South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys  
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The School - Landmark events last revised: 17-Apr-2013
See also The Story of the School

The following table chronicles many of the events in the history of the school - from its origins as two school (the High School and Westoe Secondary School) through to the present day. At the moment, most of the pre-1936 events relate to the High School unless otherwise stated.

1882 The London-based Boys' Public Day School Company is formed
19 Jan 1883 JC Stevenson MP presides over local meeting which agrees to open communication with the Company
28 Apr 1883 Professor T Hayter Louis FSA (representative of the Company) visits South Shields. The result is that the Company decides to build school in South Shields (subject to certain conditions)
29 May 1884 Foundation stone laid on Mowbray Road site, by Lord Aberdare (President of the Company)
4 May 1885 South Shields High School opens with 37 boys
High School Headmaster: Mr Walter Hibbert Phillips, MA (formerly Second Master & Head of Science at Bedford County School)
1885 First edition of the ATOM published (although one edition of the ATOM refers to the first ATOM dated March 1890 being donated to the school)
cJun 1886 Attendance stood at about 60 boys
Mar 1887 Robert Chapman (later to become Colonel Robert Chapman, and Chairman of the Governors for many years) first attends the High School.
Aug 1887 Ocean Road Boys' School opens a Science and Art section, under the Headmastership of Alexander Scott, which will later transfer to Westoe and become the Westoe High Grade School.
Jan 1888 South Shields School Board agrees to buy 2½ acres of land in Westoe from Ecclesiastical Commissioners for £1250 for a new school development.
Jan 1890 Westoe Board Schools opened - infants, juniors and "Higher Grade School" - the Science and Art section of Ocean Road moves into the High Grade School.
Westoe Headmaster: Mr Alexander Scott
Jan 1890 High School Headmaster: Mr George Doherty Dakyns (formerly Assistant-Master at Newcastle (Staffs) High School)
1891 Boys' High School in financial difficulties having failed to attract sufficient pupils. It is decided to form South Shields High School Company Ltd, with 1,000 shares of £5, and buy the school for £4500
1893 School leaving age raised from 10 to 11. Previously, attendance was only compulsory to age 10 (with some exceptions).

Mr George Dakyns, Headmaster, leaves to be Headmaster of Morpeth Grammar School
High School Headmaster: Mr George Richard Kirwan MA (formerly Assistant Master at Wyggeston School, Leicester)

12 Sep 1899 New wing (with art classrooms and "physical laboratory") opened by old pupil, Walter Runciman, MP
1 Jan 1900 School leaving age raised from 11 to 12 (the Bill in 1899 was introduced by W S Robson, MP for South Shields)
Apr 1902 Westoe Higher Grade School moves to new building just across the road on Iolanthe Terrace, and is renamed Westoe Secondary Day School. The original building becomes part of Westoe Central Schools.
Oct 1904 Westoe Headmaster: Dr Frederick Betteridge (formerly Head of Hanson Higher Grade School, Bradford - salary £400 a year)
8 Apr 1907 Dr Betteridge (Head of Westoe) starts an extended period of sick leave
Aug 1907 Westoe Headmaster: Mr Duncan Taylor Richards (acting, due to Dr Betteridge's continuing sickness)
Jan 1908 Westoe Headmaster: Mr Thomas Alfred Lawrenson
1909 The Boys' High School is taken over by the local Education Authority
15 Jan 1910 The first try at the first ever International match at Twickenham stadium was scored by Freddie Chapman, an Old Boy of the High School and a member of Westoe and Durham clubs. The match, between England and Wales, was won by England, 11-6.
14 Aug 1912 Shields Gazette reports death of RC Fenwick in an aeroplane accident on Salisbury Plain (see 1958)
22 Jun 1919 Headmaster, George R Kirwan dies.
(acting) High School Headmaster: Captain William Thornton Lucas (deputy head)
Sept 1919 The school's Cadet Corps is given a captured German Howitzer, donated by the Durham County Territorial Association.
1920 High School Headmaster: Captain William Thornton Lucas confirmed as the new headmaster
1921 An outer classroom is erected due to the increase in the number of boys at the school. It is turned into a woodwork department.
1921 School leaving age raised to 14, removing permitted exceptions (Education Act 1918 recommendation, implemented under 1921 Act)
1 Feb 1924 School Saving Scheme started under the "National Savings" scheme - first certificate is sold
1926 SSHS Philatelic Society is founded - membership is 6d a year
1926 School Song is first published by JB Cramer & Co Ltd
Autumn 1926 Rugby is re-introduced to the school and replaces soccer as the official "School Game"
Sep 1926 Approval given to buy "Field 78" at Harton for the purpose of building a public elementary school.
