A new era for Baysgarth School
Baysgarth School, under its many names, has been at the heart of Barton and its residents for 86 years writes Joanne Marwood. Thousands of children have fidgeted whilst being measured for their uniform, with girls folding the waistband of their skirt to make it shorter, and boys scuffing their shoes before the first day of school is out! Thousands of notes have been passed in class, sandwiches hastily unwrapped at lunchtime, and friendships cemented through the camaraderie of hockey matches against rival schools, dreaded Maths tests and dreams of the future.
The new school buildings on Barrow Road have risen like a phoenix from the ashes over the past several months, and the corridors and classrooms are finally ready to welcome eager young minds for years to come. Taking a trip back in time, it seems like only yesterday that the “Lower School” on Caistor Road was closed and demolished in the early 2000s. Step further into the past and recall the merger of Barton Grammar School (on Caistor Road) and Beretun Secondary Modern School (on Barrow Road) in 1975. Some may even have faint memories of the school first opening in 1931 as Barton-on-Humber Secondary School!
From its early days known as the “Grammar School” in the mid-1930s, the school welcomed boys and girls who passed the 11+ exam, with those who didn’t pass the “scholarship” remaining in either the Council or Church Schools until school-leaver age, when many young adults began to learn a trade. When Beretun Secondary Modern School opened its doors, pupils left their Primary School to join the masses attending this new school on Barrow Road, with the more academic students transferring to Barton Grammar School on Caistor Road.
This division naturally fostered a rivalry between the two schools and its pupils, which only ceased when both schools merged in 1975 and named Baysgarth School, with the buildings colloquially split into the “Upper School” and the “Lower School”, linked by a path alongside the shared sports field.
The new intake of 11-year-olds, from primary schools in Barton and the surrounding villages, were housed in the Lower School (the original Grammar School buildings) for their first year. For new students, accustomed to their familiar primary school environment where lessons were all based in one room with the same teacher, a transition to the Lower School was often overwhelming! The cavernous school hall with its dark-stained wooden floorboards, creaking under new shoes, led to long corridors and the infamous Science classrooms in the lower “dungeons”. Clutching their new bags and books, and conspicuous in fresh uniforms, students were placed into one of six houses – Ancholme, Bardney, Lindsey, Newton, Treece and Wold.
The houses were named after a combination of influential people from the town and school’s history, and local connections. “Treece” house was named after British poet and writer Henry Treece, who once worked as a teacher at the Grammar School. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Air Force as an Intelligence Officer, and when the war ended he returned to his teaching post and progressed to Senior English Master. He also continued to write and contributed broadcasts to BBC radio. Whilst teaching at the Grammar School, one of his pupils was Ted Lewis, author of Jack’s Return Home (subsequently retitled Get Carter). Recognising Lewis’ talent for writing and art, Henry Treece encouraged him to pursue his dreams, so he enrolled at Hull Art School, later becoming an animation specialist and writing nine published novels.
Many happy school day memories are recalled – the Grammar School hymn, “Keep Faith”, which was sung to herald the end of term and the start of the holidays; cricket matches with the teachers in the summer sunshine, and more recently, the annual talent show with staff showcasing their singing and dancing skills!
The closure of the Lower School left just the annexe on the Caistor Road site and the other buildings on Barrow Road to house pupils from Year 7 to the Year 13. A move away from the house system meant that pupils fell into smaller form groups for morning and afternoon registration. For creative students, a purpose-built drama studio and large school hall gave them the perfect platform to hone their talents, and for students keen on Science, laboratories were ready and waiting to create all manner of experiments. Much excitement was felt when the Van de Graaff generator was installed in the Physics classroom!
The new Baysgarth School is built on the existing site of the original school on Barrow Road, with brand new facilities including a “Sports Village” with skate park – a far cry from the original sports hall and gym recalled by those who remembered their PE kit! If you are interested in exploring the new school, an Open Day is being held on Saturday, October 7. You won’t be guaranteed a trip down memory lane, but this new era of Baysgarth School is certainly an opportunity for future generations to carve their own paths, make their own memories and follow their dreams. Take a look at some of the old class photos from decades past – if you can spot family, friends, neighbours or even yourself, we’d love to hear your memories of school days!