Winshill Opening (1957)

Bond Street school had become hopelessly inadequate after its 80 years of usage. It was in fact, already experiencing difficulties before the outbreak of the first world war.

In 1918, 1931 and 1938, plans for a new school had looked close to coming to fruition but had eventually fallen through. A new school might have succeeded earlier had it not been for the outbreak of the second world war shortly afterwards.

Winshill School

Finally, in 1952, plans for a new school were accepted. A deal was worked out to exchange the land currently belonging to the school for a new four acre site in Winshill. Final plans were completed on time for March 31st 1953. By 1955, building was very well on the way and it was expected that occupancy of the new school would begin after the school holidays in September, 1956. The school buildings would belong to the Governors, chaired by Mrs Evershed; all equipment would belong to the Town.

Winshill RoofOn February 29th 1956 however, disaster struck. The exposed site on the top of a hill had not been glazed, particularly the large staircases, and a freak storm with almost hurricane strength winds tore the entire roof off the school and destroyed supporting walls and sections of the building. This proved to be disastrous and was to put back the opening of the school for a full twelve months.

The final cost of the building, not including any furniture or equipment, was a little over budget at £192,744 4s. 4d. It was opened in 1957 by Lord Evershed.

Aside from the main school, a new ATC headquarters complete with rifle range was built, assisted by a grant from the War Department, remembering that this was not that long after the war, together with a scout hut. In 1962, a Sports Pavilion was added together with a playing field extension and running track in substitution for the old pavilion and playing field in Lichfield Street close to the old school.

Winshill Staff

The school was designed to accommodate 540 pupils. It was allocated a staff of 28 including a Headmaster and Deputy. The Headmaster at the time of opening was Herbert Pitchford, better known as Horace, who had been headmaster at Bond Street Grammar School since 1950 but was soon to retire to be replaced by William Gillion. The majority of the staff also transferred from Bond Street; it was slightly extended in the first year.

By 1966, despite the new, large Dovecliff Grammar School now also serving Burton, the school was struggling for space with now over 600 pupils. In 1967, a new three classroom block was built which included a Technical Drawing room, a Mathematics room and an expensively equipped Language Laboratory overseen by Hugh Wood.


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