THE HISTORY OF SEYMOUR PARK COMMUNITY PRIMARY SCHOOL - 110 years old on 4 March 2017
Stretford Education Committee’s Seymour Park Council School
Seymour Park School was opened by Councillor Estcourt and built at a cost of £12,450. Architect Mr Ernest Woodhouse.
SMITH, Ernest Woodhouse Sir
4th March 1907:
Mixed Department opened today with the following staff:
William Whiteside – Certificated
James N Robinson – Certificated
Arthur Moss – Certificated
Ada Travis – Certificated
Dora Butterworth – Certificated
Margaret Taylor – Certificated
Scholars in attendance 416
Infant Department Staff:
Mrs Edith Varley – Head Mistress
Mrs Henrietta Roberts – Certificated Assistant
Mrs Hilda Heppenstall – Certificated Assistant
Miss Margaret Smith – Uncertificated Assistant
“The school opened this morning at ten minutes to nine. All the children assembled in the Hall. After a prayer the scholars were classified and the registers were marked.
Number present in the morning 123
Number present in the afternoon 131
31 May 1907: “During this week I have heard of more cases of infectious disease. I now have 37 children absent with measles and whooping cough.”
1908 Mr. and Mrs. Mundy appointed school caretakers
August 24 1914: Infant department Log Book: “The school reopened this morning… and should have reopened on August 17th, but during that period War was proclaimed and this building was turned into a temporary Barracks for Territorials. They vacated the school and Park on the morning of Thursday 20th August. A large staff of workers was engaged and the whole place has been fumigated and cleaned, ready for occupation this morning.”
Mixed Department Log Book: “School re-opened after Midsummer vacation. Reopening should have been on the 17th inst, but owing to the war, the premises were occupied by the Territories under mobilisation by the War department.”
Aug 31 1914: “Mr Jos. Yates has volunteered his services and been accepted as a member of the Cheshire Yeomanry for active service abroad. He therefore gives up for the period of the war his duties as a member of the staff.
The caretaker, Mr Mundy, who is a Col. Serg. in the 7th Manr Terr. is also away for the period of the war.”
Sep 21 1914: “The school nurse attended in the afternoon and weighed, measured and tested the eyes of 56 boys, 12 and 13 yrs.”
Oct 5 1914: “Examined St IVb in Reading, Arithmetic, Composition and Spelling, the result of which will enable the teacher to so arrange his work that the greatest benefits will accue.”
“Spoke to the children about the need of attending to the wants of returned wounded soldiers and arranged to collect stationery and stamps and magazines for use in the military hospitals, clothing, books etc for the Belgian refugees at Longford Hall, and money weekly for their maintenance.
“Sent 6 boys (a.m.) to Whitworth St Military Hospital with magazines.”
“Forwarded donation of £1 from the boys to Belgian Hospitality Fund.”
Dec 14th 1914: “Enquired (with the assistance of a detective) into the circumstances of a theft of money from the mistresses’ room during the morning. Window cleaners suspected but nothing can be definitely proved.”
Jan 19 1915: “Mr Robinson informed me that, in freeing up the Householders’ Return (issued by the War Office Recruiting Com) he had expressed his willingness to join the army, and that he had this morning received notice from the War Office that his services are required as soon as he can make arrangements to go.”
Mar 17 1915: “Mr Robinson having enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers for the period of the war, will be on leave by the Education Committee from today.”
“Received notice of the death of Joseph Allen (St V). this is the 3rd death this year, the others being H Warren (St II) and Fred Geary (St III). J Allen died of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis.”
May 17 1915: Headmaster left school at 2:50 to meet Secretary and Chairman of Educ. Committee to arrange provisionally for accommodating the children in case of the school being taken over as a Military Hospital.”
May 20 1915: “Received notice that the school is to be taken for a Military Hospital. Arrangements have been made for Rhind and Sons, Furniture removers to remove everything to the Technical Inst tomorrow commencing at 12 o’c noon.”
