helped them save the school in the mid 1980s.
However, the reprise was only temporary because the
subject of pupil numbers and cutbacks in budgets came up again, but
this time it was not good news for the campaigners. The school closed
on 31 August 1993. The building still remains, but has now been converted
into the head office for Warrington Borough Council's Social Service
Department, who have been there since the 1990s. The Department moved
from Priestley House on Sankey Street when the lease for that building
came up for renewal. They now call it Bewsey Old School, after
protests about the original choice of Lockton House, although the
approach road is called Lockton Lane. The land which was the school
playing fields, known as The Towers, was sold for redevelopment and is
now a housing estate. There is a Towers Court residential area off
Lodge Lane, which was built in the 1970s. Within the grounds is St
Rocco's Hospice, which moved from Orford Avenue. The girls' gymnasium
was handed over to the Islamic Community Centre, whilst the Bewsey
Lodge Primary School is still going strong on Lodge Lane. The
caretaker's house on Lodge Lane served as Bewsey Lodge Community
House for some years, but has now relocated to Bewsey Park and the
building has been sold.
This became Bewsey
Lodge Community Centre
when the school closed.
Photo taken 2 Dec 2006.
My Memories of Life at
|I attended Bewsey Secondary Modern between
September 1974 and May 1979. I remember my first day with trepidation.
I was used to having all my lessons taught by one teacher in primary
school, so it came as a bit of a shock when I entered the library
lesson on that first Monday afternoon. Everybody watched me walk in,
having been escorted there by an older pupil.
I soon settle down to my new routine. In my first year I was in
Class 1D. There were three bands of class, with two classes in each
|My first Bewsey
School Photo, 1974.
| So Band 1 included 1A and 1B, my Band 2 was 1C and 1D, and Band
3 being 1E and 1F. I was a shy pupil, but I did enjoy my studying.
has continued into my adult life, hence this website. I liked Maths,
English, Geography and History. I hated P.E. and Games. Biology didn't
interest me. And even though I like technology, I wasn't a great lover
of doing science experiments.
In one lesson the teacher made up a concoction of chemicals and
asked us to taste the result. Not as drastic as it sounds, but nobody would
taste it. He didn't tell us what the components were, but the final
result was sodium chloride, common table salt. It was only when the janitor
brought in some equipment and he tasted it first that we trusted him. I do
remember pupils playing tricks on one science teacher when they turned up the
wattage on the electric dial and laughed when we saw smoke rising from the desk.
|I was not a sporty person.
I'm not now,
although I do watch rugby league. Regular readers of
mywarrington will know the cross-country story from the Sankey Valley
page, but I'll include it here too.
We had a shorter cross-country
route around Bewsey Woods and this came to my advantage. It was a
well-known fact at school that I was not a lover of sport (C-
"far too timid, must try harder" was on one of my school
So Sir must have been very surprised to find me asking to go on the
cross country run every lesson. What he didn't know was that I used to
run out of school and off into the woods on the short route.
short route was even shorter than the official short route! As soon as
I got out of site of the playing fields I used to stop in the woods
for an hour before going back to school. He never did find out!
Swimming finals were held at Legh Street baths, using the Gala
pool. I DID have a go, but not being a strong swimmer I came last, but
the teacher did compliment me on my efforts when I eventually got back
after my second length.
And I did take part in indoor cricket in the
summer using a soft ball. In my final year I played table tennis with
my class mate. In baseball, the teacher used to select teams by
writing 1 or 2 on your hand in pen so you knew where you were.
As you entered
entrance, these bike
corner (The Cheshire
Lines Railway ran
behind the bike sheds).
The boys' toilet
block in front of the car.
Through the playground
to cater for the
extra pupils. We waited
by the bike sheds
for the games master.
Photo © DJ Kenny.
In one year my Timex wind-up watch was stolen whilst
in games. The teacher kept everybody back and released them at five
minute intervals to give them a chance to place it on the bonnet of a
car outside. Nobody returned it and it was replaced with one
similar from the Deputy Headmaster's collection of unclaimed ones. And
we never did see anybody wearing my original in school after that.
The bike sheds view
on 2 Dec, 2006.
