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Wiltshire Community History

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Trowbridge - Nelson Haden County Girls' Secondary Modern School, Trowbridge

Opened on the Frome Road site of 22 acres in June 1940 with the Boys' School. Took all senior pupils in the town who did not go to the High Schools. Some of the first inhabitants were the evacuees from the South Woodford Senior Girls Scool in Essex and their teacher. The War with its air raid sirens, and no long summer vacation in 1940 would continue to have an effect on school life; even though the teachers tried to make it as normal as they could, with hot school dinners, xmas concerts and the national immunisation programme against Diptheria. After two days holiday celebrating victory in Europe, it was back to life as normal. There were regular speech days, and annual traditions such as the Harvest Thanksgiving service.

The School was divided into four houses: Longfield, Clarendon, Islington and Pitman and there were house points and a trophy to try and win as well as a head girls and prefects. With the building of the new school it enlarged rapidly with an average of 343 on the register; from an original half-dozen teachers, the Nelson Haden County Secondary Modern soon had 14 mistresses on it's roll. They taught a range of subjects from Maths, English and History to Needlework, Rural Science and Physical Education.

There were still occasional worries about funding so, in 1951, parents contributed 1d a week to a general purpose discretionary fund under the control of the headmistress. The regular highlights of the school year were beginning to appear, including the xmas party, school prizes, carol services and the nativity play. Also starting were excursions further afield, the first trip abroad, to Brussels and Bruge, was held in 1957. Remberance Day popppies were sold annually, holidays were given for Royal weddings and coronations, and the school managed to raise enough money for a swimming pool. The School magazine started in 1961, to be published once a year.

It closed at the end of Summer term 1974 and re-opened in August 1974 as The Clarendon School when Trowbridge adopted the comprehensive system.
 

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