Stoke Secondary Modern School for Girls . Briton Road,  Coventry.

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Briton Road (date of picture unknown) The wall and front of the school are visible.

 

Jan 10th 1876        Stoke Board School, Briton Road, Coventry was opened.

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Stoke Board School 1897

 

1908   Stoke district was giving concern with 3,563 places available in schools (Elementary, Senior etc) serving the area but with 3,785 children on the register.   The addition of a third department at Stoke Council School was approved and to give a small measure of relief, the Sunday school room at the Congregational Church in Walsgrave Road was hired for school purposes in 1909.

1911   Stoke Senior School had accommodation for 364.   On register 423

1912   Stoke school was enlarged with an additional department- this gave 793 new places

1931   On January 1st Stoke was reorganized into Infants, Junior, Senior Boys and Senior Girls.   At the time there were 492 girls on the roll of the Senior Girls’ School.   Some pupils were accommodated in Army huts.

1947   There were 844 children on the roll of Ravensdale School so the school was split into separate Junior and Infant departments. Numbers continued to grow and in 1951 there were 761 Juniors and 509 Infants.   This expansion put strong pressure on Stoke Secondary Schools only eased by the opening of Lyng Hall Comprehensive in 1956.

1966   Stoke Secondary Girls’ and Boys’ Schools were merged and called Stoke Secondary School.   Miss D.M. Parncutt resigned her position as head of the Girls’ School and became headmistress of the new Abbey High School, Kenilworth.   The headmaster of the Boys’ school, Mr. S.H.Bonham

1972   It was estimated that only 8% of the secondary population would be attending secondary modern schools it was decided to close Stoke and several other schools their buildings used as annexes to some of the comprehensive schools.

1975 Almost on its 100th anniversary the Infants’ School moved into the former secondary school buildings nearby.

Extracts from School Logbook
(Researched by Anne Scotcher at Coventry History Centre)

December 2nd 1912  Stoke Council Girls’ School opened as a separate department.  Ada J. Walsgrove- headteacher.  Misses Hockney, Hardwick, Sidwell, Foster, Fallows, Bailey, Wyles as staff.  Number of girls-384.

September 29th 1925  There followed a list of teachers who had to administer corporal punishment if absolutely necessary.

January 7th 1931  The school itself was reorganised, it became the Senior Girls’ Department, Stoke Council School.   Annie F. Hodierne became headmistress.  354 girls present.

October 1st 1936  Miss Hodierne retired.   Miss Hilda Peek became headmistress (she was previously head of Wheatley Street School).

September 1st 1939  All mistresses recalled from their holidays.  They  had to evacuate on Sunday September 3rd.    The 72 evacuated girls were divided into two groups.   The larger group went to Fenny Compton and the smaller group to North End, Burton Dassett.   Both are villages near Southam in Warwickshire, approximately 8 miles north of Banbury.  Gradually they drifted back to Coventry.  The children who stayed had to enrol on a voluntary basis.  Part of the school site became an air raid shelter.

April 21st 1944  The school sent a telegram to Princess Elizabeth to congratulate her on her 18th birthday.

August 14th 1944  15 evacuees from London and the south of England were admitted to the school.

September 5th 1950  Miss Dorothy M. Parncutt became headmistress (510 girls on roll at that time).  On retiring, Miss Peek expressed a wish that Miss Parncutt would be as happy as she herself had been in the post.

April 9th 1965  Miss Parncutt left the school to become headmistress of Abbey high School, Kenilworth.   The girls presented her with a picnic basket.   Mrs McDermott became acting head.

1st September 1966 to 13th July 1972  Transition period for closure of the school and the transition of staff and pupils to Ernsford Grange Comprehensive School.

Miss D M Parncutt (Headteacher)

Miss Parncutt was appointed head of Stoke Girls’ in July 1952.   She had been at Churchfield High School for the previous three years.  Her father, Mr J. Parncutt was the former head teacher of Binley Junior School.

She resigned her position in 1965 when the Boys’ and Girls’ schools merged and became head of the new Abbey High School, Kenilworth.

An article in the Coventry Telegraph in 2002 mentioned Miss Parncutt, then aged 86, living in Ford’s Hospital (a historic alms house founded in 1592 for ‘older retired persons, living in Coventry and of limited income’).

