Plaistow County Grammar School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Plaistow County Grammar School
PlaistowGS logo.png

Non Quo, Sed Quomodo (Not To What End, But How),

Deo Confidimus (In God We Trust)
Established 1945
Closed 1972
Type Grammar School
Final Headmaster Gerard Ward
Location Prince Regent Lane
Greater London
E13 8SG
51°31′20″N 0°01′49″E / 51.5223°N 0.0304°E / 51.5223; 0.0304Coordinates: 51°31′20″N 0°01′49″E / 51.5223°N 0.0304°E / 51.5223; 0.0304
Local authority Newham
DfE URN 102783 Tables
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Barking, Beckton, Cumberland, Regent
Publication The Plaistovian

Plaistow County Grammar School, also known as "Plaistow Grammar" or "PGS", was a local authority mixed gender Grammar school established in 1945 and located on Prince Regent Lane (A112) in Plaistow, in the County Borough of West Ham and then the London Borough of Newham in east London. It was disestablished in 1972 upon its merging to create a Comprehensive school.


The school first opened in 1926 as Plaistow Secondary School on the site in the south of the borough, and was designed to cater for 250 pupils[1][2] A second quadrangle was completed in 1930 increasing the capacity to 600,[1] reaching a similar enrolment to that of West Ham Secondary School (until 1925 known as West Ham Central Secondary School), its counterpart in the north of the borough.[1] In 1930 the school magazine The Plaistovian (Plaistovian meaning of or belonging to Plaistow) was launched and publication continued until the school was merged in 1972. Among the initial editorial staff was pupil Norman Price who later became Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue[3] and obtain a knighthood.

Before and during the second world war, pupils and staff were evacuated at various times[4] to (briefly) Wellington in Somerset, then to Weymouth in Dorset, South Molton in Devon,[5] Helston and Newquay, both in Cornwall.[6]

The school became Plaistow Grammar School in September 1945[7] as a result of the Education Act of 1944, and subsequently Plaistow County Grammar School.

In 1972, following the 1965 changes in educational infrastructure proposed by the Ministry of Education, the school was merged with Faraday Secondary Modern School to become Cumberland Comprehensive School.[8] The name Cumberland Comprehensive was taken from Cumberland Road, which ran past Faraday Secondary Modern and past the Cumberland Road Playing Fields which abutted the grammar school and were routinely used by it for physical education.

The Latin motto of the original secondary school was Non Quo, Sed Quomodo.[9] Dr Harold Priestley's book "Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School"[10] credits this to Miss M "Maggie" Lamb, MA, an English teacher who joined the school in 1927 and who translated it as "Not to what end, but how" (also translated as "Not by whom but in what manner"[11]), in other words the end does not justify the means or (colloquially) "It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it". In the 1950s the motto of the County Borough of West Ham, Deo Confidimus (translated as "In God we trust"), was adopted.[12] After West Ham joined with the County Borough of East Ham and small parts of Barking and Woolwich to form the London Borough of Newham in 1965, the school's motto remained.

The school's badge was featured in the 16 July 1960 issue (No.1829) of the British comic The Rover.[13]


Plaistow Secondary School and Plaistow Grammar operated a House system to create competition, rivalry and team spirit.[14][15] Pupils were allocated to one of four Houses – Barking, Regent, Beckton and Cumberland (named after four roads to the north, east, south and west of the school).[16] Each House had a distinctive colour worn for sports and during physical education.


The selective admission to the grammar school was gained through the Eleven plus exam although in some cases pupils were able to transfer from a Secondary Modern school on evaluation by the local education authority.


The broad curriculum was focused on academic rather than vocational education, and included languages, sciences, art, and music subjects, culminating in RSA, CSE, GCE O-level and GCE A-level exams, while other certificates were also offered. Examination results became among the best in the borough[citation needed], with many pupils gaining entrance to university.

Notable alumni[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Priestley, Harold (1976) The Story of a School, 1926-1950, Plaistow Sec. SIN: B00124OHK2.


  1. ^ a b c "British History Online; West Ham – Education, A history of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (pp. 144-157) – Secondary and senior schools founded before 1945". University of London & History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "West Ham’s Timeline". Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Investigatory Powers". Hansard. 17 May 1976. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Priestley, Harold. Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School. pp. 56–57, 66–67, 71. 
  5. ^ "Evacuees, Plaistow Secondary School". Newham London. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Grammar school memories that have held fast". St Austell Voice. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Priestley, Harold. Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School. pp. 92–93. 
  8. ^ "Leading education and social research". Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Priestley, Harold. Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School. pp. 7, 13–14. 
  10. ^ "Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School, 1926-1950". Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  11. ^ The Routledge dictionary of Latin quotations: the illiterati's guide to ... Routledge. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Newham story, Coat of Arms (3) – West Ham". Newham London. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "SCHOOL BADGES Featured in the ROVER and ROVER AND ADVENTURE". British Comics. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Secondary education, Plaistow Netball Trophy". Newham London. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Plaistow Football Trophy". Newham London. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Priestley, Harold. Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School. p. 11. 

External links[edit]