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Ross-on-Wye

The Old Grammar School



The Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The back of the Old Grammar School in Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

These are a few pictures of what was Ross-on-Wye Grammar School.

Part of this is now The Larruperz Centre which opened in June 1990.



The Girls Entrance Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The girls entrance to the Old Grammar School
(Click for a larger image)
The Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The cookery entrance to the Old Grammar School
(Click for a larger image)




The Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The front of the Old Grammar School in Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)
The Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The boys entrance to the Old Grammar School
(Click for a larger image)


Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The start of the path by the Old Grammar School
(Click for a larger image)
Old Grammar School Ross-on-Wye
The path by the Old Grammar School
(Click for a larger image)

The Grammar School was founded in 1902 because of the Education Act and, once fund were raised, the first stone was laid by Sir James Rankin M.P. on the 8the May 1911 and opened on 20th January 1912 (which was a Saturday) with the pupils started the following Monday. It was originally known as Ross Secondary School but was changed in 1916 because the public considered the 'Secondary' part implied that it was 'second class'.

The Grammar School and the Secondary Modern School (called Overross School) were merged in 1979, at the end of the summer term, meaning that the 400 children at the Grammar School and the 800 at Overross School now attended a single comprehensive school called the John Kyrle High School. The John Kyrle High School continued to use the Grammar School site and thus had an 'upper' and 'lower' site with children having to walk between them to lessons.

In Auguest 1979, and only three weeks after the merger, the roof of the Grammer School, now the Lower School, was very badly damaged by fire. Below are two photos taken at the time.

Grammar School Fire
The fire at the Grammar School
[many thanks to Richard Mayo]
(Click for a larger image)
Ross Grammar School Fire
The fire from another angle
[many thanks to Richard Mayo]
(Click for a larger image)

When I went for my first induction day/visit to John Kyrle High School before leaving primary school, we were shown around the Grammar School site as it had various computer labs full of BBC Model B Micro Computers, Commodore C-16's and Commodore PET's. The BBC B's where state-of-the-art at the time and the PET's where 'retro' even then.

Then in the summer of 1997, just before I joined JKHS, the lower site was shut and the Lower School was opened at the John Kyrle High School upper site.

Grammar School Ross-on-Wye (27-2-06)
The weather vane on the Grammar School dated to mark the building of the school
(Click for a larger image)
Grammar School Ross-on-Wye (27-2-06)
The Grammar School bell that was used to mark the start of the school day
(Click for a larger image)


The Larruperz

The Larruperz were a group of young men who banded together in 1921 to try to give a Civic Hall to the community of Ross-on-Wye and local area. They raised funds in whatever way they could and by the mid-thirties they bought a piece of land to build on. Unfortunately, World War II and changes in circumstances after the war meant the land was sold. Then 55 years on, part of the old Grammar School was bought and converted and ownership held on a 99 year lease by the Ross Town Council on behalf of the town. It is self-funding charity and is therefore fulfilling the main objectives which the Larruperz set out to achieve themselves by helping to develop facilities for the community of both Ross and the local area.

In June 2000 the Larruperz celebrated it's 10th anniversary. As part of this a couple of volunteers researched the history of the Larruperz. More information



John Kyrle High School

Ledbury Road
John Kyrle High School Ross-on-Wye
The John Kyrle High School on Ledbury Road
(Click for a larger image)

The John Kyrle High School was opened in 1953 and was Herefordshire's first secondary modern school and was known as the "Overross School", "Secondary Modern" or "Ross County Secondary School". A million bricks were supposedly used to build it and had the biggest hall in the town thus adding greatly to the facilities. The Secondary Modern merged with the Grammar School in 1979 and this then became the John Kyrle High School.

The badge of the JKHS seems to be an amalgamation of the Kyrle coat of arms and the Ross coat of arms. When I was there, it had a hedgehog on the top but that, sadly, seems to have been recently dropped.

John Kyrle High School badge (9-3-06)
The John Kyrle High School badge from 1992
(Click for a larger image)
Ross County Secondary School badge (9-3-06)
The Ross County Secondary School badge from around 1955/1956
(Click for a larger image)

The motto for John Kyrle High School was "Carpe Diem" taken from the latin for "Sieze the day" and the motto for the Ross County Secondary School was "Esteem thy precious time" which was a quote taken from the Sundial that is on Wilton Bridge.

During the 80's and 90's the school uniform was a blazer with the badge on the top pocket, a white shirt, a grey jumper with the badge sewn into it, a red, white and black tie and black trousers and shoes. Since then (around 1996 I think) the uniform was changed to a black embelmed sweatshirt, a red embelmed polo shirt, black trousers and shoes making the uniform apparently much more practical but still very distinctive.

John Kyrle High School tie (9-3-06)
My John Kyrle High School tie from around 1992

When at the school, I was told that it was also designed with conflict in mind and that the main corridors, and rooms off it, were built in such a way that it could be used as a hospital and, if required, and the main hall could relatively easily have another floor added to make better use of the space. We were also told that the large concrete area outside the front of the school covered a large water tank designed to complement the water tank in tank meadow should the need arise. I was once sent down in the basement under the clock tower to collect some equipment and I seem to remember that there was a door leading in the direction of the paved area but I never saw beyond the door although I would be interested to see if this information could be validated.

During the seven years I was at the school, the clock on the clock-tower never worked correctly and was noted as being right about once or twice a week as although the hands moved, they seemed to have a life of their own.