Nov 1927 Commander Davies, captain of the English Rugby team is invited to give a lecture on "Rugby". Following his talk, a match between the South Shields High School and Westoe Secondary School was organised, at which Commander Davies refereed.
26 Apr 1928 "Field 78" at Harton is finally acquired by the Education Authority, but there are no plans yet for building on the site.
1928 A poem in the ATOM laments the removal of the German Howitzer, given to the school in 1919.
1928 New Art School is opened at the High School
Oct 1928 New shower-baths completed
1929 Another outside "hut" is erected, containing two classrooms
1929 School (grass) tennis courts completed
1930 High School is desperate for space - considers using portable screens to create two classrooms in the assembly hall.
1930 Dramatic Society is founded
Mar 1931 The 26th South Shields Scout Troop is formed at the SSHS.
8 Mar 1932 The School Savings reached £1000, with 1199 certificates sold
Apr 1932 Board of Education rejects plans to build a new school to ease the accommodation crisis (they change their minds 16 months later)
1932 The school starts an appeal to find all old copies of the ATOM.
1932 SSHS attendance stands at 320 boys
Mar 1932 An article in the ATOM suggests changing the Houses from colours to names; although it suggests several ideas, it doesn't suggest the names that are eventually taken up.
Sep 1932 The SSHS Chess Club is started
Sep 1932 Boys are reallocated to Houses depending on where they live, and the Houses are renamed from Red, Green and Blue to Runciman, Fenwick and Chapman
1933 The Boxing Club and Science Society are formed. The Stamp Club is revived
21-22 Feb 1933 Exhibition of school work is held.
Sep 1933 The new academic year starts with a newly repainted school
Sep 1934 Westoe Headmaster: Mr Thomas Edward Newby
1934 A committee is set up to "control out-of-door behaviour and general conduct in School"
Jun 1935 A Garden Fete is held to raise funds towards an organ for the "new school" which is due to be opened in September 1936. A total of just over £91 is raised, with a further £11 being raised at a fete held in the grounds of "Undercliffe", Colonel and Lady Chapman's home in Cleadon, where the School Players also performed "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
17 Jul 1935 Final approval given to redesignate the Harton site for High Education, and work starts on the new building.
7 Sep 1936 The new South Shields High School for Boys is opened with 250 boys from the old Boys' High School (in Mowbray Road) and 400 boys from Westoe Higher Grade School (leaving the girls behind to form the new Girls' High School)
Headmaster: Mr William Thornton Lucas (from old Boys' High School).
Deputy Head: Mr Thomas Edward Newby (formerly head of Westoe Secondary School)
11 Sep 1936 Shields Gazette reports opening of the new Boys' High School by Dr Hensley Harrison (Bishop of Durham). He is accompanied by the Mayor and Mayoress, Colonel and Mrs Chapman, Alderman and Mrs Chuter Ede, Alderman and several other town dignitaries. The school boasts an organ in the assembly hall, a gift from the High School Old Boys
Sep 1936 The old three school Houses, which were renamed in 1932, appear in the ATOM as four houses, but returning to their colour designations, as Green, Red, Blue and Yellow Houses.
Sep 1936 A Modern Languages Club is formed
1936 School leaving age to be raised to 15 from 1939, but not implemented until 1947
1937 Out-of-school violin classes are started. Boys pay a small weekly fee for tuition and "hire" pf the violin, which becomes their property after two years
19 Jan 1938 First Speech Day of the new school is held in the School Assembly Hall.
8 Sep 1939 About 150 boys from the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th forms are evacuated to Appleby. Although the school itself was not in the official evacuation area (which was based on proximity with the Tyne), about half of the boys did live in the area and of these, half of them chose to evacuate. This accounted for about a quarter of the school, and they were accompanied by 13 masters, a "Head" (Mr Newby, the school's Deputy Head) and an assistant to the Head (Mrs Newby). The masters included Fred Grey, Alf Headley, Arnold Josephs and "Tanker" Hall. There's a more detailed account of the evacuation.
Sep 1939 As part of the war-time plans, those girls from the Girls' High School who were not evacuated to Kirby Lonsdale move in to the Boys' school.
Mar 1940 A special joint issue of the ATOM is produced with the Girls' High School.
18 & 20 Dec 1945 The Annual School Parties resume after a break of seven years
Mar 1946 Publication of the ATOM resumes after being cut during the war
1946/7 The school Houses are given names to replace the colours in use since the opening of the new school. The names are those of men who played a prominent part in the history of the school. Boys were allocated to a House by form, with all boys in a given form being in the same House.
1947 School leaving age raised from 14 to 15 (Education Act 1944)
Jan 1953 The Gym closes (to be reopened in September) for building work.