I worked hard in my classroom lessons, which paid off
at the end of my second year. I came top of the class and moved up
to 3B the following year. Mind you, my dad was disappointed at the
end of the third year when my results showed me as 15th. Dad asked
why I came top one year and dropped to 15th the next. In fact I had
gone UP to 15th. Regard it as a First Division football club winning
that league and playing in the Premiership the following season. Or
put another way, if there were 31 pupils in each of the six classes,
my position at the end of my Second Year would have been 94. At the
end of my Third Year I was in overall position 46. But dad didn't see
it that way at the time.
We didn't call it Year 1 from Infant School through to Year
Whatever in Senior School as they do now (I first heard that in Neighbours). My Maths teacher did suggest I do the O-Level
examination as I would have passed it easily. But you had to pay
extra for the examination and I was a bit scared of asking dad for
the money in fear of his reaction. So I never did the extra, but did
get the Grade One C.S.E. pass in the subject.
English literature was one of our subjects. One book I read in
school was A Kestrel for a Knave, written by Barry Hines, another
being Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It was made more interesting when the
teacher invited each of us in turn to read out a section.
playing field with
the Cheshire Lines Railway in
the Background. This is the
point where the railway split
for the "straight" and "loop"
sections, the "straight" section
(nearest to the camera) had
already closed in 1968. Read
more about the Cheshire Lines
Railway in Making
Photo taken in 1978.
Even though the film version of Hines' book (called
made in 1969, I hadn't seen it, which I suppose is good in one sense because a
film doesn't always portray the book in the style of the original author. Kes
was about a young schoolboy who trains a kestrel in his spare time. Lord of
the Flies was Golding's fierce morality tale about schoolboys marooned
on a desert island and reverting to religious savagery. Another book we read
was Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner. This is the story of a boy who
stumbles across a master criminal plan to rob Berlin's richest bank. I
remember it being a small blue book. Thankfully, we never did any Shakespeare.
Sorry, but the Bard didn't interest me then and doesn't interest me now. But
it does remind me of the Family Fortunes answer given by a contestant who was
asked to name a famous "Arthur" and he replied
As mentioned earlier, the games master taught us the various
dances for the Christmas party, which seemed to be stage-managed
with a stopwatch! Now we have this dance, then we do this, now
you can line up for your refreshments... It might not have actually been like
that, but parties never really interested me at school anyway. I only remember
attending one Christmas party.
||My History teacher had a strange way of teaching - or
at least it felt strange to me! He was into summarizing every piece
of text! He would read something out to us and before we wrote it
down he then start asking us how we could write down what he had
just said in a summary. He would go right round the class until he
got it as he wanted.
It took longer to write out the edited versions
than it would have done to write it down the original. I wonder if
he was secretly in charge of the School Exercise Book Budget? I'm
glad he's not editing my website. This would have been a one-page
Another of my teachers had a car which was - well - past it! In
fact, he always said it was held together by faith and rust - in
that order! He was our Religious Education teacher. One time
somebody asked him how to spell Benjamin. He replied by saying its
BEN with JAM IN! And the story of Noah and the Ark got his comical
twist. He imagined the sceptics laughing at Noah by asking him how
he was going to get the boat to the water. Noah's reply? I'm not.
The water is coming to the boat!
The school tie has just reminded me of another story.
didn't dare turn up to your Maths lesson without one. Why? Well, one
would make you one - out of paper! It would have a pretty coloured front AND
he would make you wear it for the rest of the day in every other lesson. You
came to school next day wearing your proper one! Most pupils called him Hitler
because they assumed he was German. He was actually from Scotland. Two minutes
before the end of every lesson he would always say "Collect up the books,
put the cat out, feed the mice!" I also remember the time when I copied
the wrong questions out for homework on the Friday and when we marked them on
the Monday he announced to the class that I had made a "pig's ear"
of the copying. He did let me have the marks though because I had got the
answer right to the wrong questions, if you see what I mean. I also took in my
copy of Guinness Book Of Records at one time and he went to the store room to
get me some card to create an alternative cover to keep the original clean.
Hitler? No chance. He was one of the best teachers in the school! And it was
when he called into Lowes (Warrington) Ltd booksellers on Sankey Street (long gone) where I had
my first job that he announced his disappointment at me not taking that O-Level
|And there was one teacher who NOBODY
liked to have lessons from. His method was to colour-code everything.
It would look good on the blackboard and must have took him all his
lunch hour to write up there. But then WE had to write it in our
exercise books using the same colour scheme! I'm
but this sentence
he did it.
