Growing pains

The numbers of pupils at the school continued to grow as more and more houses were built on Stanmore Estate. As a result the Education Committee needed to find a more strategic solution than the converted tin hut. Having purchased three acres of land on the south side of Stanmore Lane, a contract for architectural services to design a public elementary school at Stanmore was awarded on 12 March 1927 to Cancellor and Sawyer.

The design was completed and the construction contract signed on 30 January 1928, awarded to H J Goodall and Son for a total of £16110 3s 0d. The next day children from the school attended a ceremony to cut the first sod for the new school performed by Alderman Edmeades, the Chairman of the City Education Committee. No sooner had construction started however, negotiations to buy more land and extend the school were underway, but that would take another few years to come to fruition. On the 29 August 1928 the formal notification for “providing additional accommodation for about 80 children” was posted.

The decision to establish a school for the children of the new Stanmore Estate was made in July 1922. Families had started moving into the new estate, and the Education Committee estimated that there were 345 children living on the estate at that time. The school was to be established in a converted hut at the cost of £550.

The school opened on 4 September 1922 in the St. Cross Parish Hall under Miss Annie Williams as Headteacher. Forty eight children attended school on the first day, some of whom were attending school for the first time and others who had been out of school for some time. By the time the school moved to the converted hut in Stanmore just over a month later there were fifty nine pupils on the register. The new school was opened by the Mayor of Winchester on 12 October 1922.

The school continued to grow rapidly during the course of the first year, and by the start of the following academic year there were one hundred and seventy three pupils on the register. This rapid growth of a new school presented some challenges. With more and more children joining the school, with limited previous education on a weekly basis, trying to assess the children and organise them into the correct classes was no easy task. A number of teachers had to be recruited to cope with the growth.

The state of public health in the 1920’s was another challenge faced by the school. Pupil’s non-attendance, or exclusion on health grounds, was frequently a challenge - particularly chicken pox, influenza and whooping cough. In November 1924, the school was closed by the Health Authority for a number of weeks in order to help prevent the spread of measles. When the school re-opened, over 40% of the children were absent due to the disease. It is clear that rain often affected attendance rates at the school too, although it is not clear as to the exact reasons why.

We are lucky enough to have a first person account of the early life of the school from a number of pupils who attended the school. E A Weller (b. circa 1916) gave a written account in 1997, detailing lessons, teachers, games and how the school operated. She also mentions the ‘Beating of the Bounds’ ceremony undertaken as part of the establishment of the school. Irene Underwood gave a verbal account of the same ceremony in her audio account of the beginnings of the school (Ref). In Irene’s account, she mentions the visit of the Prince of Wales to Stanmore. The news article from the Hampshire Chronicle details the visit, the children singing, flags and banners and the Prince visiting the newly built houses.


A contract for architectural services in erection of a public elementary school at Stanmore

12 March 1927

Contract for the construction of a new elementary school at Stanmore awarded to H J Goodall and Son

30 January 1928

Courtesy of Winchester City Council: Hampshire Record Office: W/C1/5/817

Courtesy of Winchester City Council: Hampshire Record Office: W/C1/5/817

Poster giving notice of the city's proposal to provide additional accommodation for about 80 children

29 August 1928

Selected extracts from the Stanmore School Junior Department Log Book

Hampshire Record Office: 132M82-LB1 1922 to 1946

Hampshire Record Office: 132M82-LB1 1922 to 1946

1 February 1928

This afternoon, the elder children left school at 3 p.m. to attend the ceremony in connection with the cutting of the first sod on the site of the new elementary school. The ceremony was performed by Alderman Edmeades, the Chairman of the City Education Committee.

23 March 1928

Average [number of pupils] for the week 266.9

3 September 1928

School re-opened this morning.  The top class has returned from the temporary premises which they occupied before the holidays.  Standards I & II have been transferred to the Stanmore Parish Hall until the new school is completed. […] Twenty two new admissions were made.

8 January 1928

School re-opened this morning in the new buildings.  We are occupying the five classrooms on the Junior side, one classroom on the Senior side and the Art room.  The numbers are large, therefore the classes have to be 50 and over in numbers.

