Resurrecting The Bournemouthian

Many of you will remember the long-standing school magazine, The Bournemouthian. Did you know that there have been no new issues since 2003? Ian Westhead, a current member of the Sixth Form, writes:

Recently, I discovered an extensive archive in the library containing, along with a plethora of other documents, all issues of The Bournemouthian. I was dismayed to realise there had not been a copy published since 2003 owing to the departure of Mr Rixon, an old English teacher who edited it (who has subsequently returned).

There is, however, good news:

I, along with a few friends who share my interest in the history and happenings of Bournemouth School, have decided to get The Bournemouthian back on its feet – to resurrect it. We’ve been discussing the content and the logistics of it, and it seems The Bournemouthian will live again!

To help this rebirth, Ian would like contributions of any information, anecdotes and chiefly pictures that could feature in some of the new copies. Ian is particularly interested in the development of the school buildings, especially the effects of “The Great Fire of 1973”,
(“an anecdote I had heard my father mention”). Pictures of past headmasters and old plans of classrooms would also be of particular interest.

Anything from the evolution of the school buildings to the different subjects taught at different times would be of great benefit to the new editions, as I’m looking forward to writing articles about the history of my school!

Please do let us know, in the comments below or by email, if you can help.

Photos discovered from old school productions

Hugh Walker recently got in touch with the OBA. He had discovered a number of photographs and documents left by his father, Bernard Walker, who designed sets for a wide range of school productions from the 1930s until his retirement in the 1960s.

Mr Walker writes: “They’re a bit jumbled – difficult to identify dates, but at least some of the participants might recognize themselves and have positive reminiscences. I’ve included the stagehands too. I recollect that the programmes were all printed in the art room and particular boys had a hand in this.”

You will find the photographs below. Let us know in the comments if you recognise anybody – or yourself!

Dating the Sixth Form Block

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey J Giles of the University of Florida’s Department of History writes:

Visiting from my home in Florida in the summer, I bought a copy of the excellent history of our town by Vincent May & Jan Marsh (Eds.), Bournemouth 1810-2010: From Smugglers to Surfers (Stanbridge/Wimborne: Dovecote Press, 2010). The photographs in the book are fresher and more remarkable than any other published history of the town. However, I did a double take at the photo of “Bournemouth School on East Way 1950s” on page 162. I’m sure this is wrong, and I’m hoping other Old Boys will confirm this. My recollection from my time at the school (1959-1965) is that there was nothing to the left of the caretaker’s house except a wrought-iron railing (I think!) leading directly to the Copse. But in this photo there are rather large new buildings. Am I right in thinking that this aerial photo in fact dates from much later?

Wikipedia dates the Sixth Form Block to 1966. Perhaps some Members can verify this?

“Schools of War” article

Many of you have been in touch to ask after the article “Schools of War” that was published in the Bournemouth Echo on 10th September. The piece tells how Bournemouth welcomed pupils from Taunton School, who were evacuated from Southampton due to the German bombing campaign. The article was mentioned at the year’s annual dinner. Neil Bichard was kind enough to scan the piece to this PDF file.

Lecture Theatre Appeal

September 2014 marks the 75th Anniversary of Bournemouth School occupying the East Way site. In the intervening years much has changed, but the pressure on the school’s accommodation and funding has remained. The school is now launching a 75th Anniversary Appeal with the intention of raising £75,000 by next September to refurbish the Lecture Theatre. Any donations would be gratefully received (cheques should please be made payable to ‘Bournemouth School Fund’) and sent to the school address.

Panorama photo from 1933

Roger Shore has written to us to share a panorama photo (PDF, 2Mb) of the school from 1933. Roger writes:

My father was at Bournemouth School between 1929 and 1936. I followed in his footsteps between 1960 and 1967. There were six masters who taught both me and my father, although I can only identify five of them in that photo at present. That would be Messrs Cushion, Dodds (a truly dreadful man, as I’m sure you already either know, or will have heard!) Walker, Williamson and Wiseman. The 6th – Mr. Dixon (who went on to become deputy head) – I haven’t yet identified…

Roger is surely right that this may be of interest to some of you, although as he notes the very youngest in that photo will be at least 90 by now.

Donation overcomes duck-related delays

In February 2006 the OBA kindly donated £500 to the School to mark the OBA Centenary. The idea behind the donation was to spruce up the area in the quad outside the Headmaster’s Office. This was intended to include developing the pond with a fountain and waterfall and general maintenance to make the area a useful teaching resource.

However, wildlife had a different idea! Ducks kept arriving each year to breed in the quad, and always at an awkward time of year – namely during exam season! Indeed, during one exam the baby ducklings attempted their first flight. Unfortunately, 6 of the 8 ducklings mistook the windows of the hall for open sky and slid slowly to the ground with broken necks! These 6 ducklings served a purpose, however, and went towards feeding members of the Physics Department the following weekend…

The School took advice from the RSPCA regarding relocation of the ducks, but there were few viable options suggested. Indeed, the School could be prosecuted if the ducks were ‘interfered with’ in any way. Netting was the RSPCA’s preferred option, but the prohibitive cost ruled this out.

The quad therefore continued as an unkempt pond and the OBA donation sat in a bank account gathering interest. During the summer of 2009, the School was selected to participate in ‘Healthy Schools +’, having been the first school in Bournemouth to achieve ‘Healthy Schools’ status. This secured further funding to allow the School to address ‘health inequalities’ and create ‘legacy projects’ that would benefit students over a number of years.

As a consequence of this during the summer holiday of 2009, the pond area was completely cleared and covered in black plastic. A hard-standing for a greenhouse was created and a fence erected, to separate the area slightly from the hall. The OBA agreed that their donation could be put towards this project and a greenhouse is due to be purchased and installed in the quad. The greenhouse will have a plaque installed which will commemorate the greenhouse as ‘The Old Bournemouthians’ Centenary Greenhouse’.

The area will be used with all year groups in lessons – especially with food technology appearing on the School curriculum – and also as somewhere for younger students to pass lunchtimes in a productive manner by weeding and tending to the vegetables. They may even be able to eat the fruit of their labours in the canteen!

The School would like to thank the OBA for their kind donation and apologise for the fact that it took so long to spend the money. However, the resulting project is hopefully a fitting way to mark the OBA Centenary.