Talk about paint the whole world with a rainbow! And if you were
slower than others, hard luck, you had to catch up off your fellow
In the first couple of years we had to do drama. Acting just
wasn't my scene. Having said that, I did get involved in the
research for the previously mentioned Bewsey and Dallam Play (called The North Face of Longshaw Street, by the way). I didn't
act in that, but did show up at rehearsals in the version 10 years
later for the opening of the Pyramid Arts Centre in town centre. I
was there to offer any input, but ended up in the play. Some would
say I didn't act in that version either!
Anyway, back to drama classes. As I say, not my thing, but the
teacher was involved in the Octagon Theatre in Bolton. It is also interesting
that our lessons took place in our octagon-shaped hall on the old Girls'
Jubilee Year celebrations
1977, all schoolchildren
across Warrington were
presented with a commemorative coin.
School Assembly took place in the Octagonal Hall for 1st and
2nd years and in the big hall for 3rd, 4th and 5th years - with music played
before assembly started (often a famous classical piece). Some pupils picked
on the weakest by throwing their hymn books on his or her chair for him to
hold until the end of assembly, leaving them holding a whole pile of hymn
books for the rest of the session. I took part in many assemblies, with a
reading or something.
We had a few school trips as part of our education,
although sometimes they were just for pleasure - Blackpool Lights,
It was only day trips for me, such as North Wales and
Delamere Forest, but some pupils were able to go abroad to France or
Italy. The teacher involved in the foreign holidays used to make his
own cini films of the holidays and it gave me my first insight into
how they make cartoons.
I watched him filming one open sequence with
the letters running across the screen showing the destination. He
would lay the letters out, photograph them, then move them across
the page slightly, re-photograph them, and so on until his sequence
was shot. He would return from the holiday and show the film. It was
great to see, especially when he ran the film backwards to see one
of the skiers pick themselves up from a fall!
This is DJKenny,
the school tie.
My most enjoyable subjects in my
final two years was photography. Of course, in my time it was all on
film. Digital was only mentioned when you asked what the time was,
if you happened to have a digital watch! I miss the procedures of
the processing techniques as I never set up a darkroom when I had
left school. The school had a well-equipped darkroom and studio
We used Praktica single lens reflex cameras and 35mm
black and white film. We were charged a penny a shot for each
picture taken and a small amount for the paper (Ilford brand in
those days). We used Durst enlargers, but the teacher always
preferred to use the older version they had. He once said you can
use those flashy Dursts if you like but I can get a better print
from the old one in the corner. I thoroughly enjoyed this subject
and it even came in useful for another of my C.S.E. subjects as I
took pictures in my local church to illustrate my Religious
We visited a film processing factory to see how the
professionals process colour and black and white film.
When we had an exhibition in the school I told the story of
that visit on a mounted board. And it's a good job my dad had his wits about
him because I was describing how the film was stored on a roll and spelt it
ROLE. Yoo wownt fynd enny spelllling mistakkes lyke thatt onn thiss websssite!
took at school in 1977.
The subject matter has
been the bane of my life
I go round the
taking photos for the
website there is always
post trying to
get in the way.
Look out for a new
Posts of Warrington!
The type we
used in our
Günther Burkhardt III
One pupil asked how they managed to take a photo of the earth
from space. The teacher replied: stand well back! As part of my compulsory English
lessons you had to give a talk on a subject for about 15 minutes and then
answer relevant questions from the other pupils in the class. I was brave to
choose the procedure for processing a film, beginning with taking the film out
of the cassette in a changing bag, spooling it onto a reel and placing it in
the light-proof tank ready for the processing chemicals to be added. The
bravery was actually doing it with real photos I had taken for the photography
||Something went horribly wrong and
they didn't come out too well. The photography teacher offered a
rescue plan by suggesting I used a process calling intensification.
This involved reprocessing the film in a different
chemical to bring out the rather faded images. When that didn't work he said I
won't charge you for the negatives. He then said what I should have done was
use a dummy strip of film and add water to the tank in the English talk! Why
didn't I think of that?
I bet you didn't know that my photography teacher
invented the lottery? Well, he invented the optical scanning system
they use. Okay, so it wasn't the system they use, but he did
get there first in 1978. For the written exams he set the questions
out as a multiple choice sheet where you blocked in a circle to
indicate you answer.
