Battersea Grammar School

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Battersea Grammar School
Motto Rather Deathe than False of Faythe
Established 1875
Closed 1977
Type Grammar
Headmaster John A. Phillips, BA (Oxon)
Location Abbotswood Road
Streatham
London
SW16
England Coordinates: 51°26′06″N 0°08′17″W / 51.435°N 0.138°W / 51.435; -0.138
Local authority ILEA
Staff c. 40
Students c. 540
Gender Boys
Ages 11–18
Houses 6
Badge Gold falcon rising

Battersea Grammar School was a Voluntary-Controlled Secondary Grammar School in South London. It was established in Battersea in 1875 by the Sir Walter St John Trust and moved to larger premises in Streatham in 1936.

The school closed when it was amalgamated with Rosa Bassett School, a grammar school for girls, in 1977 to create the new Furzedown Secondary School, a mixed comprehensive school in Tooting.

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Although the school was only formally established in 1875 it shares its early history with that of the Sir Walter St John's School in Battersea. The joint history dates back to the late 1660s, when Sir Walter St John, 3rd Baronet founded a school on his estate at Battersea. Sir Walter assured the future of his school by means of an endowment signed on the 7 September 1700, stating in the Trust Deed that "being minded to found and forever to establish a charity in the said Parish of Battersea, wherein he now dwelleth for the benefit of the said Parish and Towne, Battersea, and to erect and endow a school for the Education of 20 Free Scholars, he gave a house and garden to be forever hereafter used as a school house for the teaching of scholars therein."[1] The scholars were "to be elected and putt into the said schoole in a mannere hereinafter mentioned to read write and to cast accounts."[2]

The establishment of Battersea Grammar as a separate school was prompted by the changes resulting from the Elementary Education Act 1870. There was considerable debate as to how best to proceed, but eventually a proposal for a new trust scheme, under the Endowed Schools Act 1869, was put before Parliament and approved at a meeting of the Privy Council on the 9 August 1873.[3]

The new scheme would create a new Upper School, with the existing site housing a Public Elementary School and a new Middle School if the Governors so decided.[4] A building for the new school was purchased in 1874, and the post of headmaster of the Sir Walter St John's Upper School advertised. The Rev. Edmund A. Richardson, was appointed to the post on 19 January 1875 and the school opened on 12 April 1875.[3] The old school continued to be known as the Sir Walter St John's School, with both schools under the control of the Sir Walter St John's Schools Trust.[2]

The name Battersea Grammar School was not formally recorded in the scheme of the trust until 1893,[5] however the school had been known by that name almost from the beginning.[4]

Development and relocation[edit]

The first few years of the new Battersea Grammar School were not promising, with the number of pupils declining and proposals to close the school. The appointment of William H. Bindley as headmaster in 1880 or 1881 (sources disagree) turned matters around in both the quality of education and pupil numbers, which increased from 48 in 1881 to 160 by 1891.[5]

The original school building purchased to house Battersea Grammar School was known as St John's Lodge and stood on St John's Hill, on the corner of Plough Road, Battersea.[6] This was enlarged by the addition of an East Wing in 1906 as the number of pupils rose to 250, and pupil numbers increased still further, reaching 450 by 1919.[7]

The St John's Hill site had become increasingly constrained, as land had been purchased from the school by the London and South Western Railway as it expanded around Clapham Junction railway station. Although there had been earlier proposals to move, a decision was not made until 1935, when the LCC offered a site on Abbotswood Road in Streatham.[8]

Plans for a new building to accommodate 540 pupils, designed by J. E. K. Harrison, FRIBA, a former pupil of the school, were quickly approved[8] and in September 1936 the school moved to its new location.[6]

War years[edit]

The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 prompted the evacuation of the school from Abbotswood Road. The school initially moved to Worthing, where it was accommodated by Worthing Grammar School. The worsening outlook in 1940 resulted in another move in the middle of that year, this time to Hertford, where it shared the buildings of Hertford Grammar School.[9]

The school remained in Hertford until early 1945, when it moved back to Abbotswood Road. The return to Streatham also saw the retirement of Henry Ellis, who had taken over as headmaster from William Bindley in 1918, and he was succeeded by Walter Langford.[9]

The war years also saw a significant change in the governance of the school in response to the Education Act 1944. Up until that time the school had been an aided school under the control of the Sir Walter St John's Schools Trust, but the new Act led to the school becoming Voluntary-Controlled, which gave the Local Education Authority (then the LCC, later the ILEA) ten seats on the school's Governing Body, while the Trust retained only five representatives.[2]

Amalgamation and closure[edit]

With the abolition of the Tripartite System, the Inner London Education Authority took the decision to move to a fully Comprehensive System of education. In the case of Battersea Grammar School this was achieved in 1977 by an amalgamation with the Rosa Bassett School, a grammar school for girls, and a move to a new site to create Furzedown Secondary School. The majority of the teaching staff transferred to the new comprehensive school.[10]

Following the amalgamation with the Rosa Bassett School, the Abbotswood Road site was no longer used by the new school, except that the playing-fields there continued to be used by Furzedown Secondary School. From 1977 until its dissolution in 1991 the Abbotswood Road site was occupied by the South West London College of Further Education, and since 1994 the site has been the home of the Senior Department (sixth form) of the Streatham and Clapham High School.