11 January 1928

The work of the school has been somewhat disorganised this week and because of new admissions, children have had to be promoted the whole way up the school. The fact of the builders being still in the school has rendered things more difficult.  A large number of children are suffering from chickenpox.

1 February 1929

The official opening of the school which was to have been performed today by the Duchess of Atholl, has been postponed on account of the illness of Her Grace.

25 February 1929

School has resumed this morning, the heating apparatus having been attended to. The school was formally opened this afternoon by Her Grace the Cuchess of Atholl DBE, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education.  The service was attended by the Chairman and Members of the Education Committee, town councillors, prominent citizens, parents of scholars and scholars from the top class of this department.  H M Inspector W G Winn Esq was among the visitors.

12 April 1929

No. on books 369

14 March 1930

The measles epidemic has spread very rapidly this week. Large numbers of children are affected.  Average for week 186.5 Percentage 50.1

2 June 1931

The older children were taken to the Cathedral this morning to take part in an Empire Day Service, during the time set apart for religious education.

18 September 1931

A letter has been received from the Director stating that the class which is housed in the hall, must leave the hall at 3.30pm each day, in order that the hall may be left free for the Senior department.  As no other room than the Baby-room is available for these children, the class will be very inconvenienced, so neither desk nor chairs in that room are suitable for them.  Average for the week 335.7

13 April 1932

A letter has been received from the Education Office giving instructions for the Juniors to be removed from the hall, into the Art Room in the Junior department is therefore to have the use of eight classrooms and the Art Room.

4 July 1932

The school was closed this afternoon for the funeral of Mr G.H. Barker, the Headmaster of the Senior School, who died suddenly in school on June 30th.

17 July 1936

Fifty children and eight teachers spent an enjoyable day in London – sightseeing from a bus, and a short visit to St. Paul’s, Westminster and the Tower in the morning and a visit to the Zoological Gardens in the afternoon.


Selected extracts from the Stanmore School Senior Department Log Book

7 January 1928

I, George Henry Barker, open this new senior school, as Headmaster

8 January 1929

Alderman Edemeades, CBE, DL, JP (Chairman of the LEA) formally opened the senior school.  Children assembled in the Hall, and were addressed by the Chairman and Director of Education

9 January 1929

In spite of difficulties, the school is now in working order.  All classes are at work.

11 January 1929

On books 149. Av attendance 143 93%

12 February 1929

School closed in afternoon on account of failure of heating apparatus

25 February 1929

School reopened.  Official opening of the school by Her Grace, The Dutchess of Atholl, DBE, MP. Parliamentary  Secretary to the Board of Education.  A very representative company gathered in the Hall at 2.30 p.m.  Alderman A Edemeades, CBE, DL, JP (Chairman of the Education Committee) was in the Chair, and supporting him on the platform were The Dutchess of Atholl, The Mayor and Mayoress of Winchester (Councillor W G Symes, and Mrs Symes) Mrs D Edemeades, Rev. W. Glass, Rev. R Sidney Jones. Mary Smelgrove (Senior Girl Prefect) read the School Prayer, and Denis Bayley (Senior Boy Prefect) acted as pianist.

19 September 1930

Copy of Report by H.M.I. Mr J. G(?) Winn.  School inspected on 15thJuly 1930.  

The circumstances here are exceptional, and will not become normal for two to three years.  The numbers in this department are small, while the Junior School is overflowing. This inequality is largely due to the fact that the school serves a newly inhabited area in which the majority of children are still young. 

The Senior Department has not yet settled down.  It contains children who have come from several other schools at all ages, and stages of development.  As there are only 130 on books it has been difficult to classify them.  Seeing however, that there are a Head Master and five assistants for this small number, it should be possible to give plenty of “individual attention”.

There is a great difference here between the “quick movers” and the “slow movers”.  Some of the former do very good work, especially in English subjects, while the work of the more backward is very weak indeed.