His answer sheet contained holes in the
position of the correct answer. He put his answer sheet on top of
ours and if he saw a black circle coloured in through the hole you
got a mark.
He reckoned he could mark answer sheets much quicker that way. Of
course, the national lottery uses computers to read marks on a page
to indicate your choice of number. Whichever way was best, it got me
a Grade One in my finals.
|An early example
of still life in
few weeks in
my pens - they've
my name on.
Can't remember if
was my original
or the school
When we started the course in September,
didn't give us that much confidence in the subject
he told us that, with his qualifications, his
application to the top
in London would not get him any further than
application form, and yet he was teaching us! It's a
we put that behind us right away.
is a Patterson developer,
film spool and tank used to
process the film. There is a video on YouTube
to develop a film using similar equipment. The video is
about 18 minutes in length and although some things were
slightly different to what I remember, it still brought back
happy memories for me after 36 years! And when you've
watch the video you'll be saying thank goodness for digital!
Great days though.
||In the fourth and fifth year I was selected to be a
school prefect. One of my duties was to be posted at one of the
doors at break times to ensure that pupils stayed out of the
building, apart from using the toilets. It was quite an honour to be
chosen because they only chose you if they felt you could be
trusted. I didn't have any problems from other pupils because I had been
chosen. I remember my final day at school as a prefect we were asked
to stand by the fire alarms so nobody could set them off. Well it
wasn't me that set them off! Actually, I don't think they did get
set off. Not before I left the building anyway.
view of the old Boys'
School in modern times
Photo taken 2 Dec 2006.
When I had left school I became involved in working for the
elderly in my local community. It led to me re-entering the school some years
later when the school was happy to offer facilities for committee meetings
and eventually for the Help The Needy & Over Sixties Club to meet there every Wednesday.
When I was back at the school I met up with my old games master and asked if
he was still teaching games. "Oh no he said. I'm too old for that now! I teach
Maths these days." Help The Needy gave the school the chance to continue its community involvement because many pupils willing gave up their
lunchtimes to assist with the serving of meals to the housebound members. The
pupils, both girls and boys, really enjoyed their time there and I'm sure it
inspired some of them to consider social and care work as a career when they
left school. In fact, even when the over 60s club found permanent
accommodation at Whitecross Community Centre, some of the children still came
over from the school to help out at lunchtimes. Their effort was greatly
appreciated and there were so many wishing to take part that they had to be
put on a rota system.
views of the school building when it was the head office for the
Social Services department, and known as Bewsey Old School, with a
modern lamp post. The
name Bewsey Old School was not the original name
for the Social Services building. They wanted to call it Locton
House, but the local
residents complained that it wasn't in keeping with the memory of the school.
was Locton anyway? I still don't know. The authorities did use the name
Locton in another way - Locton Lane is the road leading to the site
from the north
end of Lodge Lane by the roundabout. Photos taken
2 Dec 2006.
what about the names of the roads for the houses built on the
playing fields when Cheshire County Council sold them off in the
Danby Close, Brompton Gardens, Salton Gardens, Levisham Gardens,
Helmsley Gardens, Normanby Close - sorry, I haven't a clue
connection they have to the school (they probably have no connection).
I had many happy years at Bewsey School, both as a pupil and
later whilst working in the community.
Read more reader memories at the end of
the page. Click here to go there now.
Here are some photos taken after
the school closed in 1993. All six images copyright © D Hardman.
views of one of the original Girls playgrounds. During my time at
the school, the
darkroom was in the block on the first photograph, the library was in
upper floor of the second
photograph, the photography classroom was on the ground
floor in the centre of the second photo and the main staff room was opposite
orange door in the
third photo. Also in the third photo on the first floor was the
science room where had the sodium chloride tasting lesson mentioned
first view shows two sections of the playgrounds of the old girls'
school with the
tennis courts behind the fencing on the left with access to the school from Lodge Lane in
the distance along the road.
The playing fields were to the left of the scene. The second
view shows one of the corridors
in the old boys section. The main
office was through the
doors in the distance and to the left. The third view shows one of the
washrooms, but it
to tell whether it was one of the boys or the girls, or where it was in
High School Demolition (May 2013)
||One suggestion has been outside the entrance
in the area shown in these two photographs. Although I didn't witness
it, my friend
DJKenny had asked the demolition crew to remove one
of the flag stones to investigate (it was the area I was going to
suggest they looked at as one flag stone is larger than the others).
