OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 24, 2016.
Webpage updated: July 10, 2017

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EDUCATION IN OLD DEVONPORT

DEVONPORT HIGH SCHOOL FOR BOYS

Mr Alonzo J Rider was the Headmaster of Stoke Public Higher School, housed at the time in Keppel Place.  In 1878 he and his wife were apparently reprimanded by the secretary to the committee of management of the School, a Major-General L Tripe, which it is thought gave rise to Mr Rider's dream of running his own school.

That dream was realised in 1895 when the ailing Devonport, Stoke and Stonehouse High School for Girls went into voluntary liquidation and vacated an imposing Gothic building at the top of Albert Road, Stoke.  It is said that the building was purchased on behalf of Mr Rider for the sum of 3,500.   The new Naval, Civil Service and Commercial School opened there at 9am on January 16th 1896.  Its lofty classrooms were thoroughly ventilated, heated and completely furnished and the School had its own chemical laboratory equipped at Mr Rider's personal expense.  It was renamed Devonport High School for Boys shortly afterwards.

Almost from the start Mr Rider acquired a 11 acre site at Keyham Barton for use as a playing field.  Cricket and soccer were played on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.  A second field was purchased at Penlee, Milehouse, and finally Mr Rider bought Greatlands at Milehouse.

The school day in those days lasted from 9am until 4.45pm with just one break, from 12.30 to 2pm for lunch.  Lessons lasted for 45 minutes each except for the last period of the day, which was one hour.  There was no school on a Sunday although the staff still had to supervise the boarders.  The school cap was dark blue.

Following the Education Act of 1902, which gave local authorities the powers to acquire educational establishments, Devonport Borough Council's Education Committee decided to purchase Devonport High School for Boys so that it should became the Council's Municipal Secondary School.  For the princely sum of 6,000 it was transferred to the Devonport Local Education Authority (i.e. the Council) on June 18th 1906.

Mr Rider retired at the end of 1906 after 43 years of being associated with schools in the Borough.  There was a presentation in the Town Hall, such was the importance of the event.  He was succeeded by Mr A Treseden.

During the period between the wars there must have been some pressure on space at the School as on February 25th 1937 the Plymouth Council's Parks Committee were requested to transfer Pounds House to the Education Committee for the use of Devonport High School for Boys.

During the Second World War the School was evacuated to Penzance in Cornwall.  Those who remained in Plymouth joined with boys from Sutton High School for Boys to form the Emergency High School.  When it returned to Plymouth in September 1945 it was to occupy blocks C, D and E of the old General Military Hospital, overlooking Stonehouse Creek, where it has been ever since.