Headmasters[edit]

  • 1875–c. 1878: Rev. Edmund A. Richardson, MA (Oxon)
  • c. 1878–1880: Jefferson (?)
  • 1880–1918: William Henry Bindley, MA (Cantab)
  • 1918–1945: Henry Russell Ellis, BSc (London) (acting headmaster 1918–1920)[11]
  • 1945–1965: Walter James Langford, CBE, MSc, d. 1996[10]
  • 1965–1972: James (Jim) P. Cowan
  • 1972–1973: E. Gerald Cooley (acting headmaster)
  • 1973–1977: John A. Phillips, BA (Oxon)[12]

There is some disagreement between the sources as to the date on which W. H. Bindley took over as headmaster; it was either 1880 or 1881. He had been a master at the school since its establishment in 1875.

House system[edit]

A system of four houses was established in 1907.[7] The houses were known as:

In 1919 two additional houses were created:

  • Erskine – after Canon John Erskine Clarke, a former Vicar of Battersea and member of the Sir Walter St John Trust at the time of the establishment of the school.[2][3][14]
  • Dawnay – after Sir Archibald Davis Dawnay, who had been Mayor of Wandsworth from 1908 until his death on 23 April 1919,[15] and was a benefactor of the school.

House colours were:

  • St John's – dark blue;
  • Bolingbroke – yellow;
  • Spencer – green;
  • Trinity – red;
  • Erskine – pale blue;
  • Dawnay – purple.

Insignia and motto[edit]

Both Battersea Grammar and the Sir Walter St John's School used the arms of their founder Sir Walter St John, 3rd Baronet, although in slightly modified forms. The motto Rather Deathe than False of Faythe appears to have been a later addition.[16][17] Graveney School (which was formed from several school, including Battersea Grammar) still has the motto above the War memorial.

As a blazer badge the school took the gold falcon from the crest of Sir Walter's arms. The crest was changed in 1959 from a gold falcon rising, wings displayed and inverted, to one rising with wings elevated and addorsed. The falcon is ducally gorged with a red, three-pointed crown around its neck, and belled in gold with red jesses.[17]

Former pupils[edit]

Former pupils, sometimes referred to as Old Grammarians, include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Webb, Christine (June 1977). "The History of Battersea Grammar School to 1936, Chapter 1". The Old Grammarian 7 (6): pp. 8–9. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d Jacob, W. L. (1950). "The History of Battersea Grammar School". Battersea Grammar School Magazine IX (1): pp. 2–4. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Founding of Battersea Grammar School". The Old Grammarian: pp. 8–20. December 1991. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  4. ^ a b Webb, Christine (November 1977). "The History of Battersea Grammar School to 1936, Chapter 2". The Old Grammarian 7 (7): pp. 5–6. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  5. ^ a b Webb, Christine (June 1978). "The History of Battersea Grammar School to 1936, Chapter 3". The Old Grammarian 7 (8): pp. 9–11. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Battersea Grammar School [Prospectus 1937]". The Old Grammarian: pp. 20–31. 1997. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  7. ^ a b Webb, Christine (November 1978). "The History of Battersea Grammar School to 1936, Chapter 4". The Old Grammarian 8 (1): pp. 13–17. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  8. ^ a b Webb, Christine (November 1979). "The History of Battersea Grammar School to 1936, Chapter 6". The Old Grammarian 8 (3): pp. 10–13. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  9. ^ a b Cawsey, Alan (1997). "Battersea Grammar School During the War Years 1939–1945". The Old Grammarian: 10–13. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  10. ^ a b Stapleton, Graham; Tony Stoddart, Pete Wragg, (eds.) (1977). Battersea Grammar School. design by Tony and Linda Stoddart. London: Just & Co. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  11. ^ "Two Headmasters". Battersea Grammar School Magazine IX (2): pp. 33–36. 1950. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  12. ^ "B.G.S. Welcomes Mr. Phillips". Battersea Grammar School Magazine XIII (7): p. 7. 1973. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  13. ^ Lysons, Daniel (1792). "Battersea". The Environs of London: volume 1: County of Surrey. pp. 26–48. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  14. ^ "Rev. John Erskine Clarke, M.A.". Children's Annuals – The Chatterbox. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  15. ^ "Regalia – The Mayors of Wandsworth". Wandsworth Borough Council. Retrieved 2007-11-25. [dead link]
  16. ^ Poffley, M. F. (2002). "BGS Heraldry". Old Grammarians' Association. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  17. ^ a b "The Arms of Sir Walter St. John's School and Battersea Grammar School". The Old Grammarian: p. 31. 2002. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 

External links[edit]