History Past Events - Shirley Schools Centenary
Shirley Schools Centenary - Wednesday 13th & Saturday 16th June 2012
Updated: 21st July 2012
FoSJP Goes Back to School!
From March to June 2012 the FoSJP History Research Group visited the archives of Shirley Infant School, Shirley Junior School, and Southampton City Archives: indexing, photographing, and researching the history of the schools.
|FoSJP History Research Group at Shirley Schools, March 2012
Centenary Evening Celebration, Wednesday 13th June
This information was presented as a lecture and exhibition, including an audio‑visual display, at a joint schools' Centenary Evening celebration at Shirley Junior School on Wednesday 13th June, the 100th anniversary of the foundation stone being laid.
|Past pupils and invited guests begin to arrive at the Shirley Schools Centenary Event
The Centenary Evening, coordinated by Shirley Infant School Governor and FoSJP History Research Group member Vicki Stacey, was attended by 170 guests: mainly past pupils and a dozen past heads, deputy heads, teachers, and staff, plus 25 current staff, governors, and PTA helpers.
The evening included tours of the schools, Infant and Junior choir performances, tea, homemade cakes (six supplied by FoSJP members), and the exhibition and talk which also included a film depicting current pupils and school life. The school, with input from FoSJP, had collected past pupil memories which were shared in the exhibition under each decade from the 1920s to the 2000s.
The exhibition also included specific sections such as:
- "The Beginnings of the School..." - its Victorian origins
- Changes to the Building over time
- Plays and Performances
- The Wildlife Pond - now and then
- School trips
Past pupils and staff brought in some fascinating items to include in the exhibition, including a George V fire bucket and a chimney pot from a house on Shayer Road that was demolished to make way for the current school field.
|Schools' Centenary Exhibition
Liz Webb, who has an architectural background, focused on the School Buildings' history, skilfully interpreting the old building plans held in the Southampton City Archives, with whose permission Liz prepared a display board depicting changes to the buildings over time, a display booklet of old plans for the school to keep, and shared the buildings' history as part of the evening's talk.
Raymond Hancock, who for many years worked for Southampton City Council, ploughed through the Education Committee Minutes, 1909‑1914, of his former employer, to find any reference to the rebuilding of the Victorian Shirley Church School. Raymond's notes verified the stages of the rebuild, and the communications and negotiations between the Council and the Church of England as the school moved from Church to Council ownership. These notes formed part of the exhibition, and have been typed and left with the school as part of their Centenary archive.
Raymond's Aunt ‘Gwen’, Mrs Gwendoline Kitchener née Hancock, born in 1915, was at 97 the oldest past pupil to share memories of St.James' Park and the school. Mrs Kitchener was interviewed as part of the FoSJP Shirley Heritage Oral History Project.
|Gwendoline's family, c.1921||Gwendoline's 1940s photo
carried by her husband
throughout World War II
|Gwendoline in 2010|
Mrs Kitchener, then Hancock, lived at her Wilton Road home with her parents and 9 siblings, in their terraced house next to the school. Gwendoline is pictured front left in this family photograph taken in the back yard in Wilton Road (c.1921). Thanks to our funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Mrs Kitchener's memories have been made into a short film, shown at the talk, which will soon be available for you to view here on our website.
Shirley Schools' Summer Fair, Saturday 16th June
The exhibition was re‑located to Shirley Infant School, where it was available to the wider public at the joint schools' Summer Fair on Saturday 16th June.
|Centenary Exhibition at Summer Fair, Saturday 16th June
FoSJP also sold over 30 local history books at both events, raising £155 for FoSJP and a £50 donation for the schools.
Credits and Information
- The lecture was presented by Michaela Lawler‑Levene and Liz Webb.
- The exhibition was produced by FoSJP History Research Group Members with support from Shirley Schools, parents, governors, and staff.
- Our thanks go to Shirley Infant and Junior Schools, the Southampton City Archives, and the FoSJP exhibition volunteers: Madge Heath, Raymond Hancock, Patricia White, Ken Conway, Liz Webb, Margaret Osmond, Don Smith, Mary Smith, Peter Wardall, Dan Levene, and Michaela Lawler‑Levene, with assistance from ex‑pupils and staff, especially Gill Robinson, Liz Bailey, Ann Bassil, Susan Ponsford, and John Noyce.
- Audio sound editing from Peter Janaway.
- The gathering of the information for the exhibition was made possible through the research and indexing of the school archives, which was led by FoSJP member Madge Heath.
- The FoSJP History Research Group recommended using archive boxes to store the wealth of school archive material, digitising parts of the archive, and donating pieces of historical interest to the Southampton City Archives for safe storage.
- In addition to the exhibition, several FoSJP members also spoke to children about their own memories.
Extracts from some of the many "Thank You" letters received by the school following the Centenary Evening:
"I just wanted to add to my letter which I sent to Chris Bulmer today, how fantastic last night was! You have all worked superbly hard!!!! The whole evening was an absolute success, and I know how much effort went into making the evening the total success that it was! Thank you! I attach some photos for you and your book/archive! Very best wishes and, once again WELL DONE!!!"
"I would just like to thank you for your kind efforts in organising the Centenary Shirley School reunion the other week. It was a good evening...I did meet one of my old class mates."
"I just had to write and say how much I enjoyed Wednesday evening with all the celebrations. It was also wonderful to see many of my photos in the exhibition bringing back fond memories of my time spent there. The talks were so interesting and although I now live in Reading, it was a very good idea to incorporate the history of Shirley, where I used to live. The choirs were fantastic too and their hard work paid off with a lovely performance. I realise how much work you and all the staff have put in with these celebrations and have to tell you how much they were appreciated by everyone that I spoke to who attended. The Heads and Staff were very friendly and welcoming."
"Please pass on my congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in making it such an enjoyable evening. Please may all the children have House Points [or your equivalent to House Points!] for their beautiful singing! Thank you."
"We would like to express our thanks for all the hard work that went into yesterday evening. Mother found it very interesting and says that it has brought back even more memories!"
Thank You Tea Events - Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th July 2012
Updated: 21st July 2012
On Monday 16th July, eight members of the FoSJP History Research Group split themselves into groups of four to attend two "Thank You" tea events, one at Shirley Infant School and another at Shirley Junior School. The schools thanked the group members for all their help with the centenary celebrations by serving them a well‑received cup of tea and a cake. The FoSJP team was very impressed with the polite Year 6 children who looked after them so well when visiting the Junior School.
On Tuesday 17th July, the FoSJP History Coordinator, Michaela Lawler‑Levene, attended a celebration assembly at Shirley Infant School, where she presented a copy of the local history book "Shirley from Domesday to D Day" to Head Teacher Hazel Hayter and Deputy Head Rick Page.
Both the Infant and Junior Schools have been given a copy of this popular local history book, which contains a chapter by Rosaleen Wilkinson on the history of Shirley School.
FoSJP had sold several history books at both the Centenary Evening on 13th June and the Summer Fair on 16th June, and made a gift of £50 from these sales to the schools.