Were you part of the team who buried the time capsule and can you
pinpoint the location for us? Had it already been removed?
I arrived on 16 May 2013 to take these two photographs and was told that
no trace of the capsule had been found. So the mystery goes on.
Before we continue with the demolition story, you will
have noticed the old photo from 1934 near the top of the page.
I'll include it again here to expand on the story about the land close to
Clapgates Road and Clapgates Crescent.
Oh, two street signs show the name differently: Clap Gates Road on one and
on the other (also Clapgates Crescent). The current A-Z map has 'Clapgates'.
1934 photo of the
school showing the
railway line and remains
of Clapgates Farm in the
bottom right corner.
Bewsey Park and the
hosing estate can be
seen in the top half.
houses through the
gates are close to the
of the Clapgates
buildings. The road
the right is called
Highgates Close, with
is the spot where
the boys waited for the
games teacher to
take us across to the gym.
There was a bike shed
here in my school days.
houses seen here
(and in the previous
photo) are built on the
site of the railway
is Highgates Close.
a view of the
Bewsey Old School building as it looked 0n 2 December 2006.
And a bit more about life at the school in my days
with the demolition.
worm's-eye view of the
main reception with the
ramp that was added
in later years.
The first floor room was
one of the two art rooms.
I remember it had an
electric pencil sharpener.
I never saw any electric
looks like somebody
is an Everton fan.
This loft space was
above the science
classroom where we
did the salt-tasting
thing that annoys me
when a company vacates
a building is when they
leave a perfectly good
table and other furniture
behind - a local charity
could have made
good use of it.
These next photos were taken from the small embankment next to the site of the
school canteens - a vantage point that DJKenny
spot until I sent him a photo (he arrived at the site before me on the
first day we visited).
| The sequence show progress on the 16th, 17th, 20th,
22nd and 23rd of May 2013 respectively. The second photo shows the
whole site from
further away. The gymnasiums are on the right
(saved for the community) and the grassed area on the left is where
the canteens once stood.
In the days when the school occupied
the buildings the area where tarmac is in the third photo was
covered with grass (more on that later).
two decorative pieces graced the top of the main entrance to the
school. They were saved and will be put to another use.
The one in the first photo had already been removed by the time I
arrived at the site. I was able to witness the second one being
removed with great care by the demolition workers. One of them needed
to climb on the roof to attach the rope. I don't know where
they were taken to, but hopefully they will be displayed in the town
somewhere - I forgot to ask somebody on the day (18 May 2013).
The building has now been demolished.
views of the site taken from (left to right) the north-east
corner, south-east corner and north-west corner.
I was invited onto the site for a supervised photo opportunity. Thanks
to the guys for looking after my health and
safety. The fourth photo was taken from over the fence separating the
school site from St Rocco's Hospice, which
was built on the former tennis courts and adjacent playing field. The photos
were taken on 23 May 2013.
is an interesting observation for lovers of history.
Among the scrap
metal I found this piece with the destination for the construction of
painted onto it. You might be
aware that in 1974 the government changed many of the
boundaries across the country, with the creation of Merseyside,
and Cumbria in this region, but the original county boundaries did not
administration came under Cheshire
County Council from 1974
until 1998 (when it became a unitary
authority), but the section of the town north of the River Mersey was (and
still is) within the county
boundary of Lancashire -
it didn't move out of Lancashire (neither did Liverpool or Manchester).
Therefore the statement 'Bewsey, Lancs'
is as true today as it was in 1934 when the school opened.
more on this subject, see these two websites:
Friends of Real Lancashire www.forl.org
and The Association of British Counties www.abcounties.co.uk.
for demolition and recycling.
final scenes of the demolition site. Once the
rubble, metal and wood above ground level had
been cleared and recycled, the crew had the task of
removing the foundations and levelling the ground.
The second photo is a view of the former gymnasiums
never before possible while the school existed.
