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Wiltshire Community History

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Adcroft Boys' School, Trowbridge

Adcroft Boys' School, Trowbridge Date Photo Taken c.1907
Uploaded 25/10/2007 08:29:35
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

Opened as a British school in 1832 and in 1907 the name was changed to Adcroft Boy's School. Transferred to Wiltshire County Council, in 1908, who built the Adcroft Council School in 1913 at the top of Timbrell Street. It became a senior boys' school in 1931 and in 1940 pupils were transferred to the new secondary modern school.Buildings in Prospect Place were later used as a school of building and later later still as a teacher's centre.


Peter (Percy) Blick said:

Recent coronavirus restrictions has forced me into ‘reducing’ the loft contents and reviewing photographs found one of student (including me) doing jankers removing the old air raid shelter between dorms. No contractors here just student labour but looked fun! Attended 1961 - 64 Boarder Final year Plumber
Posted 31/05/2020
Ray Pearson said:

Since I made an entry into this in 2011 I have had contact with a number of old boys. My wife died in 2003 and in 2013 I became a Chelsea Pensioner and proudly wear the famous Scarlet coat. I had renewed acquaintance with another Adcroft old boy John Denton in the late 1990's who also became a Chelsea Pensioner. Now 83 my life here is full and I have done so much and met so many famous people from many walks of life. I have represented the Royal Hospital Chelsea in this country and abroad and marched down the steps of The Royal Albert Hall British legion commemoration ceremony 3 times.
Posted 24/11/2019
Julie Davis - WSHC said:

The Windrose Trust are looking for help with an oral history project; please see below for details if you would like to participate. Were you a student at Adcroft School of Building in the 50s or 60s? Windrose Rural Media Trust is looking for former students to interview! We have two colour films showing students and staff in all aspects of Adcroft school life, from classrooms to building studies and leisure activities - including live film of the school band, “The Griffins”, in action! We are keen to speak to former students who could add their own personal reminiscences on what life was like at the school, either as a boarder or day school student, and some of the characters involved and how your time there has impacted on your life. If you are interested, we would like to interview you for an oral history recording, the audio recordings will add a new perspective to the existing films and help put the films into the context of their time and add a personal touch. We would like to record people’s stories over the next couple of months, so, if possible by the end of August 2019. To find out more about the project, please contact us via the Windrose Media Trust email address: info@windroseruralmedia.org Our website can be found here: http://windrose-rmt.postach.io Phil Edwards
Posted 20/06/2019
Jim Battersby said:

Can anyone remember what year Dave Dee and I think Mick and Titch visited the school in a white Rolls Royce for school prize presentations? Only just discovered this site but not does it bring back memories.
Posted 30/04/2019
Richard Cook said:

Having just found this site, I was sorry to have missed the re-union. Hi to Laurence Johnston, yes it was me winning the 1967 prise for Craftsmanship. I have fond memories of Adcroft, my twin brother Chris is retired and lives in York, I live on the South Coast at Gosport retired, just spent two years completing a property for our retirement, yes all those Adcroft skills came in use! I am still in touch with the Swindon lads, Derek Fuller, Andrew Pinneger also Glen Norcliffe.
Posted 26/03/2019
Richard Cook said:

I have just found this site, sorry to have missed the reunion. Hi to Laurence Johnson, yes that was me who won the 1967 prise for craftmanship.Twin brother Chris (retired architect living in York) I have lived in Gosport for the last 40 years working in Marine and Construction industries. Still in contact with Swindon lads, Derek Fuller & Andrew Pinneger, sadly Brian Fraser died in car accident 1973.
Posted 25/03/2019
Richard E Draper said:

I attended this school as a boarder in the fifties and left at start of sixties. Teachers were Harry Mayes, Ian Christianson, Mr Massey, Mr Clarke. Some lads in my class were, Hank Britton, Dave Bendle, Peter Crucifix, Ian Parkhouse, Robert Howes (Buddy),Trevor Hahner, Graham Freegard, Roddy Billen, Adrian Jackson to name but a few. My home at the time was West Lavington in Wiltshire and to get home on a weekend, had to pedal a bicycle quite a few miles/. I have had happy and sad memories. I instantly fell in love with the assistant matron (Dorothy Todd). If anyone from my year can remember these very good educational times for academic or trade lessons which put me onto the path of running a successful building company all my working live, please get in touch with me. I am on Facebook (now living in Chepstow, South Wales), or by Email. I would love to contact any of you to just remember those times!
Posted 04/03/2019
Richard Holloway said:

