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Lydney Grammar School Magazine Christmas 1948.


At the beginning of the century the school as we know it was non-existent. Its first traces may be found in the Art Room which began in the Town Hall in 1887. The school proper was founded in January, 1903 by Lord Bledisloe, Captain Marling, and Mr. Beaumont Thomas who, with Mrs. Margaret Price, the fourth Life Governor, have given their names to the four houses.

In the previous year Mr. F. Dixon had been appointed Science Master to the Lydney Institute and he now became the first Headmaster of a school of forty four pupils and two members of staff. Fees were £6 per annum, a sum sufficient to pay the staff salaries and purchase stationery-evidently there was not such a demand for paper then as now.

The first pupil to be admitted was Horace Howells, who was at Mr. Dixon's door by 8.30 a.m. on the first morning to be sure of gaining this distinction. The second was a girl, Evelyn Woodruffe. Numbers grew steadily so that a third member of staff was appointed, and in 1907, when the Manual Training Room was added, Mr. Ellison, who has thus been associated with the school almost from its infancy, came to join us.

Outside the Senior Mistress's room hangs a record of the school's connection with Scott's expedition to the South Pole. In 1909 a contribution of £15 was sent by the school which was used for the purchase of a pony, officially named Lydney, though actually called Victor. His death is recorded by Scott in his journal.

The school's continued growth can be measured by the fact that 210 former pupils played their part in the Great War of 1914-18, and that in 1920 new buildings, which we now call the 'old' corridor, were added. The hall and , new corridor were not built till 1935 and the gymnasium three years later.

A happy memory of those earlier days is the publication of the first School Magazine in 1922 which continued to come out terminally until 1939 when wartime restrictions caused its suspension until 1947. A less attractive record reminds us that in 1923 the school became a centre for the Oxford Local Examinations-with which not even a world war could inter­fere.
After his long and faithful service to the school which had grown from such small beginnings, Mr. Dixon retired in 1932 and was succeeded as Headmaster by Mr. Burch, who remained until his death last year.

The change of name from Lydney Secondary to Lydney Grammar School, new buildings, school uniform, the introduction of rugby football followed within the next few years, and numbers steadily increased to reach their climax in the war years from 1939 on. The evacuation from Birmingham of Yardley Grammar School brought such congestion that, for a
time, pupils were able to attend school in the mornings or afternoons only. In 1943 the nursing and technical departments, which have now ceased to take pupils, were opened and, as at that time we received a four form entry each year, our numbers soon exceeded 700. A long road has been travelled since that winter morning of 1903.



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