Some Schools in Swindon, Wiltshire, England

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Introduction

Despite having grown from an insignificant market town to major industrial centre in a remarkably short time, and then having the heart of the new town obliterated by 1960s redevelopment, Swindon has a surprisingly large number of interesting buildings. This page illustrates a few of the schools.

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The College

The College This building (photo 244,821 bytes) was erected in 1896 towards the lower end (New Town end) of Victoria Road as Swindon and North Wiltshire Technical Institute. Until 1952 it housed both a technical college and a secondary school. In 1943 the secondary school was merged with Euclid Street school to form the new Headlands Secondary School, which continued to operate from both sites until 1952. I attended school there from autumn 1949 until summer 1951.

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Clarence Street School

Clarence St. School This junior (originally called Higher Elementary) school (photo 202,224 bytes) was built in 1897 at the west end of Euclid Street and at its junction with Clarence Street. An infants school was added to the rear (not visible in this photo) in 1903. Children generally remained at the school up to the then standard school-leaving age of 14 (as my father did at this school). It was divided into separate boys' and girls' departments in 1904, a situation which continued until it became a junior mixed school (children up to age 11) in 1946. The two doorways visible in the photo have the word "Boys" over one and "Girls" over the other. I attended the infants' school for one year from 1940 to 1941, and the junior school from 1942 to 1947.

The number of children attending this school has varied enormously during its life. It was built to take 895, opened with 400, averaged 891 in 1909, reached over 1,000 in 1958, then fell to 430. The school has now closed and the building is being used as council offices.

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Euclid Street School

Euclid Street School Euclid Street School (photo 178,801 bytes) was also built in 1897, and faces the Civic Offices. It fills the gap between two side streets, each of which provides rear access to the site.

When it opened it was a day training centre for pupil teachers employed in the town, but in 1904 it became a Higher Elementary school, taking children aged at from 10 to 12 at entry and keeping them for 1-3 years. In 1907 this changed again in 1907 when the age at entry was standardised at 12 and the course was for three years. In 1919 its character changed again when it became a secondary school teaching the same subjects and to the same level as The College. These two amalgamated in 1943 as Headlands Secondary (later Grammar) School, which I attended at this site from 1947 to 1949 and again from 1951 to 1952, when the school moved to a new building at Cricklade Road/Headlands Grove.

In 1952 this building was used to relieve overcrowding in other schools, and in 1964 it reverted to its original use for training teachers, this time mature students wanting to transfer to teaching from other careers.

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Lethbridge Road School

Lethbridge Road School This school (photo 215,698 bytes) in Old Swindon was erected in 1891, and initially took children from ages 7 to 14. In 1892 an infants school was moved in from a nearby Methodist Sunday School premises, taking up one of the eight classrooms and the hall (which was divided for the purpose into three by curtains. By 1893 there were 198 infants attending, plus around 300 juniors. Wooden huts were erected for the infants in 1935, and were still in use 30 years later. So far as I know this was the only school my mother attended, and my father also began his education there before moving to Clarence Street.

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Commonweal School

Commonweal School The main entrance. The blue sign shows the school name. (Photo 25,180 bytes)

 

 

Commonweal School The entrance pictured above is just beyond the parked cars in this picture. (Photo 25,525 bytes)

My sister and her son both attended this school.

 

 

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Headlands School

Headlands School Headlands School This school was opened in August 1952, as I entered its sixth form to spend my last two years of school life there. The first photo (22,918 bytes) shows the front entrance, which is located down a drive from and is at right angles to the main Cricklade Road. The second (8,555 bytes) shows the rear of the school across the playing fields from Headlands Grove.

If you attended this school in the late 1950s, you may like to make contact with someone else who was there then.

 

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