The Islamic community now own the former girls' gym
on the right, having purchased it from Warrington
Borough Council. I'm not sure who owns the other gym.
scenes showing the area between the two school
sites. On the left we look towards the senior school
through the fence which separates the school from
St Rocco's Hospice. The view on the right looks towards
Lodge Lane, one of the three former entrances to the
senior school. Part of the senior school occupied the
grassed area. My first year classroom was located
in roughly the centre of the first photo.
taken 3 June 2013
taken 18 May 2013 (left) and 3 June 2013
I would like to
give a big thank you to Excavation &
Contracting UK Ltd, BT
Skip Hire and to St Rocco's Hospice
for allowing me vantage points to take some of these photographs. Sadly, the
time capsule wasn't found. If anybody knows of its whereabouts, get
in touch so I can pass on the information to all the people who have asked
me about it. Also, thanks to DJKenny
for his photograph showing the eastern side of the school building (below,
the site on 14 August 2013 to see what had happened to the area. When I last
spoke to the demolition company in June they said the land had not been sold at
that point. Now it seems it will be some time yet as there is a new fence
surrounding the site. I assume the demolition company took back their own
fencing and the authorities put up the one here now. I also assume that houses
will be built on the land, as a local housing trust was named in a conversation
with me as the future occupiers of the site. However, so far I have not had
confirmation for or against that company's involvement, so I will not reveal who
it is. Notice in the second photo that nature has already reclaimed the land.
view from the
The kitchens were in
the foreground with
the exit to Clapgates
Road at the top right.
view from the
new fence - this
is where the main
entrance to the
school reception was.
taken 14 August 2013
they do sell the land for houses, I hope they are a bit more respectful for the
memory of the school by giving the roads meaningful names. They could, for
instance use the house names (Boulting, Downham, Furness, Poole or Robertson -
of course some already exist as street names in the town, but they could be
adapted: Poole Close/View/Gardens etc). Or maybe name them after former teachers
- Griffiths after Marjorie Griffiths. Miss
Griffiths was a charity fundraiser, magistrate and head teacher at Bewsey School. She worked tirelessly for disabled people until her
death in 1994. In fact, Warrington
Disability Partnership (WDP) has already named part of the their
headquarters at Beaufort Street in Sankey Bridges the
Marjorie Griffiths Learning Centre in her memory. And there is a another connection
here too: the WDP is based in part of the Evelyn Street School, which merged
with Bewsey School in 1972. Yes, there is already Griffiths Avenue in Risley and
Griffiths Street in Westy, but you could use something like Griffiths Close. I
wonder if anybody in authority will take me up on it? Time will tell (this
gymnasiums in their modern setting. The boys' changing rooms can be
in the first photo (still in use as a part of a gymnasium), with the girls'
room in the second photo, now used by the Islamic community as part of
community centre. Building work
nears completion (third photo).
taken 20 May 2013 (first and second) and 26 Nov 2013
photo above was taken on 2 Dec 2012
And There's More
We're not finished yet. The school might
have gone now, but I won't let it disappear just yet. The following six photos were
provided by Conrad Williams. Link to his website www.conradwilliams.net.
Many thanks Conrad for allowing the use of your photos.
boys' school. My
maths teacher used the
classroom to the left of
same playground from
the opposite side. When I
worked for Help The Needy
Over Sixties Club we had
committee meetings in the
classroom in the corner by
the black car.
school library was
on the first floor of the
building in the centre
of the photo.
A science classroom
was upstairs on the
left as we look.
scene shows the
octagonal hall, and the
school canteens in
the distance to the right
playground of the
original girls' school. The
weather vane can be
seen on top of the library.
moved into the building
after the school closed a
decision was made to
demolish surplus parts
of the school. The main
hall occupied the land on
the left of the photo.
bit of creative art
which was featured
in the brickwork below
the weather vane in the
third photo above. There
isn't much of this in
modern buildings - it
probably costs too much.
This next set of photos formed part of my
C.S.E. Photography course in the my fourth and fifth years between 1977 and
1979. The quality of the negatives has deteriorated over the years, but I have
cleaned them up a bit for the digital age.
school - it
scene shows one
of the corridors. I know
I took the photo and
as far as I can remember
most of the corridors
were normally free from
clutter (long before
they came up with 'health
and safety'), but
clearly my memory is
clouded as I have
no recollection of the
items by the windows.
They didn't call it health
and safety in those days.
I think it was called
bike sheds on the
north (former girls) side
of the school. The tennis
and netball courts are in
the top left. This area is
now occupied by St
Rocco's Hospice who have
a car park at the top end
and a garden to the left
of the bike shed area.
