Glastonbury School

An Inspector's Report 1940

By Beverley Walker

The Girls

An Inspectors Report dated  May 11th 1940 shows that what was once Central Girls School No 6 was now named Glastonbury Central Girls. This consisted of around 340 girls in ten classes with thirteen assistant teachers two of whom took Domestic subjects.

The first year which was divided into three classes took a General course used to assess the abilities of the students.

The second and third years were graded, with the A graded class taught French and the C graded class following a special course. Year three A graders also learned commercial subjects.

In the Leavers year girls were taught along specialist lines with girls being taught to work individually on assignments in each subject.

Subjects were English in which Glastonbury Girls had reached a high standard, Maths, History, Geography, Needlework, Art, Science and Music and French (A classes only). Music was not a strong subject as there were no teachers proficient in the teaching of it. A few pupils learned Bookkeeping and Shorthand. P.T (physical training) was taught by two specialists. The playing field had been much curtailed due to the fact of the Air Raid Shelters. They were trying to obtain the use of a local recreation ground.

They had an Athletics Society with an Annual Sports day held in conjunction with the Boys School.

Photo:The Old Air Raid Shelters at Glastonbury School

The Old Air Raid Shelters at Glastonbury School

Sutton Local Studies and Archive

The Boys

 The Boys Report dated June 1st 1940 shows that at the outbreak of war seven of the ten Assistant Masters left to join the Armed Forces. They were replaced with one experienced master and six from the supply list, three of whom were in their probationary year.

There were approximately 350 boys in nine classes. They took many of the same subjects as the girls except they took Woodwork instead of Needlework. Their Maths and Science was classed as outstanding work by the teacher.

The report shows that they visited Art Galleries and had been on paid educational visits to France, Holland and Germany (I assume before the outbreak of war).

Their Athletics and Boxing was up to All England Schoolboy standard.

 Overcrowding

By the end of August 1937 St. Helier Schools 7,8,9 and 10 were told that there could not be classes of more than fifty children. The schools were given temporary permission to use the Hall as a classroom as space was limited in accommodating all the children. In 1938 the sum of £ 22,497 was sanctioned to be spent on a Gymnasium to be temporarily divided into three classes of junior and Infant children at Winchcombe, Welbeck, Green Wrythe and Tweeddale Schools.

All these schools appear to be known by their names rather than numbers by this time.


The National Archives documents ED21/61610, E40/300/43

This page was added by Beverley Walker on 16/02/2011.
Comments about this page

I went to No.6 Glastonbury, right through from infants to seniors. I moved up to the boys' school in about 1942. The headmaster was Bill Trim, English was Mr. Prentice, woodwork was Mr.Paddon, science and physics was Mr.Hale, and the rest were women teachers until the end of the war when the men teachers started to return. One of the women teachers was a Miss Reech (I'm not sure about the spelling) and she was a cracker. All the older lads fancied her. She married Bill Trim's son, so that put a stop to all the fantasies. Seeing as we left school then at 14 I don't think we had a bad education, all things considered.

By Peter Leonard
On 18/03/2011

My mother, Irene (Rene) Hirsch went to this school when it was St. Helier No. 6 Central School from 1933 to 1935. I still have her leaving report! The Head Mistress was a B. Allen. My mother's family lived in Legion Court.

By R Skegg
On 07/12/2011

My father Les Gooch (see section on scouting) was a founder member of the school and remembers the school motto as being " built on honour". Dad's art teacher (I think) was one Mr Twilley later the head when I went to the school and the overseer of the bi-lateral model of secondary education that pre-dated comprehensive education. In fact for me an eleven plus failure, it was interesting to study Latin and French in a non-grammar school. Other 'failures' ended up at various universities!

By Derek Gooch
On 24/03/2012

I've been reading Beverley's article with interest and also the comments. My father was Mr Paddon the woodwork teacher. He died in 1962. Mentioning trips abroad, with Mr Twilley he took a party to Germany in May 1937. I have the newspaper report still and hope a local paper will publish it. Also pictures of the staff. My father arranged trips to London Docks with Mr Pool and there is one of the boys with a wooden shield on a boat. Also, of course, there are many photos of woodwork displays at the open evenings.

