Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 29, 2018
Webpage updated: December 22, 2019

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The Keyham Barton Roman Catholic Senior Mixed, Junior Mixed and Infants' School was situated in Ocean Street, Keyham, Plymouth.

Run by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Paul, the School was opened on Monday April 2nd 1906 although it took until June 20th 1906 for it to become properly equipped for its role.

This was in spite of Devonport Borough Council resolving on May 12th 1904: 'That this Council, after full consideration and discussion, unanimously endorses the action of the Education Committee in its opposition to the proposed Roman Catholic School in the Keyham Barton district, or any other denominational school in the Borough'.  Curiously the School was not even in the Keyham Barton district anyway.

The School came under the Devonport Local Education Authority on and as from January 1st 1907.

By mid 1913 there were 100 to 110 children on the register but only two teachers in addition to the Headmistress.

Great War "Victory" medals were presented to the children on the afternoon of July 18th 1919.

On the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, June 29th 1927, the children travelled by charabanc to Babbacombe Beach.  They set off at 10.30am.

From August 26th 1929 the infant department was reorganised in to a junior mixed school, taking all children under the age of eleven years old.  This seems to be the start of the Senior Mixed School.

During the summer holiday in 1930 the School was redecorated and the Senior School moved in to its own new building leaving the Juniors in the original one.

At the morning break on October 20th 1930 Horlick's Malted Milk was distributed to 187 children.

Swimming lessons were started Mount Wise Baths on June 1st 1931.  Twenty boys and twenty girls availed themselves of this new opportunity.

Work started on an extension to the School on April 18th 1932, causing two classes to be transferred to the Parish Hall.  The additional two classrooms were completed on August 29th 1932, after which there were eight classrooms to accommodate 340 pupils.  The opportunity was taken to extend the playground as well.

In 1935 the Head Mistress of the Senior Mixed School was Miss J R Duggan and the Headmistress of the Junior Mixed and Infants' School was Miss M Sheridan.

Rediffusion (cable radio) was installed on July 19th 1935.  The installation cost 1 10s and a loud speaker cost a further 1 15s.

The School was closed on September 1st 1939 in order to prepare for Air Raid Precautions and was not reopened, for Senior pupils only, until September 18th 1939.  The baby class, for children under the age of 5, ceased and the Infants returned at a later date.  As it happened work on converting the ground floor cloakroom into an air raid shelter did not commence until November 30th 1939 and even then it could only hold 40 children: the remaining 281 had to use trench shelters in the playground.  They were first used at around 10.30am on July 4th 1940, when the first air raid warning was sounded.  The children 'conducted themselves bravely', reported the Headmistress in the school Log Book.

On the morning of April 23rd 1941 only 49 children out of 240 turned up for School due to the heavy air raid during the night, which destroyed the adjoining Roman Catholic Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer.  The first party of children were evacuated to Camborne, in Cornwall, on May 5th 1941, followed by others on May 12, May 16th and June 5th.  The Headmistress joined an evacuation train at Keyham Station on June 28th, also for Camborne.

The resultant drop in the number of children resulted in the Senior School being amalgamated with the Junior and Infant School for those children whose parents decided to keep their children at home.  Two further evacuation parties left on September 4th and October 9th 1941.

The Senior and Junior Schools were split again as from January 4th 1943.

At some point in March 1944 the first ever school photograph must have been taken as there was great excitement when the prints arrived at the school on April 3rd 1944.

On April 1st 1945 the School became the Keyham Barton Roman Catholic Primary School, the School Log Book for April 10th 1945 recording that: 'According to the new Education Act 1944, the school will be called a primary school'.