The only subject taken outside the ordinary elementary school curriculum is Practical Science. So far it does not appear to have been taught very successfully. Too much has been attempted, and the children have no solid grounding in the elements.  Instruction, however, has been carried on under a sever handicap, as the so-called “Science Room” is much too small for practical work, and is constantly in use as an ordinary classroom.  The authority intend to build a larger room as part of the necessary extension of the premises.  Of the children who entered the school during the past year:-

13 were between 11 and 11 ½ years of age

8 were between 11 ½ and 12 years of age

11 were between 12 and 12 ½ years of age

Unless the average age of entry is reduced, it will be impossible to give a satisfactory course of “Advanced Instruction”.

23 October 1930

Owing to Dental Inspection of Junior School, no Science taken, since there is no room into which to put class I.B.  It is impossible to successfully run a school under these conditions.

23 December 1931

On books 172, Av Attendance 147, 85% School closed for Xmas vacation.  I have again made application for the use of the Assembly Hall, since there has been no corporate assembly of the Senior School for about 18 months.  The Headmaster is never able to meet the school as a whole, and as a consequence it consists of 5 separate units, with no feeling of corporate life.

30 June 1932

Mr G.H. Barker, Headmaster, passed away at 3.05 pm in the Staff Room.

4 July 1932

The school is closed this afternoon on account of Mr G.H. Barkers funeral.

8 July 1932 

Mr Peart has requested me [N Lovell] to carry on as Acting Headmaster

30 September 1932

On Books 194 Av Attendance 179.2 92.8 Appointment of Mr N Lovell confirmed by City Education Committee.  Appointed Headmaster as from September 1st 1932.

6 January 1933

No on roll 182 Average Attendance 145 Percentage 79.7  The average attendance being so low, is due to the prevalence of whooping cough and influenza

13 January 1933

No on roll 180 Average Attendance 133 Percentage 73.8  The epidemic of influenza continues to be severe.  The attendance is gradually decreasing.

10 February 1933

Av Attendance 157 No on roll 178 Percentage 88.2%  The influenza epidemic has abated considerably as the percentage attendance shows, but there a still numbers of exclusions – contacts with cases of whooping cough, and influenza.

7 July 1934

The Senior and Junior Schools Sports were held this afternoon in the Playing Field.  About six hundred parents and friends were present.  The weather was fine, and the sports were completed according to schedule. Among the visitors were the Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs Symes, Councillor and Mrs Pinsent, C Cllr and Mrs Sankey, C Cllr and Mrs Bones, Concillors Perkins and Douglas, C Cllr Miss Firmstone, Mrs Munt, Mr J A Peart and Mr Woodiviss.

30 November 1934

On roll 162 Av att 143 88.5% The average attendance has fallen considerably owing to many exclusions of contact with scarlet fever.  Many children have severe colds.

19 March 1935

Copy of HM Inspector’s Report. “Inspected on 5thNovember 1934  Report by HMI Mr J A B Newman

1. This is a small Senior mixed school of well under 200 children in inadequate premises.  There is no spare room of any kind and a class has to be taught in the Hall.

Like the other senior schools in the City it is “creamed” to an unusual extent by the Selective Central School and the Secondary Schools.  This circumstance is, however, compensated for by the scale of staffing which, owing to the small size of the school and the presence of facilities for Domestic Science and Manual Training, works out at a generous figure and results in small classes.

A satisfactory level of all-round attainment is reached.  The scholars tend, indeed, to be rather apathetic when questioned orally; but the staff are fully attuned(?) to this, and their own teaching as heard by the inspectors was stimulating enough.

2. Of the various school subjects, English and Arithmetic on the whole, and Science, Woodwork and Needlework are quite creditable; and Physical Training (including swimming) and Games are well taken.  Results in practical Arithmetic might be better.  In English the spelling is rather weak in the lower forms, and ‘B’ divisions but is being systematically dealt with, and considerable efforts are being made to train the children to read aloud well and distinctively.  Good work is also done in Gardening, of which the educational advantages for these boys are fully realised.

There are no special facilities for Practical Science, but the subject is presented in a very real and interesting way, and the enterprise shown by the teacher taking the subject deserves praise.  The young teacher of the lowest class is dealing carefully with some weak entrants.