By Joan Todd
On 27/07/2012

Does anyone remember my brother Robert (Bobby) Swanston who was tragically drowned in the summer of 1950 he attended Glastonbury School for Boys. I was 8 yrs old then and attended all the schools from infants to the Seniors Girls. We were a family of 8 and now there is just myself and one sister of 80 left. I do not remember anything about my brother so would welcome any comments.

By Jennifer Swanston
On 12/11/2012

Hello Jennifer I do remember your brother, I was in the same class and I was also in the Boys Brigade like Bobby, but I had left the Boys Brigade when this terrible tragedy happened. As you probably know it was while he was camping with the BB at Snowdonia that he lost his life. I shall never forget that awful time, it is a memory that has stayed with me till this day. I shall never forget your poor mother the day of the funeral and there was so many people in Glastonbury Road that day. I lived in Glastonbury Rd, further down nearly opposite the school. I remembered Bobby as a quiet lad but very likeble, I think he was well liked by the whole class.

By Eric Plummer
On 18/03/2013

I have just read some of the copy you have about St Heliers on the website. Which I found really interesting as I started school Easter 1939 at the infants school Glastonbury road, left the seniors December 1949. I did not live on the estate but just over the other side of the railway line.I knew several boys & can still remember several of their names also some of the staff at the school. I have not been along Glastonbury road since some time in the 1970s.We spent a lot of our time playing on the sports field but now you have got a large school built on the field. I have a lot memories of the war time when all the shelters were being built on the little field shared by the infants, junior & senior boys & girls. we were sent for lessons at any larger house nearer to where you lived for part time until the shelters were completed. We had to go to what used to be Thomsons Nurseries on Sutton Common Road.( corner of Barrington Drive) I think I best stop here as I could go on for quite some time. I moved up to Norwich in 1956 & still live in the county & enjoy it.

By Brian Mackie
On 29/05/2013

Ah Brian - you've stirred another fond memory. I had a summer holiday job at Thomsons Nursery - yard boy under the guidance of Clive Thomson, the youngest son I think. All the Thomson brothers were kind and decent people and several boys from the estate were given summer holiday jobs. Old Mr Thomson was quite an impressive man and one year he entrusted me to taking the geranium cuttings for his wonderful front garden. They all took except one cutting and Mr Thomson Snr made me feel like a million dollars. I'm in Australia now and I believe the nursery is gone with houses on there now but that job gave me such confidence. If any of the Thomson clan are reading this you should be justifiably proud of what your family did in those days.

By Steve Smith
On 18/06/2013

I went to Glastonbury Road Infants School from 1947 to 1950. The Headmistress was Mrs Cook (or Crook?). One of the other teachers was Mrs Dare who used to bring her son to school on the back of her bike. I remember that they used to raise the Union Jack on its pole on Empire Day - the whole school was in the playground.

By Mike Cowley
On 11/07/2013

I was a pupil at Glastonbury 1957-1964 in the 'G' stream and well remember many of the staff mentioned above. Mr Paddon I remember as a kindly figure; we did woodwork only in the first year (or two? - can't remember) and they were first thing Monday morning, so that was a pleasant start to the week. I used to spend a lot of time melting and stirrng the glue, which had hardened, in a pot on a gas ring - it had a pleasant smell. We made a standard series of useful things - a bookstand and a shoebox among them, I remember. We spent a long time over mortice and tenon joints. I think I remember Mr Paddon had a moped. I went to his funeral as a member of a small party including WVT(willey) and Peter Price, (Head Boy and recently retired Bishop of Bath and Wells) Kevin Allen

By Kevin Allen
On 24/07/2013

My husband used to go to Glastonbury Rd School. His name is Malcolm Cowen. He was at the school from 1941 to 1946..Teachers in attendance were,Mr Trim Headmaster, Mr Twilly Dept. Head,Miss Baines, Mr Young, Mr Prentice, Miss Tyler, Mrs Thomas and Mr Paddon. My husband was in the sport of boxing. In the Olympic Squad 1952 Helsinki..Does anyone out there remember my husband...

By Veronica Cowen
On 21/02/2014

I believe I was one of (the above) Kevin Allen's classmates in the G stream.  I too attended from 1957 to 1964.  I remember Mr Paddon as one of two woodwork teachers.  Also I recall Mr Twilley, Mr Boyce (Chemistry), Mr Saunders (History), Mr Poole (Geography) and Mr Sharpe (English) ...

By Tony Warn
On 15/04/2014

Hullo Jennifer Swanston and Eric Plummer!  I was a sergeant in the 15th Mid Surrey BB Coy at Green lane Congregational Church in the mid-late 1940's. In the late summer of 1950 we went off to a camp in Llanberis, Snowdonia.  We were horrified when poor old Bobby got drowned, and our Minister (Congregational) who was running the camp, had to return to Morden, to attend Bobby's funeral. I have an old snapshot with Bobby in it, taken at an earlier, seaside camp.  And Eric- I seem to remember(?) that you- like me- turned very brown in the summer !?!)         Bill

By Bill Mallion
On 22/04/2014

I attended this school from 1956 until 1961. I remember it all very well. I was not particularly happy there, as I was not a good mixer, and sometimes there was bullying, but I was able to look after myself. I did little work in the first couple of years, until Harry Hawkins (the English teacher) took me aside and gave me a good talking to. He was the first teacher to show any personal interest in me, and I got off my butt and got my act together, and did some work. He was the best teacher there, although I now see that most of them were tired and some were burnt out. The headmaster, William Vernon Twilley, who had his favourites, and the rest just got in his way.. I clashed with him a number of times (they call it 'dumb insolence' in the Army),so it wasn't all him, but his main target was Lionel Reuben Rogers, a small boy who he would pick on regularly... I remember Mr.Poole (geography) Mr "Mouse Saunders" (history) Mr.Paddon (woodwork) who had emphysemia, 'Dinger' Bell (physics) Mr.Sanders (P.T.)RNVR, who used to keep a wooden drumstick in his sweats to 'encourage' anyone not trying....Mrs. Baines, who nobody messed with, Mr.'Slug'Boyce  (chemistry) who was so kind hearted that he would slipper naughty boys with the inner sole of a slipper, Mr.Tate, of the bristly mustache, who caught me smoking in class (just the once!) and Mr Crowhurst (maths) who would mumble away about algebra or somesuch for hours. I have particular happy memories of the French lady who taught us her language for 6 months in 1961, before returning back to Paris. (Twilley and I clashed over that, too!) I remember most of my classmates:  John Hoyes, Alan Cretchley, Chris Colvin,David Day,Peter Hodge,Malcom Witt, Dave Periera,David Fiddimore,John Kendal Bouch, Howard Boulton and Colin Shade, the school swot, who got 192 'O'levels at 12, or something like that. Twilley made him 'Head boy' which shows that education doesn't mean you are smart, or can give orders!  I musn't forget the famous David Rowlands, who left school 'early' , and is now a multi millionaire (see Private Eye passim). I could go on for pages, and will do if not stopped, but I'll close now. Thanks again to Mr. Hawkins, who made me think, and inspired me to have a few successes in my life.

By Alan Carrington
On 22/04/2014

I attended #6 School, Glastonbury Road from fall 1949 to leaving Easter 1954. I did meet the previous head mistress Miss B Allen at a sports day function but I cannot remember the name of the head mistress while I was there. I do remember Miss Levens who took us for music and English. She married Mr Haybittle who took us for geography and the boys half of the school for woodwork. School was split down the middle the boys and girls sides were kept very segregated. I had two older sisters who went there and they both had one of my teachers, a Miss Dempster. She was very old when I started. We tried to sit toward the back of the class as she used to spit when she talked.  Some of my class mates were Hilda Bruce, who lived really close to the school, She was one of my very good friends growing up..Connie Chipping, Rita Cull, Evelyn Bannister, Lily Thompson. Lily was a bit of a bully. Miss Jones is another teacher I liked, She taught history and also dramatics. I mustn't forget Miss Green who taught us French. I wish I could remember the science master as he was a hoot but I just can't think of his name. I hope somebody out there remembers some of these people. My maiden name was Atkins.

By Barbara McCormack
On 24/06/2014

I lived on Rosehill Avenue up to 1967 when we moved - to Canada. I went to Glastonbury Public School and I recall Miss Markwell as the Teacher or maybe Principal at that time. Mr Moore was the Geography teacher.

Gillian Green. Howard Hawes. Graham Gillis ( sister Mandy and father Norman ) were the main group of friends I had.

I would like to reconnect after so many years and lost time.

By Chris Watts
On 09/09/2014

 

Hi Jenifer Swanston,

I lived just around the corner from your house near the railway bridge in Love Lane. As a ten year old in 1950 I do remember your brother Bobby and believe it or not but I always think of his tragedy when thinking back to those boyhood days. Bobby never actually played with our gang on that corner but was more adventurous by joining the B.B. I do remember he was a likeable lad who kept himself to himself. 

In my minds eye I can still see him running through the corner council plot that every road had in those days on his way to the shops maybe, and also that terrible day when told he had drowned.

You were a friend of my sister Linda Vail and I believe you were both in the same class. In fact I still have a photograph of you and her in my back garden somewhere in my archives.

You bumped into my late mother some years ago at the doctors in Central Road. I was amazed that my mother did not think to exchange addresses with you as my sister Linda would love to hear from you.

I also remember you had an elder sister who was a nurse at St Helier's Hospital who nursed my father in-law during his final days, a lovely lady.

Hope this has been of interest.

Ray Vail

 

By Ray Vail
On 30/07/2015

Veronica Cowen: I was only at Glastonbury senior school from 1952 to 1954 before transferring to Tweeddale school in (technical stream) in 1954. One day an 'old' boy of about 25? made a visit to see his old teachers. He was to my memory very tall, fair haired and I think a heavy weight. After he left the teacher told us he was Bibby Cowen an old boy of the school.

Whether this was the same Cowen I do not know but whoever he was he certainly made and impression on us lads seeing a real boxer in the flesh.

By Ray Vail
On 30/07/2015

I went to Glastonbury Road school. The juniors and then the seniors from 1947 to 1954. I remember all the teachers, especially Miss Levens, later married Mr Haybittle another teacher. Also Mr Lambert who was my form teacher. I remember all the girls going up to the Congregational Church in Green Lane for the monthly service. I used to try to sit at the back, as Mr Maunder knew my Dad, who was choirmaster and I sang in the Choir, so I didn't want to be recognized. When I left school, I also worked at Lines Brothers in the offices, after completing the commercial course. I really enjoyed my time there. I worked there until I married in 1960 and left when we started our family. I feel the education I received was excellent, if you were prepared to work hard, as later when I returned to work, I was able to work in retail management and later for the NHS in a local surgery where I stayed until I retired and we moved to Mid Wales after living in Bracknell for 32years.

I still have all my school reports and my school prizes for examination results and handwork. 

 

By Beryl Talbot nee Sholl
On 05/09/2015

I went to Glastonbury Senior School form 1968 to 1973. Happy memories, can't believe it was so long ago. I too wish I'd worked harder but it's not been too bad. Live on Dartmoor. No not in the prison.

By Mike Gilbert
On 23/10/2015

I went to Glastonbury High School from 9th September 1969 - 1974. I still remember my first day lining up outside our new classroom in name order and then seated in name order. Our teacher was Mr Bullock. I think it was his first teaching job. Headmaster was Mr Oram and Deputy Head was Mr Saunders. PE teacher Mr Sanders, English teacher Mrs Wildash, French teacher Miss Kiniston - very attractive and all us boys fancied her. Music teacher Wally Whitmore, My Woodwork teacher Mr Pank. Mrs Baynes (Bessie) - she retired when I was there in a about 1971, Mr Finn(Jim), Mr Dale. Looking back my time there wasn't too bad. So wished I had of worked harder, which I was quite capable of doing, but I didn't. Didn't seem important to me then for some reason. 

By Gary Seeley
On 11/09/2016

I was at Glastonbury Road school about 1937/8-40. The head master was Mr Trim, Mr Pool (woodwork) Mr Pool (geo.) Mr Twilley (art). I would be grateful if someone might remember the Physics and Chemistry masters? My sister also attended about '33/34. Perhaps that is all too early.

Peter Smith in New Zealand. 

By Peter Smith
On 06/11/2016

My father, Mr G.F. Lamb, joined the staff of the school in 1933, which was when it opened, I believe. He taught a range of subjects, and later assumed charge of English teaching throughout the school. He remained at the school until 1940, when he left to join a school in Petersfield. I still have his letter of appointment, and confirmation that his initial salary was the princely sum of £172 16s 0d per annum.

By Chris Lamb
On 03/01/2017

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