I attended Adcroft as a boarder from 1967-70. As the school was scheduled to close in 1971 I couldn't stay for the 2-year A level courses. The general education was excellent and the building crafts have proved useful for DIY but my career followed an entirely different path spending nearly 40 years in banking. If my memory is not playing playing tricks I think I can still remember many of the teaching staff: Gaffer, Mr Angus, Mr Stonell, Mr Lenihan, Mr Eades, Mr Francis, Mr Jackson, Mr Johns, Mr Smith, Mr Wheatley, Mr Whittle and Mr James. And was there a Mr Harris? I saw Tony James as recently as 2008 as are are now "related". His son and my niece had a child together. I am still in regular contact with Clive "Bunny" Bunting.
Posted 13/01/2019
Brian Clark said:

I attended as a day boy 56 -59 even now I look back with fondness I did go on to be a plumber I think the teacher was Mr Massey, going to that school has affected the whole of my life and its been a better life for it brian
Posted 16/05/2018
Trevor Hall said:

Hello All, I attended Adcroft School around 1965 1967. Does anyone know where I can get a school tie from? Also I would like to get hold of the school badge, any ideas? Many thanks, Trevor
Posted 05/10/2017
Richard E Draper said:

I attended this school from around 1956. Some of my class mates were Hank Britton, Ian Parkhouse, Graham Freegard, Gerald Newman, Roddy Billen. etc. I boarded there, learned my trades and became a successful building contractor. I was self employed all my working life and am now well retired. I have fond memories and some not so fond of my educational days. If anyone can remember me please get in touch. I now live on a farm outside Chepstow, South Wales where I have a collection of 50's Sixties, and seventies classic American cars (12 in total)-- pictures available. I spent a couple of years in the Royal Marines, then went back to my building work. I took up shooting with my grandfather before I went to Adcroft. After leaving I spent all my spare time learning the art of clay pigeon shooting. I opened my own ground in 1970 and ran it until 2001. I am now coaching students from knowing nothing right up to Olympic standard. I have over the years won in excess of 2,500 trophies and medals for this wonderful pastime. Even now at 72 years young I have an interest in the running a local shooting ground close to me. I married for the second time to a woman who is as wonderful clay shot. Sons were by my first wife. I have 2 grown up sons and a daughter I didn't know until she was 26. Yes your sins always catch you out eventually!! Anyone who was at my school around the same time please email me. It would be good to find out how your life turned out.
Posted 01/05/2017
Bill Wakeham said:

I have just read that David Harman (Dave Dee of Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick, and Tich), went to Adcroft School, and found that very interesting, and thought that you might too. I lived nearby, at 3 George Street, from 1985 to 1993, and remember the old Adcroft surgery, which was to the left, and along the road, from where the present surgery is.
Posted 24/06/2016
Nigel Forder said:

I was a boarding pupil at this school from 1954 to 1958 and have fond memories of my time there. I well remember the teachers, \"Killer\" the maths teacher, \"Zac\" Smith, Leo the PE teacher, Mr Boyd-Roberts the English teacher and \"Gaffer\" Clarke the Headmaster. As some of the others have commented we used a playing field at Wingfield Road and that could be a long bitter cycle ride in the winter. We didn\'t have the luxury of a mini bus in those days. I didn\'t stay in the building trade going on to work in various other fields but now semi retired I am back to using the skills I gained at Adcroft as a tiler/plasterer. I was in the same year as David Harman later to become \"Dave Dee\". Phillip Young, Ian Harwood, Barry Childs, Alan Chapman, Bill Horsfall and Mike Snarr are some of the other names I remember. I am very grateful for the education I received there in both practical and life skills.
Posted 24/11/2014
Robyn Greliche said:

I have just recently found out my grandfather went to this school but it would have been way back he was born in 1881 so depending on which year the school went up to it would have been maybe between 1886 and 1893
Posted 03/10/2014
john wheeler said:

yes I also attended this wonderful school arround 1963. Its a small world whilst living in France I\'ve had contact with Terry Dummet, Ray Pearson and Raf Brancatti. Its a small world. Congratulations to Graham Legg who remembers all the teachers.
Posted 21/09/2014
brian raines said:

I attended Adcroft from 63 to 66 as a day boy it has fond memories for me. I took up painting and decorating as my trade and it has kept me in good stead for the last 48 years.
Posted 06/07/2014
Roger Vicker said:

I attended Adcroft as a day boy between 66 and 69. Must admit my recollection of names and faces is a little hazy, but the comments sparked some memories! I remember Tonky Wheeler and some of the teachers. I think Dickie Eades taught bricklaying and rugby. Geoff Angus took over as head and I think his son (Paul ?) was in the same class as me. I have memories if trying to get on the minibus to the sports field at Wingfield - most times I failed- or face running there and back again! I also remember a visit from a famous ex Adcroft son - David Harman, aka Dave Dee. Does anybody have a list of names of the 66/69 intake? Unlike most others I did not pursue a career in the trades but the life experience of going to Adcroft has stood me in very good stead. Would be pleased to join a future re-union.
Posted 05/05/2014
Richard Cotton said:

Great evening at the reunion last Saturday.Nice to see so many old friends, and former pupils.Well done to Chris Stone.Hope there will soon be another.
Posted 04/05/2014
Peter Harford said:

I attended the Old Boys reunion on Sat 26th April 2014 with my brother Geoff, I attended Adcroft as a day boy from 1949 - 1952 , it stood me in good stead for a long and successful career in the Construction Industry. Many thanks to the organisers of the event I look forward to the next one. Peter Harford
Posted 28/04/2014
Graham Head said:

Went to the reunion at Market Lavington last night. Good to see so many people from the past, including Godfrey Williams, Hans Shell, Pete Timbrell & Tim (Tonky) Wheeler from my year (intake of 1965)and Ray Pearson who taught me plumbing. Also good to see some comments from people here who I haven't heard about for a long time, especially Bill Udy, Paul Newman and Laurence Johnston who was my table prefect, I am sure I still have a dent in the back of my hand from a spoon he used for instant justice. Anyone fancy setting up a database of old boys? I am happy to if there is enough interest.
Posted 27/04/2014
Reg Varney said:

Hi had a great evening at the reunion last night many thanks to Chris Stone; if any of my year are interested in meeting please contact me at richv9@hotmail.com it's about time we all relived all those memories!
Posted 27/04/2014
Terry Dummett said:

I attended Adcroft School of Building as a boarder from 1954 to 1957 I was a member of the \" Griffins\" school band and I featured in the school film. My education at Adcroft stood me in good stead in my career as a Quantity Surveyor
Posted 31/03/2014
david eades said:

Hi to anybody who remembers me? No relation to Dickie Eades !! I was a boarder 62-65 and with hindsight really enjoyed Adcroft,in particular the activites such as sailing, rock climbing, trips to the Lake district, Snowdonia and Germany with Leo. I never went into the building trade however my wife has been in the New Homes construction business for 30 years! David Eades
Posted 27/03/2014
Barry Curtis said:

Hello everyone,I was a boarder from 1961 -1964 and have enjoyed reading all the notes from fellow \"old boys\".I have now been retired from the constuction industry for 4 years.I have great memories of Adcroft.The lessons,sport and all activities gave us boys a solid start.The food was unforgetable!I still cannot eat any crumble.Looking forward to the reunion.
Posted 10/03/2014
John Lucas said:

I was at Adcroft 1951-1953. I am now living in Herefordshire and am interested in the proposed reunion at Market Lavington which is being organised by Chris Stone. Please can you make contact on 01568 616979? Thank you.
Posted 21/02/2014
Reg VARNEY said:

Hi all I was at Adcroft 1966/69 I remember it with fond memories I would be interested in a reunion especially for my year; how do we go about it?
Posted 09/02/2014
chris stone said:

I am organising an Adcroft reunion to be held at Market Lavington community hall on 26th April 2014 at 7.00 pm. My tel no.is in the book; be good to see any old boys.
Posted 25/01/2014
Bill Udy said:

I was a day boy 1965 - 69 and it's great to read all these memories of the school. I did two subjects at the school, Carpentry & Joinery and cricket! Gaffer used to let me swap my gardening periods with a lad called Puffer for his cricket period. I have such fond memories of idyllic summer days playing cricket alongside the Modeluxe laundry steaming away and with Steve Tilley as captain. Jammy James did his best to cram some maths into me and I've been a building estimator all my life in central London, so some of it must have sunk in. Thank you Adcroft, everything owed to you.
Posted 02/05/2013
Peter Archibald said:

Marvellous! All as I remember. I attended Adcroft school from 1966 to 1969. Started bricklaying at aged 13 and still going at aged 60. Very interested in everyone's comments.
Posted 14/04/2013
Phil Ricketts said:

I attended Adcroft as a boarder 1963 -66. Greetings to you Laurance and thank you to Ray one of the best teachers you could meet. A one of "Gaffers" boys I find it sad that lads today do not have the opportunity to attend such a school. Good luck to all old boys.
Posted 18/03/2013
Robert Weeks said:

I was evacuated to Trowbridge with the Hammersmith School of building in 1944. I have fond memories of Trowbridge and the school.Also Mr (Gaffer) Clarke.If anyone wants to get touch about those days,I would be pleased to hear from them. e-mail robertweeks252@gmail.com
Posted 06/03/2013
David M Smith said:

I attended Adcroft from 1966 to 1969 and also remember Dickie Eades. I still do most my own building, even now approaching 60. It was a sad day when the Gaffer retired. I think Mr Angus was the head for the last couple of years. I think his son was in my year group. I have forgotten the name of the Physics teacher but I am sure he would like to know that I went onto do a degree in Physics at Bath University. Adcroft gave me a brilliant education. The balance of academic, practical and physical education is not matched in schools today. I should know as I have spent the last 30 years teaching Physics in a variety of schools from a Grammar school, rural comps and a city community school. I still grow fuschias. We grew them for end of term presents for our mothers. They are at last waking up to a need for technical schools again but they will have to go a long way to match the comradeship between staff and pupils that was present at Adcroft.
Posted 28/11/2012
Laurence Johnston said:

Ray Pearson.. Good to see your name in lights. Are Dickie and Tony James still around? Its good to some names I recognise, you won't remember me but I did plumbing in last year (65) and made a monstrously large Toby jug out of lead sheet for the open day competion. One of the Cook brothers (Richard maybe) won with a 1/2 size lectern. Aided and abbetted my Mike Lenihan or so you said at the time, probably to make me feel better when I came second. Regards hope you are well. Laurence
Posted 22/11/2011
Graham Legg said:

I attended Adcroft County Secondary School of Building as a Day Boy from 1961 to 1966. We started on 4th September 1961, fifty years ago this week! At first I traveled each day from Devizes on a slow stopping steam train to Trowbridge railway station and in 1962,after the family moved to Warminster, Raff Brancati and I rode the top deck of the Wilts and Dorset bus No 24 through to Trowbridge bus station. School finished at 5.20pm each day apart from Monday when we did an extra lesson until 5.50pm and then we had to wait around for public transport home. Ah life was hard I hear the Boarders say! Adcroft was a very active school, we were always on the move, top end to bottom end, down the town to the Tabernacle Gym(you daren't be late might get Jasper), back to the craft workshops at bottom end, up to the P and D worshop at Prospect Place and on top of this we all had games at Wingfield three afternoons a week. In addition there was plenty of opportunity to take part in a residential trip with Mr Lea Gerrard (Leo). I went on a camping trip to Windermere in 1963 and a walking tour of the Eiffel mountain region in Germany 1965. Great fun! We were fortunate to have had some good teachers during our time. I recall Mr Boyd-Roberts, History and Deputy Head, Mr Stacey, English and Music, Mr Mays, Geography, Mr Bowering, Science, Mr James, Maths and Mr J.G.Smith, teacher in charge of Day-boys And towering above the staff was the rather portly figure of Mr G.A.F. Clarke. Gaffer had a clear understanding of what education should be about. He believed that " Boys have an abundance of energy and need to be kept on the move", "skills based education is important and can sit alongside the academic curriculum", "Fostering independence leads to self confidence", "We should all take responsibility for our own actions", "Boys should be taught to be good citizens" I think Gaffer died in 1969 and not long afterwards Adcroft was closed, a casualty of the county going Comprehensive. As a Secondary Technical School in Trowbridge, Adcroft had a comparatively short life 1945 - 1969, only 24 years, and it's a strange irony that now in 2011 the Coalition government, with the good services of Lord Baker are going to re-invent Adcroft with the UCT (University Colleges of Technology. These 'new' schools will meet the needs of students between the ages of 14 and 19 PS Hello Tony Wooding. We were in the same year.
Posted 08/09/2011
Tony Wooding said:

I attended Adcroft Secondary Technical School from 1961 - 1963 as a Day Boy. The comments by Laurence Johnston are as I remember my time there. Ray Pearson was my plumbing teacher. It would be nice to have contact with him so if possible could you please forward my email address. Thank you.
Posted 08/07/2011
Ian Horne said:

I attended Adcroft from 1964 to 69 and look at my time there as some of the most important years of my life. I arrived as a Mummy's boy and a dreamer, sent to Adcroft in the hope that I could recover some of my academic direction after dreaming my way through school up until this time. Adcroft did not turn me into a swat but it did give me a solid foundation upon which to build the rest of my life to date, if you can excuse the pun. The Headmaster, known to the boys as "the Gaffer" had the knack of getting the best out of us boys, at the same time devloping a school curriculum way ahead of its time, supported by excellent teaching staff whose enthusiasm rubbed off on us. Ironically, I never went into Carpentry and Joinery which was my final subject. I joined the army having a successful 9 years there before returning to Wiltshire and joining the Constabulary serving in Swindon for nearly 25 years,retiring in 2002 to Cornwall,with the honour of being awarded The Queens Police Medal. I have no doubt that the five years that I spent in Adcroft changed me into the confident person I became.
Posted 04/07/2011
paul newman said:

Adcroft was a bit of a shock to begin with, but I soon settled in and was very proud to be there. It made me independant, and there were some inspirational teachers there. I remember those Xmas cross country runs, early mornings, inspections, jankers etc with some affection now!! I was there 1965-1969
Posted 16/05/2011
Ray Pearson said:

I attended Adcroft as a boarder in 1951 to 1953. I then returned to teach plumbing in 1960 to 1966. Two other 'old boys' from my time also returned as teachers. Dickie Eades - Bricklaying and Mike Leniham Carpentry and Joinery. The 3 new dormitory block was built and ready for the 1951 intake and those boys who were living in the main building were then moved over to those dormitories. It was a fantastic school with a very forward thinking headmaster and such a shame when it was closed. So many boys benefitted not just from the educational aspect but as boarders and the camaradre it engendered.
Posted 03/02/2011
Laurence Johnston said:

The small part on the right was known as 'End Room'. Head and Deputy Head Boys' slept here. Next from right to left therewas a library, art room, rec block and TV room. out of shot to the right was Dorm 8 which led on to other dormitories 9 and 10. Dormitory 6&7 was behind the building in this image. There was a dining hall that doubled as assembly room. We also had the dreaded country dancing in here in the evenings. There was a bungalow bottom right of this picture where the Head Master lived, a Mr G.A.F. Clarke affectionately known as Gaffer. There were two 'live in' Masters in my day, Tony James (maths) and Mr Connell (technical drawing) The main educational area was down the road about 1/4 mile, pretty basic. Our playing fields were out on the Wingfield Road, probably a couple of miles to run before and after games. I was at this school as a boarder from 1963 to 1966.
Posted 01/06/2010

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