3. Certain aspects of the work were discussed with the Head Master during the inspection.  His planning of the work is thoughtful though in some directions the heavy syllabuses, e.g. in Biology, leave inadequate time for necessary revision.

It only remains to add that he has been here now for two year and is managing the school well. The staff are co-operating loyally with him. Although these include no graduates they have shown a very praiseworthy willingness to attend educational courses and are collectively above average in teaching power.”

26 January 1936 

A service was held in the Hall by the Director of Education, and an address by the Rev Hall on the occasion of the funeral of His Late Majesty George V. From 9.30 until 12 school was closed, registers not being marked.  At 1pm both schools assembled in the Hall and listened to the radio service from Windsor. Mr Brace and five children of the top class attended a Memorial Service at the Cathedral.

19 November 1937

On roll 195 Av Attendance 174 89%  Many children is second year A class excluded with sore throats or heavy colds.

Report by HMI Mr A B Adams, School Inspected on 27th and 28th September 1937 - Senior Mixed Department

The opening sequence of the Report in 1934 referred to the inadequacy of the premises.  This does not approach to have received the attention of the Authority.  The premises are still more inadequate in as much as the number of children has increased. 

The recognised accommodation consists of four classrooms i.e. 160 places, the number on books at the beginning of the school year was 246, the average attendance of the last school year 181.

There is no Science room, no Craft room, the Practical Instruction rooms are at present used as Centres and the Hall is permanently used for class teaching purposes.

The general condition of the premises and grounds (which are very well kept) reflect credit on upon the Authority, but it must be emphasised that the building, new and attractive as it is, falls far short of what is expected in a modern senior school. 

Organisation and curriculum

It must once more be repeated than in view of the special circumstances of Winchester reorganisation, this is not a normal Senior School.  As an illustration it can be pointed out that of 54 children leaving the Junior Department at the end of the last school year, twenty six went to the “selective” school, leaving only one third of the age group to proceed here. This is therefore a Senior School devoid of an “A’ stream, and part of the usual “B” stream too.

An intelligence test given by the Headmaster to his last entry shoes that 42 per cent had an IQ ranging from 70 to 90 – the 8 per cent of children with high IQs have been removed to the “selective’ school since the beginning of the school year.

The Head Master is much to be congratulated upon what he has achieved under the above conditions.  The spirit of the school is excellent, the children are responsive, have a good command of spoken English and reach a satisfactory level in simple Arithmatic.  They are being encouraged to read in a most sensible manner.

There is an excellent school garden, which includes bee-keeping, and the Master in charge of the Physical Training, is, in the absence of any available hall or gymnasium, doing well.

The Senior Mistress responsible for the general welfare of the girls is performing her task with great sense and ability.

The Head Master is not afraid to try experiments.  Both the cinema and the wireless are gradually being brought into the school scheme.

Such Experimental Science as is possible under the conditions is being taught in an ingenious way, and there have been a satisfactory number of educational excursions both in and out of school hours.

Some good needlework was seen, but the scheme is somewhat ambitious considering the difficult conditions in which the work is done.

The crowded classrooms where the lessons are taken do not allow of the freedom of movement which individual work demands; there are no facilities for cutting out and pressing, and there is only one sewing machine.

Of the 123 girls on the roll on the occasion of the inspection, 36 were not receiving instruction in Housecraft.  In fact the course for all girls is only about half of the normal, as the Housecraft room, which is part of the school building, is used as a Centre, and only available for the girls from this school for four half-days each week. Thus the Head Master is not responsible for the instruction, there is no correlation with the other work in the curriculum, and the teacher plays no part in the general school activities.

It is suggested to the Authority that they should make the Practical Instruction rooms an integral part of this school, available only for the children attending this school.

As indicated above, they could be fully employed.

The Housecraft room is well equipped and in good order.

The teaching so far as it goes is sound, but the short half-day lessons and the restricted course tend to make the work rigid and somewhat artificial, and development towards home management is not possible.

