1858 – The Scheme

In 1858, the Scheme for the Management and Regulation of the Free Grammar School at Burton-on-Trent was produced and approved by The High Court of Chancery.

I would urge that you take the time to read it – it makes for a fascinating read:



1951 – School Report

This first form school report for 1951 gives some idea of the curriculum.

Form Teacher: A satisfactory report but he will find that an intensified effort is needed next year if he is to keep up with the older boys in the form. He must try to take more part in activities outside the classroom. (Percy Barratt).

Headmaster: He must try harder to master the work he is taught in the classroom. I hope he is going to avail himself of some of the opportunities the school offers outside the classroom.
H.H. Pitchford (Headmaster).

Subjects taken can be seen to include:

  • Religious Knowledge
  • English
  • History
  • Geography
  • French
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Art
  • Handicraft
  • Physical Training

With Latin, Spanish, Chemistry, Biology to come later.



1969 – School Report

This first form school report for 1969 gives some idea of the curriculum.


Subjects taken can be seen to include:

  • English
  • History
  • Geography
  • French
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Art
  • Metalwork
  • Physical Education

The class was split so that half did Metalwork, the other half did Woodwork. After the first half of the year, the groups swapped over. Latin was only taken by the ‘A’ Stream.

Note that the pocket calculator had not yet made its debut and log tables were still very much in evidence so subjects such as the modern ICT (Information and Computer Technology) were still pure Science Fiction!



1855 – Humble Petition

Even by the Eighteen-fifties, Grammar School education was very ‘classic’ with such subjects as Latin, Greek and Hebrew. The curriculum had simply not moved with the developments of the times. Many of the leading Industrialists and Employers in Burton such as Henry Allsopp and Abraham Bass, who would ultimately make generous contribution to the relocation of the school, expressed some concern that leaving scholars did not have the required skills.

In 1855, a new Headmaster was to be appointed and a partition was raised (Humble Petition) to be presented to the Trustees of the school.

The Headmaster ultimately appointed in 1855 was Rev. Henry Day where he remained for eighteen years until he retired in 1873, four years before the school moved to Bond Street.

Clearly, there are no copies of the petition but below is an image of the original hand-written one.

The full text of the petition was as follows:

The Humble Petition of the inhabitants of the parish of Burton upon Trent to the Trustees of the Burton upon Trent Free Grammar School


That your petitioners with great deference beg leave to address you on the subject of the appointment of Headmaster to the Free Grammar School; for although they feel satisfied every means within your power will be used to ensure the judicious selection of a gentleman well qualified to effect the high and important objects which you have in view; they respectfully request that you will give your candid considerations to their suggestions upon what appear to them to be important points on the education of boys at this school.

1) It will be obvious to you that the numerous and important changes in society have taken place since the establishment of this ancient school, which demand a corresponding alteration in the plan of education at the present time; an alternation which would in their opinion be in full accordance with the benevolent intention of the founder.

2) You are well aware that at the period when this school was established, not only were the scriptures and religious services written in Latin, but that it was also the medium of all legal proceedings and constituted the chief literature of the time: it was therefore essential that Latin should form a more prominent part of education than is requisite for the present day.

3) Your petitioners therefore, pray that the Headmaster may be directed to devote a fair proportion of his time to the general branches of education, as well as to the classics, in order that the boys may be educated in such manner as to fit them for trades and professions.

4) Your petitioners further pray that you will not permit this appointment to be connected with that of Minster of any Church or Chapel, and that the whole Master’s time shall be devoted to the benefits of the school.

5) Your petitioners beg that if, in your opinion, an efficient Master can be obtained at the present stipend, in such case, he shall be exclusively employed in the instruction of free scholars.  But on the contrary, if you shall think it necessary to allow the Master to take pupils, that you will limit the number and adopt such means as are best calculated to prevent any preference being given to such private pupils as may operate to the detriment of the free scholars, and consequently to nullify the intentions of the founder.

Your petitioners therefore pray you to listen to their suggestions and that as far as in your opinion they are practicable, you will carry them into effect.



School Regulations – 1930/40s

The School Regulations for the late 1930s and early 1940s provide a good feel for the school in those times.

The standard fee which applied to almost all pupils was Five Guineas (£5.25) per term – not including text books on top of which had to be paid 9d (3.75p) for the Cygnet magazine subscription and 1 Shilling (5p) for the Hospital – a not insignificant fee at the time!






Just to put all of this in context – at the time:

angliaAn average three bedroom semi-detached house would be around £550

A new Ford Anglia de Luxe family car would set you back £140 and to keep it going, petrol was 1 shilling and sixpence a gallon (1.65p per litre).

Boy’s Flannel suit 25/-, shirt 7/6, jumper 7/6, shoes 16/- (total £2.80).

Mars bar from the tuck shop 6d (2.5p)



1936 – OBA Balance Sheet

The balance sheet for 1936 is a wonderful find.

I am not sure who made the generous donation of Three Shillings and Sixpence (17.5p) but I don’t doubt that it was warmly received!



1950 Registration Letter

The following form was sent to the parents of all pupils that had passed for the Grammar School.

It makes for interesting reading now and looks very primitive having been produced on a typewriter well before word-processors were available.



1950 Placement Letter

The following letter was sent to inform parents or guardians that their child had been awarded a place at the (Bond Street) Burton Grammar School.

The letters were sent from the then County Borough Education Department and signed by the Education Secretary and Director, Arthur Blake who was for a time, at the same school as Bill Gillion who he would later appoint as Headmaster at the ‘new’ Winshill School.



Old School Song Sheet

At the Inaugural Old Boys Association Dinner in 1921, Mr Frank Evershed expressed a hope that some day, the school might possess its own School Song which could be sung on such occasions.

Mr W.T. Jeffcott who had recently retired from the school as Senior Classical Master, set to work on some words. Mr F.A. Lowe composed the necessary music with help from W.P. Lowe and the School Song was born and proudly sung on many occasions.

The below song sheet was unearthed but no-one seems to remember what the tune was!


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