Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 29, 2021
Webpage updated: March 29, 2021




Plymouth Public Free Schools, which were founded in 1809, were privately run until they were taken over by the Plymouth Local Education Authority in 1908, as required by the Education Act 1902.  At first they combined to become the Plymouth Public Elementary School but the Education Act 1918 introduced new "Central" schools to the education system, placed between normal secondary schools and grammar schools.  As a result  from September 1927 the senior pupils were divided into the Plymouth Public Central School for Boys, on the third floor of the newly-opened building in Cobourg Street, while the Plymouth Public Central School for Girls occupied the second floor.  The junior pupils who made up Plymouth Public Elementary School occupied the ground floor.

As mentioned above, a new building had been erected during the widening of Cobourg Street between 1925 and 1927.  The foundation stone had been laid on September 16th 1925 by the then Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman R W Winnicott JP.  The building was 223 feet long by 72 feet wide and had three stories with a mezzanine floor between the ground and first floors.  The architects were Messrs Thornely and Rooke and the contractors were Messrs A N Coles and Son.  The official  opening by the President of the Board of Education, Lord Eustace Percy MP, took pllace on May 3rd 1927 in the presence of the Mayor of Plymouth, Mr James J H Moses.

It is not clear exactly when the pupils transferred from the old building to the new one but they were certainly in occupation at the start of the new academic year in September 1927, with a Miss H M Dovey appointed to head the Plymouth Public Central School for Girls.   

In 1937 Miss A E Cameron MA head mistress of the girls' school.

The Education Act 1944 raised the school leaving age to the fifteenth birthday as from Tuesday April 1st 1947 and created Primary schools for the 5 to 11 years olds and Secondary Modern, Grammar and Technical Schools, thereby changing Plymouth Public Central School for Girls into Plymouth Public Secondary School for Girls.