Matthew Humberstone School

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Humberstone Foundation School/Matthew Humberstone School
Matthew humberstone school logo.jpg
Motto Striving for excellence
Established 1882
Closed 2010
Type Voluntary controlled school
Religion Church of England
Head Steve Cook
Founder Matthew Humberstone
Location Chatsworth Place
North East Lincolnshire
DN35 9NF
53°33′00″N 0°02′56″W / 53.550078°N 0.048875°W / 53.550078; -0.048875Coordinates: 53°33′00″N 0°02′56″W / 53.550078°N 0.048875°W / 53.550078; -0.048875
Local authority North East Lincolnshire
DfE URN 118113 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff Teaching: 84, Non-teaching: 37 [1]
Students 1,254
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–16
Colours      Royal blue
Publication Matthew Humberstone School Magazine
+Special measures 2007[when?]
-Special Measures 28 March 2008

Matthew Humberstone Church of England School, often shortened to MHS or, more affectionately, Matty, was a comprehensive school in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, England, with a Church of England tradition. The school was a specialist Business and Enterprise College and the only Church of England secondary school in North East Lincolnshire. It was established in September 1973 through the amalgamation of Beacon Hill Secondary School and Humberston Foundation School. The school remained in this form until September 2013 when in a further amalgamation it transformed into Saint Andrew's College (now Holy Family Catholic Academy).


Matthew Humberston[edit]

The original school was founded in 1823 by Matthew Humberston, born in Homerton, London in 1649, reputed to be a foundling. He became a London customs officer and becoming very wealthy, bought up land in Humberston. There he rebuilt the church and occupied a manor house where he died on a visit from London in 1709. In his will he left £1,000 to rebuild the church steeple and a gift of £500 to establish a Free Grammar School and almshouses, allowing £44 per year for the vicar to also act as headmaster of the school. Much legal wrangling followed of the will provisions and the £500 grew through investments to £24,867. This was used to build a school next to the vicarage at a cost of £700. It was opened in October 1823 with 105 boys on the list. Over 100 years had elapsed since the death of Matthew Humberstone.

The last headmaster of the old school was appointed in 1876. He was Dr John Morgan, vicar of Humberstone. The Charity Commissioners ordered the closure of the school and its transfer to a new site in Clee Road. The old school closed in 1878 and the sum of £13,022 was available for the building of the new school. It was ruled that future headmasters should not hold any benefice having "the care of souls".

Clee Grammar School[edit]

When it opened on Clee Road on 25 September 1882 it was an all-boys grammar school with only 15 students, which rose to 67, and known as the Clee Foundation School. The area after which it was named, was actually mostly in Grimsby. The Clee Grammar School for Boys (also known as the Clee Humberstone Foundation School and Old Clee Grammar School) was on the south side of Clee Road (then the A18, now the A46) in Old Clee, opposite Clee Crescent.

The first headmaster of the new school was Mr Arthur Abbot, MA, and he relinquished the post in 1900 on taking Holy Orders. He was followed by Mr Edwin Lovegrove, MA, who resigned in 1906 to become head of Stamford School. Mr T.R. Turnbull, BA, (an old boy of the school) and also an assistant master at the school since 1894, was promoted to the headmastership.

By 1900 it was clear additional accommodation was needed. During the tenure as headmaster of Mr T. R. Turnbull BA, in 1909, the school buildings were considerably extended enabling the school roll of pupils to be raised to 212. Fees were increased in 1922 to £3 per term for boys under 12 years, and an additional 10 shillings for older boys. In 1923 Mr Turnbull died and was succeeded by Lt-Colonel S. F. Thomas, DSO, BA His strength of character, military bearing and ability to command authority, set the scene for discipline amongst pupils, and the reputation of the school was at the highest possible level. To gain a place was indeed a prized possession for both boys and their parents.

In the 1930s again the issue of pressure on space arose and plans were drawn for major extensions of the buildings. These were completed in June 1937 with a quadrangle of classrooms, a large assembly hall and a spacious science wing (not without architectural merit). The school could now accommodate 300 pupils in a two form entry. This number rose to 370 by 1953. From 1951 the status of the school changed from "Aided School" to a school wholly controlled by Lindsey County Council. On the retirement of Lt.-Colonel Stanley F. Thomas in 1953, Mr C. Shaw, MA(Cantab), was appointed as headmaster. In 1956 Ernest Kirman, JP, chairman of the governors, generously provided funds towards he cost of the further buildings to be added to the site. These included a swimming pool, new gymnasium and new dining facilities.

