Special event to mark 125 eventful years

Gladstone Road Infant School is opening its doors to the public as part of a year-long celebration of the school’s 125th anniversary.

The school is hosting an open afternoon on Tuesday May 21, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm, where visitors will have chance to see how the school has changed and find out more about its history.

131827a'Gladstone Road Infants School 125th Anniversary feature'Current yaer 1 pupils looking forward to the schools birthday,from left,Laura Serga,Courtney Nuttall and Oliver Smith'Picture by Neil Silk'09/05/13

131827a'Gladstone Road Infants School 125th Anniversary feature'Current yaer 1 pupils looking forward to the schools birthday,from left,Laura Serga,Courtney Nuttall and Oliver Smith'Picture by Neil Silk'09/05/13

One of the items on show will be a school logbook, gives a fascinating insight into day-to-day events since the school opened on October 17, 1887.

Anne Swift, headteacher, said the book had been locked until recently, but after being opened by a local locksmith, it is now available as a precious and unique school resource.

The first entry reads: “This school was opened on Monday October 17, 1887. Owing to the overcrowded state of the Central Infants’ School, 49 children were transferred to this department during the morning; 48 children were admitted making a total of 97 children present. In the afternoon, 13 more children were admitted.

“Staff: Emma Drusland, Headmistress; Kate Watson, Assistant Headmistress; Amy Visern and Fanny Cowton, monitors.

“Mr W. Aserugh, Clerk to the Board, and Mr M. J. Whittaker, Chairman of the Board, came in during that morning.”

The book, which is a record of everyday events in the school, contains interesting details, such as how older pupils were called on to teach younger children when there weren’t enough staff.

It also gives some sad accounts of pupil illness, with outbreaks of scarlet fever and diphtheria taking a number of young lives.

The school’s first inspection was carried out on May 31, 1888, with the inspector stating: “In spite of temporary buildings most unsuitable and inconvenient, the school has made an admirable start.

“Its condition is very highly creditable to Miss Drusland and her assistants.”

The book also gives an insight into school life during the first and second world wars.

An entry made on December 17, 1915 reads: “Owing to the bombardment of the town the schools were closed on Tuesday December 15.

“One of our babies, George Barnes, of Wykeham Street, was killed in the bombardment.”

Details are also given about Gladstone Road pupils being evacuated to other areas and the school taking in pupils from places such as Hull and Hartlepool.

Mrs Swift said: “It’s a great resource for us to have in school and gives the children chance to find out more about where they live.

“So many people in town have a connection to the school. We have fourth and fifth generation families in school, which is wonderful.”

Mrs Swift added that it is interesting to see how the school has grown over the years, both in terms of the building itself and numbers of pupils.

She explained: “When the infant school was first built, it was just a hall with classrooms around it.

“There is also a separate building out in the playground, which we think was a laundry and is now a classroom.

“We now have 350 children here, in 12 classes, and 60 members of staff. It’s wonderful to see the school thrive and look at how it’s grown.”

The school is celebrating its rich history all year, and Tuesday’s open afternoon is just one of a series of special events.

In October, five special mosaics were unveiled at the school, showing a variety of scenes and symbols relating to the school as well as Scarborough itself.

Pupils dressed up in Victorian costume and found out what it was like to go to school during that era.

The youngsters are now in the process of learning a new school song, written by music teacher Sarah Stuart and drama teacher Kate Boddy.

“This is Our School” was written especially for the anniversary and tells how the school has survived two world wars.

Pupils in Year Two have also been busy designing medals, which will be sent to a company in York to be made into a commemorative medal for the school.

The winning design will appear on one side of the medal, and the other side will feature the school’s logo and motto “Learning, caring, growing together”.

Mrs Swift said: “We’re getting 500 made up, so all the children will have one.”

The school is also having plaques made up with former pupils names and dates. Enquire in school for details.

Plans are now being put together for a time capsule, which will be buried in July.

Mrs Swift is also hoping that people will bring in any memorabilia of their own, and share their stories and memories, at Tuesday’s event.

Organisers are also hoping to find the oldest former pupil and invite them to a special event. Call the school on (01723) 372566 or email headteacher@gladstoneroad-inf.n-yorks.sch.uk

• Watch a video of Anne Swift reading from the school’s original logbook at www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk