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




 Prince Rock School after reconstruction in 1938

The main block of Prince Rock School after
the reconstruction in 1938.
From a postcard.

The foundation stone of the new elementary school between the Laira Bridge Road and Embankment Road at Prince Rock, Plymouth, was laid during the afternoon of Wednesday May 8th 1907 by the Mayor of Plymouth, Mr J F Winnicott (1855-1948), and the chairman of the Education Committee, Mr J T Bond (1854-1917).  It was a large affair and everybody who was anybody in Plymouth was present from the Borough Librarian to the local landowner, Captain Julian JP.  The site was previously that of the Plymouth School Board's Truants' School.

The new block built at Prince Rock School during the reconstruction work of 1938

The new block built at Prince Rock School
during the reconstruction in 1938.

Built of Plymouth limestone with Portland stone and grey granite dressings, there were four separate buildings, all designed by Messrs Thornely & Rooke and constructed by Mr A N Coles.  His tender was in the sum of 13,730 and Mr J S Millman was the clerk of works. 

At the ceremony Mr Coles presented the Mayor with a silver trowel inscribed with the words: 'Presented to J F Winnicott, Esq., Mayor of Plymouth, by the contractor, on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of the Prince Rock elementary school, May 8, 1907.  A N Coles, contractor.'  Miss Winnie Coles presented a bouquet to the Mayoress.

A second silver trowel was then presented by Mr Thornely to Mr Bond bearing the words: 'Presented to Alderman J T Bond, chairman of the Plymouth Education Committee, on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of Prince Rock Elementary School, May 8th 1907.  Thornley and Rooke, architects.'   Mr Bond then paid a second stone.

Subsequently the Mayor and Mayoress received a large number of guests at the Palm Court of the Royal Hotel, where tea was served to the accompaniment of the Palm Court Orchestra, Miss Holt, piano; Mr F Wellington, violin; and Mr C G Pike, cello.  Once again, if you were not invited you were nobody of any local significance!

Prince Rock Infants' School was opened on Tuesday June 9th 1908.  The principal teacher, Miss A Gard, admitted a total of 430 children, of whom 330 came from the temporary school in Embankment Road.  Within three days of opening all the available places had been taken and children were being turned away.   The Board of Education approval was for 413 children so the head teacher was possibly thinking some of them would drop by the wayside anyway.  It was expected that at Christmas 1908 the sixty Standard 1 children transferred from the Embankment Road school will join sixty others to form the Standard 1 year in the new Prince Rock Senior School.

Her assistants were Miss E Cotton, Miss M Pyne, Miss A Oliver, Miss B Caple, Miss W Mole, Miss Spencer and Miss Algate.   

The School was not officially opened until the afternoon of Saturday January 9th 1909 because the completion of the Senior School had been delayed by undisclosed financial reasons.  The Mayor of Plymouth, Mr A Edmund Spender, performed the ceremony.

Mr R E Goodanew, ACP, was appointed as Headmaster of the Boys' School, with Mr H Curtis, Mr Cleary, Mr Sutton and Mr Johns as his assistant teachers, while Miss B Ellis, became the Headmistress of the Girls' School.   Her staff were Miss Spry and three temporary teachers.  The School was equipped for 330 boys, 330 girls and 413 infants.

First from the Town side was a one-storey building housing the woodwork facilities.  This could be accessed from Embankment Road as it was to be used by other schools.  Next came a two-storey block housing on the ground floor the metalwork room and on the first floor the art room.  This was followed by the main three-storey block, comprising the Infant school on the ground floor, the Girls' School on the first floor and the Boys' School on the top floor.  Each floor had an assembly hall measuring 60 feet by 22 feet and six classrooms.  This block could be entered from both Embankment Road and Laira Bridge Road.  Beyond that was another two-storey building containing the babies' classroom and above it the cookery classroom.  At the corner of the site with Laira Bridge Terrace was a residence for the caretaker.

In 1914 Mr Richard E Goodanew ACP was master of the boys' school; Miss Bessie Ellis was headmistress of the girls' school; and Miss Alice Gard was the mistress of the infants' school.  The average attendance at that time was 328cboys, 319girls and 402 infants.

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

In 1937 Mr J R Hockridge was head master of the senior boys' school; Miss M Butcher was head mistress of the junior mixed school; and Miss B Murch was head mistress of the infants' school.

After some reconstruction work was carried out, the School was re-opened by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor G S Scoble, on Friday April 21st 1939.  The general contractor for the reconstruction was Messrs A N Coles (Contractors) Ltd.

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.