In the early 1800's there were no state run primary schools in England, and only a few schools run by religious charities. The schools were run mainly by older children teaching the juniours to minimize the costs. In 1833 Parliment provided it's first grant to education, but it was not until 1860 the Education department was set up. In 1870, despite the work of the church schools, there were still 10,000 parishes without a school, and England was falling behind other contries in education. In 1880 education was made compulsory for all children under 12, and in 1891 elementary education ws made free.
St Huberts School on Hubert Street and Norfolk House School on Queens Terrace. (Photoes by G C Waters)
The first schools in Withernsea were small private ventures, dependent on fee-paying parents and religious subscribers. Miss Sherwood Shaw and Miss Violet Barnett ran St Hubert's School of Music in Hubert Street. There was a small school at the corner of High Brighton Street, and another school in Princes Avenue called The Holderness College.
There was a school, thought to be a church foundation, at the home of Mr. and Mrs J. W. Lunn at Greythorn in Hull Road. This school. later known as The National School, would later be considered for the site of the new Board School.
In 1875 the National School was considered for the site of the new Board School, however it belonged to the church and the deed specifically stated "Such a school to be always in union with and conducted upon the principles of the Church of England". The Department of Education were not impressed with the idea, and deemed the school in a poor state of repair and in any case to small for the expected number of pupils. In August 1876 a site on Hull road belonging to Mr J.C.M Harrison was selected for the new school. The land was purchased at 3/3d per square yard, a total of £276. Mr Webster the architect estimated the cost of the school building to be £1,400. Owthorne Board School, comprising of one large classroom, a Board Room and the Head's room, was opened on the 22nd April 1878 at a total cost of £2000.
Mr Joseph Sissons was appointed as the first headmaster and remained in charge of the school until 1913. Miss Theresa Taffinder of the Queens Hotell was appointed as Sewing Mistress. So with 2 members of staff and about 100 pupils, Owthorn Board School opened on the 22nd April 1878.
By 1893 there were 210 children attending school. The school had been built to provide for 150 places, and was no longer big enough, so extra rooms were added on. Major improvements were made in 1906 when a new department was errected. By August 1907 all 224 children were adequatly housed.
In January 1913 Joseph Sissons retired after 35 years service. Mr Durrant took over as the new Headmaster of the school which was renamed "Withernsea Council School". Between 1913 and 1915 a new assembly hall, cookery room, teacher's room and two more classrooms were built. The staffing situation was quite good with 6 members of staff and a population of 287 pupils. Mr Durrant continued to improve the school. He got extra staff and managed to include cookery and gardening in the curriculum and extended music lesons.
Cookery class in the Domestic Science Centre about 1930.
Cookery classes began in 1915 under the direction of Mrs Ingleton. The girls enjoyed the subject for a full day each week.
A corner of the School Gardens.
The grounds was initially in a bad state for growing crops.
Mr Durrant supervised the boys clearing the site of weeds and rubish and planting their first crop of potatoes.
Front of the Owthorn Board School which became the Withernsea Council School, then the Withernsea Infant School, and is today part of the Withernsea Junior School. (photo Mr G. C. Waters)
By 1921 the school had 10 classes and an evening school. The school was again over crowded, and the top two years had to share the hall as their classroom. Plans for a new Withernsea Central school were passed in 1920. The school opened in two wooden ex army huts in June 1921. These temporary buildings were to last for 13 years until the new school was completed.
Withernsea Central School 1934.
The new school building opened on the 12th July 1934. Originally the school had 4 classrooms along each wing with a science lab and admin rooms in the middle. Mr Durrant moved there with two top classes and their teachers, and Miss Scott took care of the old part of the school which became Withernsea Junior School.
Dining Hall of the new Central School.
In 1948 Withernsea Central School was renamed the Withernsea High School, catering for 11+ children from Withernsea and the surrounding villages.
A typical Class Room
Withernsea High School about 1960 (Picture by John A Sellers)
Withernsea High School Gym about 1955 (picture from Tim Nuttall)
Go to pictures of Churces and Chapels