She died in 2006.

She was one of the ‘five inspirational Coventry teachers who helped shaped education in the city’ in a Coventry Evening Telegraph article in 2015. Read the article.

 

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Fords Hospital

‘Who’s Who’ from Coventry Evening Telegraph 1960s

Members of Staff

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Staff of June 1962

Back row-L to R  Mr Griffiths  Miss Fielding? Mrs Hill Mr Longman Mrs Butcher  Miss Harris Miss Woodford Mrs Smith

Middle row- L to R Mrs Law ?  Mrs Frank  Miss Jones  Miss Rose  Mrs Adams ?  Mrs Williams ?   Mr Tingle

Front row L to R Miss Mansfield ? Mrs Green Mrs Clarke Miss Abbot Miss Parncutt Mrs Hutton Miss Barker ? Mrs Hanney

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Staff of 1965

2008 Interview with Mr Griffiths (Geography) and Miss Harris (Music) (now Mrs Griffiths)

Mr Griffiths taught Geography at Stoke until the school amalgamated with the boys’ school in 1966. He described his time at Stoke as happy because he met his wife there and he enjoyed working for Miss Parncutt.   After one term at the new ‘mixed’ school, he left to become Head of Geography at Coundon Court School.   He retired in 1986.  He is still active, playing badminton several times a week and enjoying good holidays in their caravan.

Mrs Griffiths (formerly Miss Harris) ran the choir at Stoke and in retirement is still very active in the music sphere.   She accompanies a number of choirs, a Women’s institute Choir and has also played for the Coventry Male Voice Choir.

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Mrs Myers (Physical Education) also went to Coundon Court School in 1966.   She left there after a while to become a Deputy Head.

Miss Rose (Religious Studies 1958-1964

Miss Margaret Rose was a pupil at Stoke Girls’ from 1948-1956, becoming Head Girl.   She was the first pupil to go on to teacher training.   This was made possible by Miss Parncutt who introduced the opportunity for pupils to stay on and take G.C.E. courses.

After leaving Stoke she became Head of Religious Studies at Barker Butts School which eventually became a mixed school.   She describes teaching boys for the first time as ‘quite an experience’ but very rewarding.

She continued to teach in Coventry through all the transition into the Comprehensive system, a traumatic time for staff and pupils.

She took early retirement in 1993 and has been a churchwarden for ten years.   She has also fulfilled a long-held ambition to study art and now runs two art classes for the older generation.

She is still in contact with teachers from Stoke, Norma Law and Anita Jones.

She looks forward to meeting everyone at any future reunions.

 

Marguerite Green later Morgan (English)

A personal tribute to the work of this lady at Stoke School appears later in this document but a detailed history of her life can be found in her biography ‘Part of the Main’ published in 1990.

 

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In a self-published pamphlet ‘An education for the Future’ she advocated a holistic approach to teaching and learning, one which defies compartmentalisation and inspires a unity of knowledge.  She held out the imagination as the prime tool for learning, seeing the work of the classroom as 'adventures in discovery’. This ethos underpinned all her teaching and one from which all of us at Stoke benefitted.

Marguerite was an active member of the Communist Party and became a member of the Coventry Peace Council.  In 1964, after her teaching career in Britain ended, she moved to the German Democratic Republic to train teachers of English.

A complete biography of Marguerite by her son Graham Stevenson can be found here.   This biography tells us that Marguerite was born in Streatham, London in 1915 and died in Tywyn, Wales in 2001.    Her first teaching appointment was at Stoke and before her arrival, Miss Parncutt had all the staff together and warned them that a Communist was arriving to join the staff and they should beware her influence!   There is much more detail about her life on the web-site address given above.