May 21 1915: “Time Table in most classes suspended, in order to allow the teachers to pack up material for removal. At the morning assembly the children were informed of the taking over of the school as a Hospital and of the method of procedure with regard to the opening etc at the Tech Inst on May 31st. The girls of Standard II will join the Girl’s Dept after Whit week.
May 31 1915: “School re-opened in the Technical Institute at 9 o’c, the boys occupying the ground floor, and the girls on the First floor. The girls’ entrance is in Northumberland Rd and the Boys is in Bleackley St… Having no playground, and limited lavatory accommodation, the usual recreation time will be suspended and each class will take 5 minutes interval in the Basement, commencing at 10:30 in the morning, and 3 o’c in the afternoon.
June 15 1915: “This week we have discovered a pair of swallows building a nest in the playground shed.”
June 23 1915: “Learned from the papers that Co. Serg Major Mundy (Caretaker) had died of wounds received in action in the Dardanelles.”
Sep 20 1915: “This week we are giving a new Time Table a trial. The chief fresh feature is that we are trying a very little specialization – one teacher being responsible for Singing in several classes, another giving special drawing lessons, and so on.”
Oct 11 1915: “Pte Yates, Ches. Yeomanry and Quartermaster Sergt Robinson… School of Musketry, members of the staff on war Service, visited the school.”
School of Musketry, Hythe, Kent
"One day gone & still alive. My word - work - I didn't know what it was
till I came here & the worst of it is that it gets worse & worse…"
Postmarked 4 January l9l5,
Oct 21 1915: “Today being the Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, and the death of Nelson, a special lesson was given to all the boys on Trafalgar Day and reference was made to the part our Fleet is playing in the defence of the Empire in the present Great War.”
Oct 27 1915: “Notice was received that for the months of November and December, the Education Committee have decided that the afternoon session shall be from 1:30 to 3:30. The change is made on account of the danger of the darkened streets, and of the saving which will be effected in light and fuel.”
Nov 19 1915: “A meeting of Head Teachers of Stretford schools agreed last evening to a proposal of the Chairman (Mr Bates) on behalf of the Education Com. To delete all colour work (pastel and brush) from the curriculum for a period of 6 months for economic reasons.”
Jan 18 1916: “Spoke to all the school on the dangers of the roads, impressing those children who have to cross Stretford Rd with the necessity of crossing at Northumberland Rd corner where the policeman is stationed.”
Mar 17 1916: “Harold Smith St III absent this afternoon owing to a painful eye, result of a blow from a penholder due to an accident caused by roughness in passing pens for a writing lesson yesterday afternoon.”
May 3 1916: “Today has been set apart as the school celebration day of the Shakespeare Tercentenary. In the afternoon the Time Table was suspended from 3 o’c to allow of a school ceremony… the boys were marched to Seymour Park for a long playtime.”
Nov 21 1916: “Spoke to whole school on general behaviour in the streets, more particularly with regard to respecting other people’s property. Several complaints have recently been made about children (generally) defacing walls with chalk, etc.”
Nov 27th 1916: “Mrs Dixon absent; note received saying she will be away all day owing to face-ache.”
Jan 27 1917: “Mr Parkinson, HMI, spent the day in school. In the morning, he made notes respecting the Staff, classes, organisation, curriculum etc… He expressed pleasure at finding the altered conditions had not had a deleterious effect on the work. He spoke in complimentary terms of the members of the staff, re their evident capability and industry.”
Mar 1917: “Received circular from Council Office intimating the intended circularising every eligible person in the U.D. area re National Service, and asking for volunteers among the teachers to undertake the clerical work necessary at the council Offices in the evenings … All teachers volunteered for above work…”
May 16 1917: “His Majesty the King, in passing through Stretford to visit Munition works in Trafford Park and Salford, stopped at the entrance to the Technical Institute, where the Chairman (Cr. Brown) and the Clerk (Mr G. H. Abrahams) were presented. The children were grouped on the footpath in front of the Institute, and the children from the other Stretford schools on the footpaths in the neighbourhood of the Institute. The Chairman announced a day’s holiday for tomorrow (Ascension Day) in commemoration of the visit.”
Dec 4 1917: “We hear today that the (Infant) Department has won the Attendance Challenge Shield for the month of November. This is the first time in our history that we have won this shield.”
Dec 6 1917: “This afternoon we took cakes to the soldiers in the adjoining hospital.”
Oct 16 1918: Infant Log Book: “Mr Whiteside and I had a consultation this morning on the Teaching of handwriting. We have decided to make the experiment in this Department of Teaching Manuscript instead of the ordinary round-hand writing.”
Nov 11 1918: Infant Log Book: “This morning News of the Cessation of Hostilities and the Signing of the Armistice by Germany.
There was great excitement in school. We all assembled in the hall, and after many cheers, and the singing of the National Anthem we all joined in a prayer of thanksgiving – and then dismissed.
At 12:15 noon intimation came that we were to close school in the afternoon. We therefore dismissed at 1:35pm for a half-holiday.”
Nov 14 1918: “School closed at 3:45 until Monday morning 18th inst. The Friday holiday is granted in celebration of the signing of Armistice terms.”
Nov 19 1918: “School closed today for remainder of week owing to influenza epidemic.”
Jan 6 1919: “Mr Moss, who has been on War Service mostly in Egypt and Palestine since June 1915, has been discharged from the Army, and today has resumed duty as an active member of the Staff in charge of Standard IV.”
July 18 1919: Mixed school: “School closed all day for Peace Celebrations. The children will have tea in school at 4 o’c, and afterwards march to Seymour Park where a programme of Sports and organised games will be carried out…”
Infant department: “We had a very nice tea at 4pm followed by games, a Punch and Judy Show – stories – a conjuring show, with an interval for fresh fruit… Everyone was very happy.”
Sep 1 1919: “School resumed in Seymour Park. During the holidays everything has been removed from the Technical Inst. and the school has been decorated. Much of the material has been mislaid, and the painters are finishing off a number of small jobs…”
Nov 11 1919: “Armistice Day – Time Table suspended from 10:30 to allow of celebration. Boys assembled in Hall at 10:40 and were addressed by Headmaster on the Armistice, events leading up to it, etc etc and the King’s Message. At 11 o’c, on hearing the arranged signal (Westinghouse buzzer), the boys stood at attention for two minutes in perfect silence. The names of the old scholars who gave their lives were read and the National Anthem was sung.”
Dec 11 1919: “Headmaster out of school all day at the Education Office arranging with the Education Secretary the details of the new Salary Scale…”
Dec 18 1919: “All the parents came today and were delighted with what they saw and heard. After a song sung to Santa Claus – he really appeared bringing a packet of sweets for each child.”
Dec 19 1919: “Mrs Mundy, the caretaker, leaves today.”
Apr 1920: “Heating apparatus out of order (bars droped); no fire; school cold”
“Bars temporarily fixed, on bricks; fire can now be lighted for heating school.”
May 17 1920: “The boys of St VI and VII spent the hour… digging, weeding etc the borders round the playground preparatory to use as class gardens... The borders were divided into portions for class gardens.”
Apr 28 1921: “… the baths would be closed until further notice owing to the coal strike…”
May 10 1921: “The children in Class III are still very backward in the 3R’s.”
May 25 1921: “.. allowed to leave school… to see the Crown Prince of Japan who is expected to pass through Old Trafford on his way to Trafford Park…”
June 2 1921: “School to be close d all day tomorrow, June 3rd – special holiday at the request of the Chairman, as May 1st (the anniversary of the formation of the Stretford Education Committee) fell on a Sunday.”
July 7 1921: “School closed at noon for remainder of week. This afternoon the children will assemble at 3:15 and will be marched to Chester Rd, near White City, to see the Prince of Wales as he returns to Stretford from the County Cricket Ground.”
