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Two schools look back at their class act past
IT’S a tale of two schools today, as we look back into their history, old staff, and former pupils.
St Thomas’ Primary School, in Blackburn, has sent us a photograph, above right, which shows pupils smiling for the camera on Empire Day, back in the 1940s.
The school is hoping to compile a complete history, before it undergoes extension work, and is asking if any former pupils can help in its project.
Staff would also like to hear from anyone who recognises themselves, posing in the playground, with flags and bunting flying from the building behind.
St Thomas’ School was first built in 1865 but, in 1972, moved from the site in Lambeth Street, to its present one in Newton Street.
In previous extension works, old writing slates, inkwells, and other artefacts, have come to light.
Empire Day was first celebrated on May 24, 1902, and took place every year for 50 years and more, with millions of schoolchildren, from all walks of life across the length and breadth of the British Empire, saluting the union flag, and singing patriotic songs, such as Jerusalem and God Save the Queen.
They would hear inspirational speeches, and listen to tales of ‘daring do’ from across the Empire, stories that included such heroes as Clive of India, Wolfe of Quebec, and ‘Chinese Gordon’, of Khartoum.
But the real highlight of the day for the children was that they were let off school early to take part in marches, maypole dances, concerts and parties to celebrate the event.
Our second story centres on Beardwood Humanities College, in Blackburn, which will close its doors later this year, as schools in the borough are reorganised.
To mark its past, a grand reunion for past pupils will take place at King George’s Hall, in Blackburn, this Saturday, and a last-minute reminder is today being made to urge them all to attend.
It is believed the school was first established as the old Blackburn Technical High School in 1946, in Blakey Moor, behind King George’s Hall and the old police station in Northgate, before its name changed to Blackburn Technical and Grammar School.
In 1966 it moved to Billinge and became Billinge Grammar School, and eventually Beardwood.
Maria Morton, of Blackburn, has sent us a photograph, above left, of former staff dating back, she thinks, to 1968, the year she became a first year pupil.
In the centre at the front is the then headteacher Mr Griffin, but can you name any others?
She said: “There has been a tremendous response to our search for former pupils and staff.
“We have contacted people all over the world and highlighted just how far, and how well, those ex-Billinge and Beardwood pupils have gone.
“There have been testimonials from those who remember the school and its staff as being pivotal in their lives, and the career paths they have chosen.
“Throughout it all is a sense that the Billinge to Beardwood grand reunion will be a fitting tribute to what was, and still is, to its ex-pupils, the best school in Blackburn.”
Part of the celebrations will be a memory wall, which has been put together by community engagement manager Nazmun Usman, who has been at Beardwood for 21 years and has been working with former pupils on a chronological history of the school.
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