The road was reused and
leads to the car park. My
first year classroom
was the second one
along through the door
where the two children
are stood to the left of
the telegraph pole. (Why
do we still call them
netball courts. The
photo formed part of
my photography course
featuring people. In this
day and age you would
be frowned upon for
taking photos of people so
I haven't got a clue how
you would include them
in a photography course
today without having lots
of forms to fill in. That's
why you don't see many
people on my website:
it's too much hard work!
At least most of
the children here have
their backs to me so I
can illustrate the
I came into
It was also
More photos from my photography course.
is a view of the walkway at the back of
the junior school, but the design is exactly
the same as the senior school. The French
windows were welcome in the summer
because it got quite hot in those classrooms.
It was freezing in the winter of course
and there were many times when pupils
were sent home due to the cold. I sat in my
parka on a few occasions during lessons.
house is on
the top right.
land on the
and bike shed
had two bike
sheds - one
on each side
of the site).
a car park).
I don't think
in those days.
in the 1970s).
photo, left, is today's view of the fifth image above, which now
shows new houses built on High Gates Close, the site of the former
railway embankment. The houses on the top left of the photo are
on Farmside Close, acknowledging Clap Gates Farm. The photo,
right, looks in the opposite direction towards the site of the
school canteens which stood on the site of the embankment in the
photo. The only thing that has changed since I took the photos
on 2 Dec 2012 is the extension to the former girls'
changing rooms in 2013 in the left of the photo.
Photography course assignments - a couple of
of our photography assignments was to tell a story in three photographs.
Mine was simple - a walk into the school building, getting closer to the
each time. They say a picture is worth a thousand words - I would
stretch this story to three times that. I can't remember how many marks
scored for this assignment. I remember the teacher
saying on the first
day that we weren't here to take 'holiday snaps' - he wanted
good, professional-looking photos. I completed the course with a Grade 1
maybe this simple idea for my three pictures story wasn't that bad after
This is the school yard on the playing fields side (the former girls'
the old days). I was taught English in the classroom to the left of the
teacher showed us how to create a negative print from a negative. Easy
in the digital age, but in those days it was more tricky. We started off
standard negative image which, if I remember correctly, we lined up with
of lithographic film in the dark and exposed the image onto it. This then created
image on the lithographic film which was then printed onto the
paper in the normal way. The first photo here is the print from the
The second photo is the negative print. I can't remember how I
achieved the result
in the third photo - it was a one-off project.
A bit of then and now.
was an entrance to the school through the arch of the railway bridge
of The Cheshire Lines Railway, which marks
the boundary between Bewsey
and Whitecross. Black and white photos taken between 1977 and
Colour photo taken 15 May 2013.
views of the railway bridge over Lovely
Lane near Clapgates Road in the late 1970s
and 11 Nov 2006. The only differences are
the addition of the safety notices.
Lodge Primary School
the Bewsey Lodge Primary School website
Teachers who were at Bewsey between 1954 and 1958 were:
ELLIS ...... if she found you had headlice, she would send you home
with a letter and a dark brown bottleful of 'lotion'
SWAN (later became MRS HAIGH) ...... taught Art
JONES ...... the Drama teacher
HICKS ..... Music teacher
LOUDON ..... my favourite teacher to whom I gave a bunch of flowers from our garden, every Monday morning which were always put in a
on her desk.
HATCH ......Physical Education teacher
BOWE ...... one of two Needlework teachers
HAWTHORNE ..... Science teacher
MATHER ...... the History teacher
McGINN ..... Needlework teacher.
STONE ..... Religious Instruction teacher
HARRIS, MRS JOLLEY and MISS ENTWISTLE ...... Domestic Science
I remember my first day at Bewsey because I was SO proud to be
wearing my new uniform... something I'd never had to wear at Primary
school. I remember my belted 'burberry' (or gaberdine) but mostly I can
remember my navy beret complete with green pom pom... yes honestly, it had a
green pom pom on top. I was a little girl who'd always worn a hair ribbon bow
on the top of my head, so I was quite thrilled with my new 'headgear'...
until I got to the bus stop and while waiting for the school bus, I was teased
and had the beret pulled off and passed around. Worse still when I got to my
new school and saw only one other. I was tormented and bullied unmercifully.