Nov 2 1921: “Headmaster at Education Office p.m. working out all teachers’ position on Salary Scale (III) of the Burnham report…”
Fri 28 1922: “School closed all day – Shrove Tuesday and Wedding day of Princess Mary.”
July 21 1922: “Mr Moss and Miss Hindle are to be married tomorrow, and they received the congratulations of the whole school. Presentations were made to them…”
Mar 27 1923: “Received the Stretford Football Shield. The Football team won the Championship with the following record:- Matches played 11, Won 10, Lost 1, Points 20, Goals for 61, against 3”
Apr 26 1923: “School closed all day at the request of the King, in commemoration of the wedding of the Duke of York to Lady Eliz’th Bowes-Lyon”
May 28 1923: “Received 206 plants – Fuschias 62 and Geraniums 144 – to be sold to the boys at 3½d per plant.”
June 1 1923
“In the afternoon a gramophone with the record of the King’s message, Queen’s message, and National Anthem and ‘Home Sweet Home’ sent to each class in turn.”
Oct 18 1923
“Received notice that Basil Johnson’s essay on ‘What I would do if I won the motor car’ had been judged to be the best sent in by a boy (Stretford) in the recent competition, and that he has been awarded the Chairman’s prize of 10s/6d value.”
Feb 15 1924
“Received and distributed programmes of Health Week.”
Jan 22 1926
“Headmaster forwarded to the Education Committee through Mr Hindle formal notice of his resignation of the position of Headmaster of Seymour Park Boys’ School – service to terminate on March 31st – Headmaster is retiring on Superannuation.”
Mar 25 1926
“Mr H.B. Ogden, who has been appointed Head Master as from April 1st, visited the school in the afternoon.”
Mar 31 1926
“Headmaster (W. Whiteside) completed his term of service in the school, retiring on Superannuation. At an assembly in the afternoon, the boys made a presentation to Mr Whiteside…”
Apr 16 1926 – new Headteacher Mr H.B. Ogden commenced duty.
Feb 27 1928: “Received news his morning of the death of Mr W Whiteside, the late Head Master of the school.”
Mar 1 1928: “The funeral of Mr Whiteside took place at 10 o’clock today. To enable members of the Staff to attend the funeral morning school ended at 11:45 and afternoon school commenced at 2:15.”
Mar 28 1928: “The whole of the boys present this morning left school at 9:25 to view the procession in connection with the visit of the King of Afghanistan to Trafford Park.”
Oct 23 1928: “The Head Master was absent this afternoon in attendance at the opening of the new Stretford Grammar School.”
May 14 1929: “The school sports were held this afternoon. The results were as follows:
Trafford House 43 points, Cornbrook 23 points Hullard 14½ points, Clifford 9½ points , Talbot 6 points.”
Sep 2 1929: “The Head Master paid a visit to the new ‘Old Trafford Senior Boys School’ this afternoon.
Dec 19 1929: “This is the last session of the school under its present organisation. Henceforward the Senior Boys will attend the new Senior School on Stretford Road. Classes 1, 2, 3 will leave on bloc. Out of Class 4 all will be taken with the exception of 2. Six boys will be taken from Class 5.”
Jan 7 1930: “Owing to the reorganisation of the school – into Seniors, Juniors and Infants – we – the infants – have had to leave our separate premises and return to the building which we left in August 1910. We now share a Central Hall with only a partition between this Department and the Juniors.”
Jan 24 1930: “This morning we served the children with Horlicks Malted Milk for the first time in this new building.
Apr 4 1930 – new Head Teacher L.W. Baker
Mar 23 1932 – Retirement of Infant Head Mistress Edith Varley – Head Teacher since the school opened in 1907. “At 3pm today a Farewell Ceremony was arranged for me – the Headteacher…”
Apr 4 1932: “Hilda M Booth began her duties as Headmistress of this (Infant) school.”
Sept 1936: Seymour Park School showing its dedication to road safety by having a gramophone talk by Mr.Hore-Belisha the inventor of the “Belisha–Beacon” a flashing amber light on zebra crossings before we had pelican crossings with push buttons.