A less architecturally successful "new block" was constructed to provide more teaching space in the early 60s. The grammar school had a variable to good reputation which culminated in 1964 when almost 10% of the sixth-form gained places at Oxford or Cambridge universities.[2]

List of headmasters[3][edit]

1823 – 49 Rev. Joseph GEDGE, MA
1849 – 50 Rev. George Edwin PATTENDEN, MA, BN, LLD
1851 – 76 Rev. Charles WILDBORE
1876 – 78 Rev. John MORGAN, LLD, DCL
1882 – 1900 Mr Arthur ABBOTT, MA
1900 – 1906 Mr Edwin William LOVEGROVE, MA, MRIA, FSA
1906 – 1923 Mr Thomas Robert TURNBULL, BA
1923 – 1953 Lt.-Col. Stanley F. THOMAS, DSO, BA
1953 – 1973 Mr Colin SHAW, MA (Cantab) (Last Head of Humberstone Foundation School) (Died 1988)
1973 – 1989 Mr Bernard BEACROFT BA (Head of Matthew Humberstone School)

Several references to life at the school under Colin SHAW as headmaster can be found in the book entitled 'Beyond the Final Whistle' by John Boyers, the chaplain of Manchester United FC., who was a geography master at the school.[4]

Magazine, school song and badge[edit]

The school magazine of the grammar school was called The Humberstonian. There was a school song ("Some men boast of their ancient lineage, Humberstone none had he...") and the school's original Coat of Arms:- Argent three bars and in chief as many rondels ermines, boasted a Latin tag, "Fax mentis honestae gloria" (Glory is the beacon of a noble spirit).

Humberstone Foundation School Blazer Badge

It is thought the school song was written by Mr. (Nag) Collins, a master at the school from the early 1920s.[5]

Clee Grammar School uniform[edit]

Eleven-year-old boy in uniform of Humberston Foundation School 1953

The following account relates to a new eleven-year-old's entrance to the school in 1953 and the instructions received by his parents:-

"Grammar School meant a new uniform and apparently lots of new rules. The letter dated June 1953 received from S.F. Thomas, headmaster, School House, Clee, enclosed several forms. These included an application form, a form of agreement, a dinner and milk form, and a health certificate form. Most had to be returned as soon as possible but the health certificate ‘should be brought by the boy on the first morning of term, which begins on Tuesday, 8 September, at 9.30am’. The letter continued: ‘Your boy should be in possession of the following articles of clothing, all of which, with the exception of the boots and shoes, are supplied by the School Outfitters’ and there followed details of three local suppliers of school uniforms. The list included, school cap and tie, two football jerseys (one white and the other black-and-white striped), football shorts (black), football boots, gym singlet, gym shoes, towel, light slippers for wear in school (optional), school blazer, grey flannel trousers and white cricket shirt (compulsory). As all boys are required to change either into gym shoes or into light slippers on entering the School each day, these must be brought on the first morning of term.’ Other instructions in the letter required the marking of all clothing with the boy’s name, and that the boy should be provided with a copy of the Bible (Revised Version) and of Hymns Ancient and Modern." [6]

The official school outfitters referred to in the headmaster's letter were Messrs. Atkinson Ltd of Old Market Place, Grimsby, Mr A. Burton, Sea View Street, Cleethorpes, or Messrs. G. Wilson & Son, High Street, Cleethorpes [7] The cap and blazer were black. The cap and blazer were decorated with the school badge and the blazer edges were outlined with black and white piping. The tie was black with white diagonal stripes. During the 1950s, most eleven-year-olds were outfitted with short grey trousers and continued to wear these until the second or third form when outgrown shorts were replaced by 'longs'.

Other information[edit]

Highlights of the academic year were Sports Day, Founder's day and Speech Day. Competition was encouraged in the school and pupils were members of one of the four houses: Bolingbroke, Burleigh, Humberstone and Newton. Points were accumulated throughout the year for sporting and academic achievements, but lost through lateness and poor work, so that at the end of the year one house could claim to be Cock House! Speech Day was held at a variety of venues such as the Theatre Royal, the ABC Cinema and sometimes the school hall, with notable personalities presenting the prizes. On Founders Day the school would attend a memorial service at Old Clee Parish church, an ancient building being the oldest in Grimsby dating back to Saxon times. This church, Holy Trinity and St Mary, served for many centuries as the parish church for the farming village of Clee and the fishing hamlets known as the Thorpes of Clee A service of remembrance was regularly held in the school hall on the date nearest 11 November. The headmaster would read a list of old boys who fell in the two world wars. At the back of the school hall two bronze memorial plaques record their names.

Further east along Clee Road (the boundary at that point between Grimsby and Cleethorpes) was Cleethorpes Girls' Grammar School, later the site of the Lower School of The Lindsey School. However this school too is closed and has been sold off by the local council to a developer.

At the boys' grammar school, in the 1940s and 1950s, a chemistry teacher for seven years was Dr Albert Lammington Bettison, who had been a wartime atomic scientist. He drowned when walking and was cut off by the tide, aged 37 in October 1953, and his body was found by Cleethorpes police on the beach at North Cotes. There were several other notable science teachers at the grammar school in the 50s and 60s, Joseph Gregory (Chemistry) and Brian Leatherbarrow (Biology) and "Dutch" Jones (physics).

Genesis played at the grammar school on 19 December 1970.[8]

There was an old boys association – The Old Humberstonians Association – but this is no longer in existence. However a group of old boys organise an annual dinner for alumni at which the school song, gaudeamus igitur, and the Lincolnshire Poacher are usually sung with great enthusiasm.

