hartlepool history logo

From Log Book Graythorp School

Notes taken from Log Book held in Durham County Record Office- these notes illustrate a school with a massive community spirit.

On 26th January 1926, the school was opened by Durham County Council and 77 pupils were admitted by John Henry Fenny the headmaster. A week later there were 82 children and they were organised as follows;

Class 1 Standards 4,5,6,7  taught by Mr Fenny

Class 2 Standards 1,2 and 3 by Miss Toller
Class 3  Infants taught by Mrs Smith

An inspector's report of 1926 states 'This school only opened 7 months ago and the atmosphere and tone are already such as to deserve commendation and warrant expectation of a progressive and successful future'

In 1928 the two brightest pupils, Arthur Fenny (b. 1916) and Ronald Walker(b.1917) were awarded junior scholarships to Henry Smith School Hartlepool with free education. Throughout the history of the school, there are similar references to a number of pupils being likewise successful. A further inspection in 1928 commented on standards in the school which 'serves a somewhat isolated community'. When the top girls left in December 1928, they were presented with a new 1928 penny and an orange each.

In July 1929, the Education Committee decided on a suggestion of the board of education that scholars over 11 should be removed from Seaton Snook school and accommodation be found for them at Graythorp School. In August 1929 this happened and 14 children were moved.

By 1930 the school had 116 pupils and in July of that year, school was closed as children went to the Aerodrome to watch the Prince of Wales leave by RAF plane for London, many having already watched him play golf at Seaton the previous evening.

In 1938 gas masks were given to Graythorp residents. In October of 1938, the Seaton Snook children were brought by Bee Line bus to Graythorp School and Seaton Snook school closed. Furniture was transferred by 'motor lorry'

in June 1939 some children attended North Seaton School Camp in Northumberland and were taken by United Bus. One girl returned to be taken to Scarlet Fever Hospital.

On September 18th 1939, 30 evacuees and 2 teachers were billeted in the village FROM St Patrick's School Sunderland. By October 9th, nine had left.  

On November 1st permission was granted by Sunderland Education Authority for the evacuees to have a holiday as it was All Saints's Day.

On a very snowy 18th January 1940, teacher Vera Brooks from Coundon arrived at school at 11.30 a.m. She had travelled by bus from Bishop Auckland to Middlesbrough but as there was no Transporter Road bus to Hartlepool, she then had to go by bus to Stockton, then by train from Stockton to West Hartlepool, by bus from West to Seaton and had then finally walked to Graythorp (how many would do that these days ?!) 

By April 1940, only 4 of the Sunderland evacuees remained. On 15th July, 1940 windows were broken in an air raid and 24 high-explosive bombs were dropped near school making a large crater near boiler house.

IN RED CAPITALS 7th April 1941 the school was made useless because of a mine dropped by enemy parachute, 30 houses and the parish hall severely damaged. Much of school stock and fittings useless.

April 28th 1941 children taken by Beeline bus to High Clarence School the 8 Seaton Snook children being collected first and then the 35 Graythorp children. Various raids over next months and intricate timetable to accomodate all children.

July 8th 1942 High Clarence School damaged by enemy action.

June 29th, 1942 Headteacher Mr Fenny absent with an infected boil caused by a fly bite. On 23rd July he had an operation and subsequently died on Aug 2nd (not clear if because of the original infection but seems likely)

August 1942 hut being erected at Graythorp and until  school is ready, children being taught at no.10 Graythorp rented by Durham Council and Seaton Snook Mission Hall.

September 1945- new building ready and 56 on roll.

On 17th July 1948 the first PTA meeting was held and over the next years of the school, this was a very active group and numerous and varied activities took place over the final years of the school. From 1948, the headteacher began to take older pupils round the nearby Gray’s Shipyard and this seems to have happened annually. presumably many of the pupils would soon work there.

In September 1957, the school closed, the children were sent to Haverton Hill or High Clarence and Mr Jewett, the Head, was appointed headteacher of Roseberry Junior School Billingham.

Related items :