May 3 1937: “L. Isabel Button began duties as Headmistress of this (Infant) school.”
Sep 16 1938: In accordance with Administrative Memorandum No 181, from June 1st 1938 children absent on account of parental holidays will be given attendance marks up to a maximum of one week.”
Apr 18 1939: “At 7pm this evening a parents’ meeting was held in the Hall when the Headmistress outlined the government and council’s scheme for the evacuation of school children. Forms were distributed at the close of the meeting on which parents were requested to record their decision about their own child. The Director, Mr handle, attended the meeting and all the staff was present.”
July 20 1939: We have been very busy this week preparing for the evacuation of the children. Records, discs for identification and labels have been made.”
Sep 1 1939: “Evacuation of Seymour Park Infants School to Hale, Cheshire.”
“Under Government orders this school is today evacuating to Cheshire. The children will attend Stamford Park school, Hale. We leave by Warwick Rd, Station at 2:5pm.”
Sep 11 1939: “School commenced on the shift system at Stamford Park Infants School, Hale.”
Sep 18 1939: “Milk in schools is now being supplied to our children. The foster parents pay for the milk.
Dec 4 1939: “Seymour Park Infants has been transferred to the Congregational School, Cecil Rd, Hale… the Women’s Voluntary Service … has organised and started a canteen today for mid-day meals. The weekly cost… is two shillings.”
The Women's Voluntary Service
The WVS is one of the best examples of the successful mobilisation of the energies and abilities of women in the service of the Nation.
The Start - 1938
As war threatened, Home Defence was at the forefront of people's minds. It was becoming obvious many attacks would come from the air and, in 1938, the Air Raid Precautions Department appealed for one million volunteers. The response gave the Home Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, the idea of setting up a women's organisation to help with the task. On 16th May 1938 the Women's Voluntary Service for Air Raid Precautions was founded. The Dowager Marchioness Lady Reading was appointed Chairman and the Queen and Queen Mary, The Queen Mother became joint patrons. The aim was that every woman should be given the opportunity to contribute to the defence of the country against enemy air attack.
The War Years
When war was declared on 3rd September, 1939, the WVS had 165 000 members drawn from groups unable to 'join up' or do essential war work. These were the elderly, the young, the housebound, or those with dependants. Men were not excluded and occasionally helped with jobs such as driving which not many women could do then.
Dec 22 1939: “The W.V.S. in conjunction with the school has organised activities every day from 27 Dec to 2 Jan for children remaining in billets during the holidays.”
Mar 21 1940: “Seymour Park Infants School will be open on April 1st for the attendance of children who have been returned to the evacuation area.”
Apr 1 1940: “School reopened… School is shared by the A. R. P.- The cloakrooms have shower baths fitted in them and staff rooms have furnaces – This departmentis a de-contamination centre – the children work in electric light as the building is blacked out and sand-bagged.”
Apr 24 1940: “The architect called to inspect the cellars of this building in order to judge if they are suitable for A. R. P. shelters but he decided they are unsuitable.”
May 7 1940: “The children have had their first rehearsal of Air Raid Practice using the shelters. The shelters are not yet complete.”
May 29th 1940: “The children’s gas masks were examined by the representative of the A. R. P.”
May 30 1940: “It is with deep regret that we have heard today of the death of our Director of Education, Mr John Hindle…”
June 18 1940: “Notice was received this morning from the Altrincham Ed’n Committee authorising the use of the Air Raid Shelter at St Baldred’s Hall, Ashley Rd, until the school air raid shelters are built. Three practices in the use of this shelter have taken place this week.”
Summer Holiday 22 July – 19 August 1940: “The school will not be closed throughout the above period… Each teacher will take a fortnight’s holiday during this period.”
Sep 4 1940: “Sirens sounded at 10:30am. The Raiders Passed was given at 11am. Sirens at 2:40pm – Raiders Passed at 2:55. Sirens at 3:5pm – Raiders Passed at 3:40.
