Beverley Grammar School, in Beverley, East Yorkshire was founded in 700 AD and is the oldest state school in England.
Early records suggest that the medieval building, which existed in the southwest corner of the Minster grounds, was demolished in 1602 and replaced on the same site by a stone building in 1609.
With such a great history Beverley Grammar School was delighted to take part in this year’s Heritage Open Day project. Established in 1994, Heritage Open Days is England’s contribution to the European Heritage Days and has since grown into the country’s largest heritage festival. BGS was open to visitors on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September. The school was open to visitors by appointment to avoid any impact on the school day.
Visitors over the two days included old boys of the school; people interested in architecture and others ticking off Heritage Open Days sites! One visitor even used to live in the old Headmasters house along Keldgate.
Visitors were shown around by Louise Barrett, parent Governor and Trustee at the Grammar School.
Louise showed them the old school bell, in the courtyard, that used to hang on the outside of what is now the art block but was the first school building on the Queensgate site. She went on to show them the library in the main building which has a display of the registration records including those of famous old boys, including Fred Elwell.
Anyone visiting the heads office may have noticed a plaque that was donated to the school which details a number of the old boys from over the centuries, interestingly it only shows the boys that went to make a good name for themselves, no one from the gunpowder plot is included on the plaque!
Visitors also took a look around the school hall which takes a lot of it décor from the art deco period. The hall also houses boards detailing of all the Heads from the school dating right back to 700AD as well as the captains of the sports teams from over the years.
Guests were shown around the art block which has some very interesting oddities, including the rope from the old bell as well as a paper hanging system in the ceiling made using marbles.
The tour concluded at the pavilion. In 1918, an Old Boys Memorial Fund was initiated to commemorate those who died during the War. In all, nearly £1,200 was raised, and in 1928 the sports pavilion was built as a memorial on the school field. On the outside of the pavilion there are plaques naming the boys that lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. The pavilion continues to be used as changing rooms; one visitor that attended the school in the 1950’s said the inside had changed very little!
All visitors thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Tour guide Louise Barrett commented;
“It was extremely interesting learning more about the school. I have found parts of the school I never knew existed and I shall endeavour to answer some of the unanswered questions of this year’s visitors ready for next year.”
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