At hometime I took my beret home minus pom pom, and needless to say I never,
ever wore it again.
I remember in one cookery lesson with Miss Entwistle, I sat at
a table at the front of the class and someone left the classroom door open,
asked to please shut it, I got up... so did the girl next to me, we both
dashed to do teacher's bidding and I caught my leg on something very sharp,
sticking out of an old tin larder/cupboard. I screamed in pain as my knee was
ripped open and was carried over to the Headmistress's office where she wanted
me taken to hospital to be stitched up. I was SO terrified at the thought of
being 'sewn up' and refused to go, so I was bandaged up and sent home. I still
have the scar today, 47 years on.
In my final year in needlework class, I made a petticoat with
matching knickers. Miss McGinn insisted that as I was such 'a little thing'
with absolutely no shape, my petticoat would be a straight one with no cups
and instead of lace edged panties, mine would be 'granny type bloomers' with
legs reaching almost to my knees. I used to try and fake 'sickness' every week
on sewing day, but as Mum had paid out good money for material etc, I HAD to
go to school and get the hated garment finished. I never did wear it... can
you blame me??
On a much happier note, were the school dinners...
can smell them even now. Proper mashed potatoes (not your dried packet stuff),
cabbage, homemade pie, lovely gravy etc, then there was lovely thick rice
pudding or my absolute favourite, semolina with either a blob of jam or a big
thick ginger biscuit which we called NIG NOGS. Also chocolate sponge and
chocolate sauce, gorgeous custard, blancmange etc. Only thing I didn't
like was 'frogspawn'... tapioca. Yep, school dinners were excellent, not
like the quick and convenient stuff they dish up nowadays (and I should know,
I spent 12 yrs in a school kitchen in the 80's).
I was in FURNESS HOUSE throughout my time at Bewsey and at the
last House Festival before I left the school, I presented Mrs Furness with a
lovely bouquet of flowers. I remember my little speech: "As I
leave school this Christmas, this is the last House Festival I shall ever
attend. Please accept these flowers on behalf of all the pupils here at
Seeing again the pic of the Caretaker's house, reminded me of
the AVIARY that was in the playground alongside the toilets and each holiday,
I used to volunteer to come in and feed and water the many budgies and
canaries that were there. My brother and I used to walk from home at Orford,
call at the caretaker's house each morning for the key then clean up the
aviary, giving the birds fresh seed and water. I don't ever remember it
raining on these occasions so we would spend ages just enjoying them. That was
a lovely job which we looked forward to every holiday.
They do say schooldays are the best days of your life and for
me they certainly were.
Ex-pupil Kathleen Barker nee Spero.
Life at Bewsey Girls
I attended Bewsey Girl's Secondary Modern between
1954 and 1958. I was a very forward and pushy child and had to be at
the front of the queue for everything. I loved sports especially
running and would enter as many races as possible.
I think the first 3 winners in each race went on to
represent the school at the Town Sports which were held in Victoria
Park. I never managed to get there until one year, someone fell ill
and so I took her place. I failed though, I came LAST!
Because music was a favourite lesson of mine, I joined the
choir. All went well until one day the teacher had all of us (about 40) up on
the stage. Me being tiny, was stood on the front row. She walked slowly along
the line listening carefully to each one of us, but me being very nervous of
her, clammed up and just 'mimed'. I was thrown out of the choir there and then.
Then there was the Drama group, how I loved that. One year I got the part of the
Angel Gabriel in the Christmas Nativity.
I was on stage throughout the whole performance being the narrator. Another year
I played the part of Beelzebub. I remember having to drag off the stage, a girl
on my back who was much bigger than me and had her hands around my neck Then
there was the time I made Chelsea buns in the cookery class and put SALT in them
instead of SUGAR. Mum made me eat every one (she was SO annoyed with me). I
cried the day I left when I was 15. I had enjoyed every moment of my time there.
Don't forget to send in
your own memories of life at Bewsey School. It would great to hear from you,
especially if you were in my class.
Surnames I remember for people in my 5th year class were Algie, Anderson,
Brown, Burrell, Chilvers, Dobson and Heaton.
These were just the boys - in fact, one of the teachers called all the boys by
their surnames, and the girls by their first names.
Thanks to DJKenny for the year and to Philippe for the exact date of the
closure of the school - 31 August 1993.