Hampshire Chronicle - Report of The Prince of Wales’ visit to Stanmore

10 November 1923

Screen Shot 2019-01-05 at 18.46.37.png

The tranquility of Winchester’s model city - Stanmore - but almost be said to been rudely broken by the gathering which began to assemble there at 10:30 on Wednesday morning, this having been chosen as the rendezvous of the elementary school children of the city who would number of 2500, had gathered to give the Prince their welcome. Such an occasion as a Royal visit might well be said to be as much as a children's concern as anyone's, for they are the youngest generation, and it is they who will carry on the recollection of it the longest, and then, in turn, pass it onto those who follow. Stewart Crescent and King’s Avenue formed the assembly ground, and in the centre of the right angled bend Mr G H Barker MC who was to conduct the singing, took up his position. The pathways on either side of both thoroughfares were occupied by the children, the huge assembly being flanked at either end by the Cubs and Scouts, while the Guides occupied a position in the centre. Behind them stood many of the teachers, and then again– in some parts so deep as to be on that tenant’s gardens – were the general public, composed largely of parents of the children. Every window had its full complement of site-seers, and every child carried a flag. For the greater part flags and bunting were displayed from every house, some of the designs being very attractive, while on other premises were the mottoes: “Welcome to the Prince”, “God bless our Prince”, etc

It was a glorious autumn morning, the sun shining very brightly, and without a cloud crossing the sky. The red-tinted house-tops stood out in warm relief against the green and autumn-tinted foliage of the trees beyond, and no one could have imagined or seen Stanmore revealing itself in more kinder mood.

At 11:30, the signal was received –almost to the appointed minute– by the conductor that the Prince had arrived, and a short sharp shrill of the whistle instantly stopped the din of conversation and joyful shouting, and it was not long before the band of the Electrical and Wireless School, R.A.F., had given the key for the singing of the National Anthem, in which the whole of the children entered wholeheartedly.

Alderman A. K. Dyer, Chairman of the housing committee of the Town Council, received the Prince on his alighting from his car at the bottom of Stewart Crescent and presented the architect (Mr Curtis Green, A.R.A.), and also Mr H. Holloway representing the firm of contractors.

As the children sang the national anthem, the Prince wended his way through them, and then, when the versus had been completed, the sea of waving flags that were held up blotted out everything beyond. The children cheered in echelon, one end would start, and it was a couple of seconds before the other end of the line could be heard following suit, being, indeed, almost like an echo. In the centre of the right angle were members of the Corporation and City Coroner, Lord and Lady Northbrook, the Lord Lieutenant (General Beeley), and the Capt. Alan Lascelles and Lieut. the Hon. Bruce Ogilvy, who accompanied His Royal Highness. A halt was made by the party while he (the Prince) spoke to Mr Barker, whom he made the remark that he noticed he had an injured leg, and asked him how he came by it, and was it due to any wounds while on active service, also in what Regiment he served. Mr Barker replied that he served with the Hampshires, first in the 4th Batt., T.F., in which she was commissioned, and, subsequently, in the 15th Battalion, having been wounded in the third battle of Ypres, also receiving the M.C. Next, the Royal visitor asked what Mr Barker was doing at the present time? The reply was that he (Mr. Barker) was the headmaster of one of the elementary schools in the city. Upon this the Prince smiled his satisfaction at hearing that Mr Barker was engaged in educational work, and added, a remark to the effect that he had been extremely pleased to see such a large number of the children of Winchester gathered at one spot.

Cheer followed cheer as the Prince passed through the remainder of the assembly of children in Kings Avenue, and the Scouts, who, as already stated, were on the bank raised their hats up on their poles and H.R.H. saluted them as he passed through their lines.

Proceeding direct across the recreation ground, the Prince arrived within a roped enclosure to the shopping-centre in Cromwell Road, the road in which from Kings Avenue rendering it difficult for the police to keep a clear passage while H.R.H. and the others, including the Mayor, had passed through to the green, whereon two trees were to be planted. The holes had already been dug, and the tree seedling copper beaches were lying beside them. Mr Edwin Hillier raised one for the Prince to plant, and, having been handed a carved oak spade (made at the end of the Enham Village Centre, and bearing the date on a silverplate, November 7th, 1923) by the City Engineer (Mr W V Anderson), the Prince shovelled some soil around the roots.

