Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: December 22, 2019
Webpage updated: March 31, 2021

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Paradise Road Elementary School was situated on Stoke Hill, Devonport, on the corner with Providence Place and alongside Stoke Damerel Parish Church.  It was the first school erected by the Devonport Local Education Authority.

The School was opened on Wednesday March 13th 1907 by Alderman W Littleton, chairman of the Devonport Local Education Authority, in the presence of the Mayor of Devonport, Mr W J Moon, and the education secretary, Mr W H Crang.   It provided accommodation for 180 boys and girls (Standards 1, 2 and 3) and took over from Exmouth House Special School the responsibility for the instruction of a maximum of 54 physically and mentally handicapped children, which became the Paradise Road Special Instruction School.  Miss Mabel Gaud was the mistress.

Paradise Road School, Devonport, Plymouth.

Paradise Road School, Devonport, Plymouth.
  Mr Robert Cook.

Designed by Mr H J Snell, of Plymouth, the building was constructed by Messrs Pearn Brothers, also of Plymouth, under the personal supervision of Mr T Cowan, of Mannamead.  It was built of in the Renaissance style, using Plymouth limestone with Portland stone dressing to the main entrance and Portland sills and buss brick dressings to the windows and main quoins.  Mr T Davey, of the Messrs Eddystone Patent Concrete and Modelling Works, Plymouth, constructed the fireproof concrete corridors and staircases.  The cost of the site and building was 7,315.

On the ground floor, facing out onto the main road, each 25 feet by 21 feet, for the boys, girls and infants.  Adjoining them were two assembly halls, one of 42 feet by 16 feet and a smaller one of 22 feet by 16 feet for the infants.   At the western end was a babies' room, measuring 18 feet by 15 feet, with a set of lavatory basins and drinking fountains and a cloak-room.  There was a general cloak-room and lavatories between the two assembly halls.  At the eastern end of the ground floor was a room for the mistress, along with lavatories and patent drinking fountains.

Upstairs on the first floor was another large assembly hall, 66 feet by 16 feet, facing north, with a further three class-rooms, each 25 feet by 22 feet, on the south side.  There was a room at each end for a mistress, along with lavatories, cloak-rooms and drinking fountains.

In the basement was the water heating apparatus, which fed twelve, five-coil radiators on each floor, all fitted by Mr W Ford, of Plymouth.

At the front of the building were two playgrounds and there were three more at the rear for the use of the special instruction pupils.

In 1914 the School had accommodation for 240 children.  Miss Helen Bartlett was the mistress of the junior mixed school.  The average attendance at that time was 226 pupils.  The Special Instruction School had 68 pupils in 1914 and was headed by Miss Emily M Gaud.

The Paradise Road School was one of several schools that were handed over to the military authorities during the Great War for use as temporary hospitals.  This took place on February 19th 1917 and from the 21st the pupils moved in to temporary accommodation at the Anglican Church of Saint Barnabas the Apostle and Belmont Wesleyan Methodist Chapel Sunday schools.

The Education Act 1918 raised the school-leaving age to the fourteenth birthday.

Miss J Hellyer was the head mistress in1935, by when the Special Instruction School had been closed..

In 1937, when the School took junior mixed and infants, Miss E A Cole was head mistress.

In September 1939 the School had 244 pupils but in December 1940 this had fallen to 74.  The School was at that time being held in the Stuart Road School premises because, it would appear, the building had been taken over by the military, who were also occupying the old Stoke Military Hospital just across the road.  On January 6th 1941 Paradise Road School was suspended and the 74 pupils were to be redistributed around other schools in the area. 

The building was severely damaged during the Second World War and never reopened.  The remains of the building were still in place in April 1974.