The Kirman Trust bears the name of Ernest Kirman Esq., M.B.E., J.P., who was chairman of the governors from 1939 until his death in 1964. Mr. Kirman was an old boy of the school and while a governor was responsible for a number of benefactions - the swimming pool, the scout hut, a hard tennis court and sixth form rooms in the garden of School House. [9] The Kirman Trust owns the school buildings opened in 1882, and provides funding for a number of bursaries which continue to be awarded to promising scholars who have won places at university.

Matthew Humberstone Church of England School[edit]


Local government reforms in 1974 had as a consequence the demise of the Grammar School status of Humberstone Foundation School, and the Clee Road site and buildings were utilised for the newly created Lower Matthew Humberstone Comprehensive School, sharing the name with the Beacon Hill Secondary Modern School, in Chatsworth Place, which became the upper school. They merged in September 1973 to form a comprehensive school. Being outside of the borough of Grimsby (by a few metres), it was controlled by the Lindsey County Council Education Committee, based in Lincoln. It had 1,750 boys and girls, with the headmaster being Mr D Johnston. Less than a year after it was formed, following the revision of county boundaries, it transferred to the administration of the Grimsby Division of Humberside County Council Education Committee. Another upheaval in administration took place when North East Lincolnshire unitary authority was created from the boroughs of Cleethorpes and Great Grimsby on 1 April 1996 on the abolition of Humberside.

In September 2006, the school began using Positive Discipline as its discipline system.

The school used to be on two sites – the former secondary modern and grammar school, being separated by Davenport Drive. This was not of greatest benefit to school administration, and with falling numbers of pupils, the school's students all moved to the upper school site in September 2008. There were plans to merge the school with St Mary's Catholic School on Wootton Road in Nunsthorpe (another low performing school) and have a joint school on the Upper School site at Chatsworth Place. This site was also next to St Joseph's RC Primary School on Philip Avenue.

This former plan was amended and the new 'joint faith' school called St Andrew's College opened in 2010 using the Chatsworth Place site. However the school was judged as 'inadequate' in a 2013 Ofsted inspection and was put into special measures.[10] The school converted to academy status in September 2013 and was renamed Holy Family Catholic Academy. It is now solely a Roman Catholic school.


  • The school was awarded the Learning and Skills beacon by the Department for Education and Skills.[1]
  • It was awarded the Basic Skills Agency award.[1]
  • It was an Investor in People.[1]
  • It was also an Investor in Careers.[1]
  • It received the technology colleges award.[1]
  • It was also awarded the Excellence and Diversity award.[1]
  • In August 2004, it received the International Award from the British Council.
  • It reached the final of Global Rock Challenge numerous times.

Special measures[edit]

In 2007, the school was placed in special measures by a team of school inspectors. They were taken out of special measures by a group of Her Majesty's School Inspectors on 28 March 2008. It received low results at GCSE and SATs – well under the English average.

St Andrew's College[edit]

The school was formed out of an amalgamation of St Mary's Catholic School to form St Andrew's College in September 2010. This merger involved proposal to knock down many of the former buildings of the Clee Grammar School, on Clee Road, and for the building of a new school on the site – with the intention of opening the new school in 2012. At this point the other part of the school in Chatsworth Place could be demolished.

A closing re-union event for former staff and students of the school was held on Saturday 17 July 2010.

However, at the start of 2013 the old school buildings on Clee Road remain standing. The 'new' school buildings were cancelled due to a change of government and the ending of the Building Schools for the Future initiative by the previous Government. This meant that the new school remained in the Chatsworth Place buildings.

The school head of St Andrew's College confirmed that the school would become an academy on 1 September 2013 sponsored by Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Education Service and that the Bishop of Nottingham, Bishop Malcolm McMahon chose the name of the academy as Holy Family Catholic Academy.

Notable former pupils[edit]

As Clee Grammar School for Boys[edit]

As Matthew Humberstone School[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Eteach profile of the school
  2. ^ A Summary History of the School compiled by D.C. Hopkinson, O.B.E. with acknowledgement to the work of Arthur E. Kirkby, BA
  3. ^ The Humberstonian Autumn 1953 edition – notes by Mr. E.A. KIRKBY
  4. ^ Beyond the Final Whistle: A Life of Football and Faith (Hodder Christian books) ISBN 0340756276 ISBN 978-0340756270 by John Boyers
  5. ^ Grimsby Telegraph, Tuesday 11 December 2012 – attributed to Mr D Rushby of North Kelsey
  6. ^ A Policeman's Tale, by Patrick McNeill, ISBN 9781445267807, Published 21 January 2010
  7. ^ Letter dated June 1953 signed by S.F. Thomas, Headmaster to parents of new boys
  8. ^
  9. ^ The Humberstonian 1965
  10. ^
  11. ^ The Humbersonian 1958
  12. ^ Grimsby Telegraph 26 October 2015
  13. ^ New Scientist 1 Dec 1960 page 1477
  14. ^ The Humberstonian 1965
  15. ^ The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History page 628
  16. ^ Obituary Academic Journal Management Services; May85, Vol. 29 Issue 5, p39

External links[edit]

News items[edit]