John Kyrle High School Ross-on-Wye
The Upper School at John Kyrle High School
(Click for a larger image)
John Kyrle High School Ross-on-Wye
The Lower School at John Kyrle High School
(Click for a larger image)

The three storey, lower school part of the John Kyrle High School was opened in the summer of 1987 (the year I started there) with the lower floor being a central assembly room with two science labs, a home economics (cookery) lab and Mr. Rees office (at the front) who was the head of the lower school.

The first floor was used as tutor/registration rooms for 1st year students in the mornings and after the lunch break. The rest of the time, they were open plan maths and special needs classrooms with Mr. Herbert's office (who was head of the first year at that time) and in the centre was the library (but could not be accessed from that floor).

The second floor was used for many things including 2nd year tutor/registration, English, Classics, History and Geography with the central access to the lower school library. There was a word processing area at the top of the stairs (Amstrad PCW9512's as I remember but I never used them). Mr. Deneen had his office on that floor and he was head of the 2nd year in 1991.



The British and Foreign School

Wye Street
British and Foreign School Ross-on-Wye
The British and Foreign School
(Click for a larger image)

The British and Foreign School was established in 1837 to educate the children of Ross and it was a great success. At its peak there were around 300 pupils being educated there and the level which they attained depended on their, or their families, ability to pay.

One of the people involved in the creation of the school was James Wallace Richard Hall and Nathaniel Morgan became a patron too.



It was then closed by 1872 due to the Governments introduction of compulsory school Boards. It was then used until 1874 as a Board School and then the pupils were moved to a new school in Cantilupe Road (this building has since been demolished). In recent history the school has been used for private uses and so is closed to the public.

British and Foreign School Ross-on-Wye
The British and Foreign School
(Click for a larger image)

The National School

St. Mary's Street / The Church Yard
The old National School Ross-on-Wye
The old National School
(Click for a larger image)

The old National School opened in 1806 and closed around 1872 at about the same time as the British and Foreign School, due to the Government reforms at that time.

It had two large class rooms and had about 110 pupils between the ages of six to thirteen. The curriculum was based around 'the basic essentials' and, being as this was a church school, religion. The charges were much lower than the British and Foreign School.

From soon after the building was built, in the cellar was the Savings Bank and that remained even after the school closed.

The school was built on the site of a short lived Grammar School that was there during the time of John Kyrle.



Wye Street Schools

During the 1850's, along with the British and Foreign School, there was a private school on Wye Street for boys and girls who were taught in separate classrooms.

At the end of the nineteenth century, even after all the government reforms, there were still two private schools being run in Wye Street.



The Infants School

Old Gloucester Road

This was the site of the infants school until around 1889. At the time it was only a single storey building and the building was extended upwards after that time.

There are few records related to this school and how it was started. There are two possibilities about its inception, one is that a infants school in the Church moved here and the second is that it was a infants school setup by the Quakers. Neither are backed up by conclusive proof but both have details that could be linked to the site. The school was definitely present in 1835 and is mentioned in directories of the time.

The Infants School Ross-on-Wye
The old Infants School in Old Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)


The Blue Coat or Walter Scott Charity School

Old Gloucester Road

The school was originally founded by Dr. Whiting in the early part of the 18th century and was further endowed by Lord Scudamore.

It had then became run down until the school was fully re-established on December 4th, 1798 due to Walter Scott. Walter Scott had died a few years earlier and being as he had no dependents and he was educated there, he gave his fortune to the school in which he felt indebted for his education. It was then renamed to the 'Walter Scott Charity School' to commemorate this.

Walter Scott Charity School Ross-on-Wye
What was once the Walter Scott Charity School
(Click for a larger image)

Once the School closed the building was, at one point, used as an auction room. This then ceased and it was disused for at least 10 years although a planning application made in August 1985 to turn it into a restaurant or a similar establishment.

In late 2009 a new planning application was made to turn it into offices. Since then the building has been restored on behalf of Kirintec and this was completed during March 2010 when it became their offices and was named Walter Scott House.


Walter Scott House
Walter Scott House
(Click for a larger image)

The exterior has been restored with gold leaf being added to pick out the text of the dedication stone. Much of the interior has been replaced due to the dilapidated nature of the building although as many original features have been kept as possible.


The Board School

Cantilupe Road
The Board School Ross-on-Wye
The remains of the Board School in Cantilupe Road
(Click for a larger image)

The Board School was purpose built in 1874 and then further extended in 1889. After the extension, infants were taught here and this led to the closure of the infants school in Old Gloucester Road.

In 1889 the school had a regular attendance of 202 boys, 190 girls and 186 infants.

The schooling was affordable and had a broad curriculum covering among many other subjects reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, book-keeping, physiology, drawing, science and music, it covered most of the things that are on the current curriculum but without the levels of detail.

By the end of the 2nd world war it had been renamed to the 'Council School' and it was not able to cope with the number of pupils and the requirements put upon it, so in 1953 a new Secondary School was built on the edge of the town. It then became the towns primary school until it became "seriously unsafe" and was immediately closed in 1968 and was pulled down in 1969. This resulted the classes having to be spread around other buildings in the town and some classes even had to travel to Hereford to use rooms there. This all resulted in the building of the Ashfield Park School which opened in 1970.

The site now has a housing development and the town library on it. The only remaining evidence of the school are the stone pillars that used to support the fence across the front of the school, as seen in the picture.



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[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]






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