Sep 13 1940: “Revised Instructions on the Opening of Schools following an Air Raid Warning:
Sep 17 1940: “Morning session opened at 9:45am. The warning sounded at 10:45am and the children were in their shelters until 11:15am when the Raiders Passed was given.”
Nov 12 1940: “No milk supplied to the children either morning or afternoon. The milkman has been unable to obtain any from the Milk Marketing Board at Preston.”
Aug 22 1941: “A deputation from the W.V.S. visited the school this afternoon to make arrangements for the building to be used as a Rest Centre in the event of a severe Air Raid.”
Sep 3 1942: “… listened… to the Broadcast Service in the Hall… The other Infant classes had a talk on helping Mother while Daddy is away on active service… Gas masks have been tested in school today.
Jan 19 1944: “Nurse Dyson inspected children’s heads in the three lower classes this morning.”
Feb 10 1944: “The Head Teacher left school at 1:40pm to attend a lecture by the Director of Education on the new Education Bill…”
Rab Butler was the Minister of Education in the coalition government formed by Winston Churchill in 1940. Butler's 1944 Education Act was an attempt to create the structure for the post-war British education system. The act raised the school-leaving age to 15 and provided universal free schooling in three different types of schools; grammar, secondary modern and technical. Butler hoped that these schools would cater for the different academic levels and other aptitudes of children. Entry to these schools was based on the 11+ examination.
Aug 21 1944: “Twenty six children were admitted, of these eight were Government evacuees from the London area.”
Feb 7 1952: “A special morning assembly was held so that reference could be made to the deep sorrow felt by everyone on the death yesterday of his Majesty King George VI.”
Feb 15 1952: “A short memorial service was held in the Hall on the occasion of the funeral of His late Majesty King George VI. The two minutes silence observed naturally at 2pm was kept by the children and staff in their own rooms and prayers were said by the children.”
May 14 1953: “The school closed … for the Whitsuntide holiday which includes extra days holiday for the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on June 2nd.”
June 5 1953: “Coronation ceremony… each girl (received) a blue Coronation beaker and each boy with a white and gold glass mug as souvenirs. Songs and poems were rendered by the children. The classes returned to their rooms for a Coronation Party which included ices, strawberries and orange squash. The Borough of Stretford has allocated a 1/- for each child for the party.”
Feb 25 1954: “I, L.J. Button, concluded my duties as Head Mistress of this school… Until a new appointment is made the school will be run by Miss Audrey Carter, the first assistant. She will be the Acting Headteacher.”
Mar 31 1954: “I, Audrey Carter, received official notification today that, as from 1 March last< I assume duties as Head Teacher of this school…”
Mar 8 1957: “We held a short service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the school. All parents were invited.”
Jan 8 1973: “Mrs Bishton began her duties as a Scale 1 teacher and will take remedial groups and Music in the lower half of the school.”
July 20/21 1977: “The Jubilee Concert was held before a large audience of parents and friends when every class took part in an item. The concert was much enjoyed…”
Jan 30 1981: “Mrs Dunnico the crossing warden on Ayres Rd completed her service today and the children and staff presented her with a gift and special cards bearing each child’s name.”
Mar 10 1981: “Mr Clancy, the school photographer, took a school photograph and also a nursery photograph.”
Apr 10 1981: “I, Audrey Carter, concluded my duties as Head Teacher of this school today. School closed at 3:15pm. After the Easter Holiday, the two schools, Infant and junior, will be amalgamated into one school, Seymour Park Primary School under the guidance of Mr J. L. Smith as Headmaster.
Mrs P.N. Jacob will be Head of the Infant Dept but retain her salary as Deputy Head. ”
1988 – new Head Teacher Miss Jennifer Dunn commenced duty.
1990’s – school refurbished and was reopened by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester on 13th April 1994.
Apr 11 2005 – new Headteacher Mr Anthony S Rae commenced duty.