Sep 1953 Technical Block was opened
Sep 1953 Against the wishes of headmaster, WT (Bill) Lucas, the name is changed to South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys
1954 In its report on the Music Society, the ATOM makes reference to "our new and enlarged hall". The organ was relocated from the old hall
1954 As part of the rebuilding scheme (which gave the school its bigger assembly hall), the Photographic Society gets a new dark-room.
28 Feb 1954 The new library is opened in the old "Manual Block". Room 8 (the old metalwork room, on the north side) is an Open Department, available to all boys - Room 9 (the old woodwork room on the south side) is the "Senior Department", available only to the Sixth Form and part of the Fifth.
1955 The old system of allocating boys in one form to the same house is abandoned, and boys are now allocated to a house on a "random" basis.
22 Jul 1955 WT Lucas retires
Sept 1955 Headmaster: Mr William Edward Egner takes up his appointment
13 Aug 1958 Shields Gazette report on Fenwick, with commemorative plaque in main corridor of the school.
Sep 1958 The headmaster introduces black, hip-length gowns for prefects, styled on academic robes.
19 Jan 1960 Shields Gazette reports death of WT Lucas, headmaster for 35 years
Nov 1960 A new blazer badge is introduced for sixth formers, who may wear it instead of the traditional "lifeboat" badge. It is one of several designs considered, but was criticised by a number of traditionalists.
8 Aug 1961 Sir Robert Chapman donates £100 to the school on the occasion of his 80th birthday (in March). The money is to be spent on books for the school library.
Sept 1962 Language teaching takes on a high-tech approach. Dr Skilling introduced "Audio-visual" teaching, and a special AV classroom is established, with an Aldis file-strip projector, a Ferrograph tape-recorder and a set of Tavor film-strips. The project was so successful that a second AV classroom was built in 1963.
24 Jan 1963 The Sixth Form Centre is opened, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. It is modelled on the "common rooms" at universities and colleges. Furniture for the centre has been donated by parents and friends
28 May 1963 Sixth Form Study Centre opened
31 Jul 1963 Shields Gazette reports death of Sir Robert Chapman (see opening in 1936)
Oct 1963 As well as a second "AV Classroom", Dr Skilling introduces a "language laboratory". He saw one in use in Ealing College in 1962, and decided that the school could benefit from spending £3500 on the 16 glass-fronted, sound-shielded booths, in which pupils would practice their spoken language skills with their own dedicated tape-recorder, but the teacher could intervene on a one-to-one basis from a central console.
17 Apr 1964 New Arts & Music block opened
1964 The school "scourns tradition" (according to the Shields Gazette) by excluding English, History and Geography from the timetable, and replacing them with Humanities. Mathematics and science are replaced by Environmental Studies. The end result is that for boys' first two years, they have only four main subjects - Humanities, Environmental Studies, Arts & Crafts, and Physical Education - and the number of different teachers they encounter is reduced to four.
2-4 Dec 1964 The School Play, The Miser, receives critical aclaim. Edward Wilson (now Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre) played the miser.
1965 The school introduces a School Liaison Committe, made up from representatives of all years through the school
Nov 1965 The new swimming pool is officially opened (before this, swimming lessons were available only by going to the Derby Street Baths in South Shields)
9 Nov 1965 The head receives a letter from Duncan McKinnon, an old boy of the school, who was spending the year at the Maua Hospital in Kenya. The letter appeals for urgent financial assistance to help with hospital equipment. The school gears up for a massive fund-raising exercise to raise the target of £500. Boys throughout the school invent ways of raising money and on 21st December, a ceremony marked the sending of a telegram saying that the target had been reached (£414 had been raised by boys, £174 from other sources, including donations) In the end, the school exceeded its target and sent £710 to the hospital project.
Spring 1966 First annual Spring Concert is held
Jul 1966 The school disbands the prefectorial system. In its place is a system of "Sixth Form Service Groups", each group dedicated to a particular aspect of school duties.
10 August 1966 The school takes delivery of a computer given by the London and Manchester Insurance Company Ltd. This Ferranti Pegasus computer is installed in a classroom (and two nearby small rooms, one as a technician's office and store, the other for the power supply). SSGTSFB is only the third school in the country to have a computer - the first was Forest Grammar School, in Winnersh, Berkshire, which was given an Elliott 405 by Nestlé in 1965. The second was the Royal Liberty School, in Gidea Park, Romford, London, which bought its own Elliott 903 and had it running in June, 1966. However, it is believed that SSGTSFB was the first school to add computer programming to its timetable.
1966 The school play is The Strong Are Lonely - Mr Seaword's last
Jan 1967 Sixth formers have a special study area adjacent to the library - in it are sets of study carrells, shielded desks where boys can study without distractions.
Mar 1967 School trip to Tossa de Mar, on the Costa Brava.