 

PUPILS

 

Stoke Secondary Modern School 1924 (probably the whole school)

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2G  1958

BACK ROW  L to R  Sonia Churchill  Janet Stevens  Sandra Davies  Wendy Prothero  Dilys Roberts  Linda Reeves  Heather Jessop  Susan Cater  Pat Naul  Pamela Colclough  Janet Thomas  Dianne Tippen  Christine Follows  Annette Greatorex  Marsha Godwin  Jennifer Perring  Sandra Morgan  Glenys Pountney  Diane Millard  Julie Smallwood  Sylvia Swann  Joy Girling  Suzanne Hopkins  Linda Simpson  Susan Peters  Vivian Nelmes  Lena Boundy  Jane Hammon

FRONT ROW  L to R  Marlene Tyrell  Myra Webster (form prefect)  Wendy Barfoot  Valerie Clamp Denise Francis (vice form prefect) Sheila Jeynes

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1960   (4th year Commercial)

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Badminton Club 1961

Centre standing   Jill Hewitt

Front row L to R:

  Pat Morgan  Myra Webster  Wendy Prothero  Brenda Morgan Julie Walker Susan Corden

Lilleshall

Many girls enjoyed a few days at Lilleshall, Shropshire (now the National Sports Centre) playing hockey and netball.

 

 

Coventry Evening Telegraph 1958

 

Lilleshall Sports Trip 1959/60

CLASS OF 1962

In 1962 a group of girls from Stoke Secondary Modern School, Briton Road, Coventry took their ‘O’ Levels and left school.   They owed a great deal to the dedication, example and skilled teaching of one particular teacher, Marguerite Green (later Morgan), who opened their eyes to the world and the possibilities available to them.   She gave them an interest in literature, theatre and the arts, helped to enlighten their views on politics and the world, encouraged their critical faculties, and made them proud of their status as women.

 

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Back row  L to R    Marsha Griffith  Mary Blunn  Pauline Drew  Jennifer Perring  Dianne Tippen  Valerie Lester  Susan Peters  Anne Owen

Front Row L to R    Pamela Hill  Madeline Cooke  Noreen Pears  Marguerite Green  Dorothy Spencer  Avril Lydiate

 

 

REUNIONS

 

On the 1st June 1996 a group of seven (of the eight then known of) ex-pupils had a special dinner with Marguerite to thank her for her positive effect on their lives.   It was a moving occasion and they were glad that they were able to show their appreciation before Marguerite’s death some years later.

 

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2006

Pam Hill (now Garner) from Canada, Valann Lester from Argentina and Pauline Drew (now Cheeseman) from London decided to try to locate other members of the class of ’62 They advertised in the Coventry Telegraph and Rugby Advertiser.   They not only located the rest of the class of ’62 but were fortunate enough to find other school friends of the same year-group who had either left school at an earlier stage or were in different classes.   Ten more names were added to the ‘list’.   Two more ex-pupils got in touch who were in different years but remembered some of the faces in the photograph. A reunion was held at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry on Saturday 5th August 2006 at which the following 14 ‘old’ friends were present.

Pauline Cheeseman (Drew)

Gillian Mulrooney (Hayes)

Madeline Cole (Cooke)

Avril Osborne (Lydiate)

Jennifer Evans (Perring)

Patricia Rice (McGhee)

Pamela Garner (Hill)

Dianne Richards (Tippen)

Lesley Jones (Cowlishaw)

Anne Scotcher (Owen)

Valann Lester

Anne Tilley(Scott)

Janice Mathias (Palmer)

Dorothy West (Spencer)

The following were unable to attend:   Mary Marshall (Blunn), Noreen Bowden (Pears), Susan Hale (Peters), Jacquie Meffen (Warnock) and in spirit, Marsha Griffith who sadly died of cancer at the age of 42.

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Back row    L to R   Pat  Avril  Val  Pam  Janice  Jennifer  Lesley  Dianne  Dorothy

Front row   L to R   Anne  Pauline  Gillian  Madeline  Anne

2008

 

A reunion of sixteen ‘girls’ from the school met at Brandon Hall, Coventry on 10th August.

Pleasingly, more people had heard about the group and expressed a wish to come.   There was quite an international feel because Jacquie Meffen (Warnock) came from Canada as did Pamela Garner (Hill) and Valann Lester travelled from Argentina.   Seven people still live in the Coventry area, but the others are spread all around the U.K.

 

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Back row LtoR Pauline Anne Jacquie Jennifer Dianne Maureen Irene Valann Lesley Pat Dorothy Pam

Front row LtoR Madeline Janice Gillian Anne

New names from last reunion   Jacqueline (Warnock) Meffen, Maureen (Jensen) Poole, Irene (McCartney) Clements.

2010

On July 11th a reunion was held at Brandon Hall Hotel, Coventry.   18 former pupils attended and, for the first time, three members of staff, Mr Griffiths (Geography), Mrs Griffiths ,formerly Miss Harris (Music) and Miss Rose (RE).   Goodwill messages were received from New Zealand and Canada.