Meanwhile, the Mayor was performing a similar operation in respect of a second tree, which with the two already planted on the green in 1922, during the Mayoralty of Cllr Stanley Clifton, Will make for trees on the green on the eastern side of the road. The treeplanting ceremony was but the work of a minute or so, and the Prince, accompanied by Alderman Dyer (Chairman of the Housing Committee), on moving off to the road again expressed a wish to see one of the houses.

His Royal Highness, making one his own selection, picked out No. 72 Cromwell Road, the residence of Mr and Mrs A Gearing, a house of the parlour type, towards which he made his way is through the well-kept garden, the front door being flanked by aspidistras. Mrs Gearing was at the time the returning from the green, where she had been to take a snapshot of the tree-planting ceremony, but, seeing the Prince making for her house, ran back, and was there to welcome him. Asked if he would like to see the house, the prince said, in his jovial way, “Certainly, if you would kindly show me.” He went first through the kitchen and parlour, and noticing Mr E F Marsh, an ex-Rifleman of the K.R.R., and who also served during the war with the 1/4th Hants in India, the Prince enquired of him where he had earned his medals, taking an evident interest in such facts as Mr Marsh could relate. Turning to Mrs Gearing again, the Prince said he thought they were generally fine houses. Next he asked Mr and Mrs Gearing what family they had, and having been told two girls, Mrs Gearing looked out the front door to find them, but they had disappeared among the crowd, which had surrounded the front part of the house out of curiosity. Mrs Gearing, equal to the occasion, asked the Prince if he would like to see the upstairs rooms, to which he replied, “Yes, I want to see it all.” Accordingly he went up, accompanied by Alderman Dyer, and saw the rooms, and as he left by the front door Mrs Gearing asked him if she might take a snap of him, to which he replied “Certainly,” and posed for a few seconds for that purpose. Alderman Dyer escorted the Prince to the waiting car, and, before leaving, the prince thanked Aldermen Dyer (on behalf of the Housing Committee) and tenants of the estate, for the great privilege they had conferred on him by allowing him to visit the site, and then repeated what he said earlier in the day, viz. giving his speech at the Guildhall ceremony, that he fully appreciated that Winchester was making its contribution towards one of the greatest problems of the day, viz. the proper housing of the people. He added that he had appreciated all that he had seen, and would like Alderman Dyer to congratulate his Committee upon what they had done for the citizens. With this, surrounded by a surging mass of residents of Stanmore and others, the car conveying the Price moved off, leaving the estate by way of Battery Hill.

Director’s Report on the Examination of work, Standard II, Stanmore Council School

March 1923

Hampshire Record Office: 132M82-LB1 1922 to 1946

Hampshire Record Office: 132M82-LB1 1922 to 1946


The writing of both boys and girls is very weak. There appears to be no general style and very few good papers. There is much to be done in this subject.


The children were required to write a few simple sentences, in which the spelling was generally weak.


The sentences written were of poor quality. Very few have have any idea of writing a sentence in reply to a question. The girls are slightly better than the boys in this work.


Tables are not well know, but are fairly accurate as far as taken. Mental was fair, but ability to work more than simple problems is only confined to a few. The written work was weak - Standard I final term test, with one addition of money was given, the average was three correct out of seven. Setting out was not good. Figures and general neatness require much care. The methods now taken are on correct lines.


Articulation and pronunciation are weak. There delivery is indistinct, this is due mainly to the faulty position adopted while reading. Fluency is fairly good. The girls are satisfactory, but the boys are decidedly weak. The whole reach a good Standard I average.


The general average of this class is about that of an ordinary Standard I.

Photographs of groups of pupils at Stanmore School 1926

Pupils at Stanmore School, Winchester circa 1926  Hampshire Record Office: 134A13W/B1

Pupils at Stanmore School, Winchester circa 1926

Hampshire Record Office: 134A13W/B1

Pupils at Stanmore School, Winchester circa 1926  Hampshire Record Office: 134A13W/B1

Pupils at Stanmore School, Winchester circa 1926

Hampshire Record Office: 134A13W/B1