1 July 1967 Group of boys visit La Rochelle in France as first part of Exchange Visit
1967 The school undergoes a major repainting exercise
1967 The privilege of wearing the special sixth-form uniform is extended to the fifth-form.
Sep 1967 Nuffield Chemistry introduced into the curriculum - and this was the last year that the junior forms took General Science
July 1968 The winner of the House Drama Competition ("Pyramus and Thisbe", from A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Clifford Burnett and Ian Hornsby) is such an acclaimed success, the headmaster decides to have it performed in front of the whole school, and then to have it performed at the Summer Concert.
19-21 Mar 1969 School production (with Girls' Grammar School) of The Pirates of Penzance
Nov 1968 The school hosts its last Speech Day. The Board of Governers decides in 1969 that with the growth in size of the school, Speech Days are no longer practical. Instead, an Open Evening is to be introduced.
15 Jul 1969 The first Open Evenings are held on 15th and 16th July, to replace the old Speech Day.
12 Apr 1970 School trip to France
Sep 1970 Alf Headley retires, and is replaced by Jimmy Emerson as Deputy Head
Autumn 1970 New Kitchen and Dining Hall is opened. It is used by the upper school (boys in the lower school continue to use the old dining hall), and is also used as a Sixth Form Study during lesson times.
23-26 Mar 1971 School production (with Girls' Grammar School) of The Mikado
1971 School trip to Austria
Sep 1971 SSGTSFB makes history - it has the first timetable in the UK to be constructed by computer, and attracts national and international interest.
1972 School trips to Austria and to Brittany
Sep 1972 Following the death of sixth former, James Todd, the James E Todd Music Memorial Fund is started. The sum of £150 will be invested to provide suitable books and materials for the Music Section of the school library. 6th formers design a special label to go inside each book.
1972 School leaving age raised to 16 (as part of the 1944 Education Act - but delayed and introduced after 28 years under Raising of School Leaving Age Order 1972)
Feb 1973 School Dinners suspended for six weeks as a result of the Gas Strike. Dinners resumed on 4th April.
Sep 1973 The last of the "Greek" form names has gone. All forms are now simply letters: 1SOUTH, 2SOUTH, 3SHIELD, 4SHIELD, 5SHIELD, 6FORMALSIXTHE
Sep 1973 6th form is opened up to boys in other schools
1 Jan 1974 Headmaster, William E Egner is awarded the CBE in New Year's Honours list
12 Feb 1974 Headmaster, William E Egner receives his CBE at Buckingham Palace
31 Mar 1974 South Shields ceases to exist as a local authority. Instead, it is now part of the new Metropolitan District of South Tyneside.
2 Sep 1974 School re-opens after summer holidays as Harton Comprehensive School .The new intake consists of 201 boys who join the "comprehensive first year", while the remainder of the school continues as a Grammar.
Apr 1976 William E Egner retires as Headmaster
Apr 1976 Headmaster: Joseph O'Neil
3 Sep 1979 School re-opens after summer holidays with the first co-educational intake (110 boys, 133 girls).
26 Dec 1987 Headmaster, Joseph O'Neil dies
Dec 1987 Headmaster: Philip Turner
Sep 1988 The school year starts without a Sixth Form - post-16 education is now largely at South Tyneside College
1994 Headmaster: Keith Smith (previously deputy Head)
1998 Keith Smith, Headmaster, takes early retirement
1998 Headmaster: Ian Tunnicliffe
Jan 2003 Government announces "Building School for the Future" (BSF), a plan to renew all English secondary schools.
2003 Headmaster: Ken Gibson
Jul 2004 Under BSF Harton School is set to get £18m from South Tyneside's share, and initial planning is started
16 Dec 2005 New £1.65m sports hall and fitness centre is opened by David Miliband and members of Newcastle Falcons.
2007 Harton School is selected to apply for funding from Learning & Skills Council to restore a Post-16 Centre (6th Form)
May 2009 Planning permission is granted for the site's redevelopment, including a new building (to include a Sixth Form Centre)
22 Jun 2009 Work begins on site redevelopment. Large area is boarded up and work begins on the new building
Sep 2010 New building is opened - first intake of the Sixth Form arrives (the first Sixth Formers for 22 years).
Original 1936 building is sealed off for refurbishment, and main school teaching continues in a temporary pre-fabricated building.
Sep 2011 Refurbished building due to re-open, but the discovery of asbestos delays the project by three months
Nov 2011 Refurbished 1936 building is re-opened and the site development is complete
10 May 2012 75th Anniversary dinner held in the school hall (a year late, due to the refurbishment of the school). Guest Speaker, Rory Underwood - David Miliband also attended.
14 Jun 2013 Headmaster, Ken Gibson is awared knighthood for his services to education
17 Oct 2013 Headmaster, Ken Gibson receives his knighthood at Buckingham Palace from Prince William (the first time the Prince has bestowed a knighthood)
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