Back Row  (LtoR) Dorothy West  Valann Lester  Mr Griffiths  Pamela Garner  Anne Scotcher  Dianne Richards  Patricia Rice  Maureen Poole  Jennifer Evans

Middle Row  Monica Pickering  Tricia Forton  Mrs Griffiths  Sheila Torrens  Irene Clements  Pauline Cheeseman  Dilys Lees

Front Row  Jane Hirons  Miss Rose  Janice Matthias  Gill Mulrooney  Anne Tilley

 

2012

On 12th August 2012 nineteen past pupils and two teachers of Stoke Secondary Modern Girls’ School met for a reunion at Brandon Hall Hotel, Coventry.

Those attending were Maureen Poole (Jenson), Patricia Rice (McGhee), Anne Tilley (Scott), Anne Scotcher (Owen), Irene McCartney (Clements), Janice Mathias (Palmer), Dianne Richards (Tippen), Monica Pickering (Green), Jacquie Warnock (Meffen), Dorothy West (Spencer), Lesley Jones (Cowlishaw), Pauline Cheeseman (Drew), Pamela Garner (Hill), Gillian Mulrooney (Hayes), Valann Lester, Jane Hirons (Hammon), Christine Ivers (Sumner), James Griffiths (Geography teacher) and Brenda Griffiths (Music teacher).

Pamela and Jacquie came from Canada and Valann from Argentina.

Greetings were sent from Mary Marshall (Blunn) in New Zealand and Margaret Glover (Mason) in Canada.

It was a very happy and successful occasion.   Flowers and thanks were presented to the organizers, Maureen, Anne and Trish.  Also to Dorothy West who created the school web-site. The next reunion is planned for two years’ time.  Those interested in coming should contact Dorothy via the website.

 





 

2014

 

A reunion was held at Brandon Hall hotel, Coventry on 17th August 2014.  Seventeen 'old girls' attended: Anne Scotcher, Anne Tilley, Jacquie Meffen, Jane Hirons, Janice Matthias, Chris Ivers, Jennifer Evans, Maureen Poole, Monica Pickering, Pam Garner, Pam Startin, Pauline Cheeseman, Trish Rice, Valann Lester, Dianne Richards, Dorothy West and Gill Mulrooney.  Two former teachers also attended, James Griffiths and Brenda Griffiths.

 

The sun shone as all the guests arrived, many having travelled great distances to take part. The whole event was beautifully arranged by Maureen Poole and her aides, Anne Tilley and Trish Rice.

 

 

2016

 

A reunion was held at Brandon Hall hotel, Coventry on 31st July 2016.  Sixteen 'old girls' attended: Anne Scotcher, Anne Tilley, Jacquie Meffen, Jane Hirons, Janice Matthias, Chris Ivers, Jennifer Evans, Maureen Poole, Monica Pickering, Pam Garner, Pauline Cheeseman, Trish Rice, Valann Lester, Dianne Richards, Dorothy West and Gill Mulrooney.  Two former teachers also attended, James Griffiths and Brenda Griffiths.

 

 

 

Pauline Cheeseman who organised the event was thanked and presented with a bouquet of flowers.

 

2017

 

 

A reunion was held on July 30th 2017 at Brandon Hall Hotel, Coventry.
Left to Right: Pauline Cheeseman, Anne Scotcher, Maureen Poole, Jane Hirons, Gill Mulrooney, Jan Beach, Dorothy West, Dianne Richards, Monica Pickering, Jenny Evans, Valann Lester, Trish Rice, Anne Tilley, Griff and Brenda Griffiths.
We were very pleased to welcome Jan who came for the first time, and also to celebrate the recent marriage of Pauline.
The sun shone, the food was delicious and the occasion, joyous.

Acknowledgements

I am grateful for information and pictures from Rayanne Byatt of the Coventry History Centre, Pauline Cheeseman, Ann Divine, James and Brenda Griffiths, Jane Hammon, Maureen Poole, Dianne Richards, Anne Scotcher and Rita Titcumb.

This archive is by no means complete and I would be pleased to include any further resources you may like to send me.

Dorothy West (Spencer)                7 August 2017