from the History of Soham Grammar School (Browning, revised Abbott 1972) which, together with the Soham Grammarian magazine, unless otherwise specified is the source of images. Visitors able to provide photographs or illustrations to enhance this text should please contact the editor.
The Autumn Term of 1939, which saw Europe at war, saw Soham without a headmaster. It would be idle to claim that the war left no mark upon the school. It hardly needed the Dean of Ely (the Very Reverend L. E. Blackburne) at Speech Day 1940 to exhort everyone to co-operate in the struggle for victory for Soham had already taken up the task. The summer holiday of 1939 had seen 18,000 sand bags used in the construction of trenches. In the early days of the war air-raid alerts seriously disrupted teaching as the school had to be evacuated to the trenches. After numerous false alarms a scheme of aircraft spotting was instituted making interruptions largely unnecessary.
Other effects of the war were to be more permanent. The unavailability of transport in war-time led to the cancellation of inter-school matches, laying much greater emphasis than usual on house Rugby. Hot lunches were provided at Soham, as at most schools, since family life was frequently disrupted by the need for women to fill jobs vacated by men joining the Services: though few realised it, school dinners had come to stay. While senior pupils became involved in A.R.P. work, the well-being of servicemen was kept in mind, witness a collection made at the Old Boys' dinner and the school's participation in the local waste paper collection.
Mr. Johnson's period as acting head concluded on 1st January, 1940, when Mr. Stanley Stubbs, M.A., arrived from Gresham's School, Holt, where he was Modern Languages master, to take up his duties as Headmaster of Soham Grammar School. He, too, encouraged the school in its war efforts. Ministry of Information films were shown regularly to strengthen morale, instruct or warn. Collections continued to be taken for special efforts - the Spitfire Fund (Christmas 1940) and War Weapons Week (May 1941) - but surely the outstanding financial contribution came through regular National Savings. Under the enthusiastic control of Mr. Hunt these totalled £5,299 over 5½ years during which 428 pupils passed through the school though the total at any one time never rose above 236 (October 1944).
The proudest effort was the raising on 10th February, 1941, of a squadron of the Air Training Corps, Soham Grammar School Flight No. 773. It made its first public appearance on 18th May at the beginning of War Weapons Week, as A. H. Talbot described:
"Sunday's parade of Military and Civil Defence personnel held special significance
for the school as for the first time, the recently formed Air Training Corps squadron
was on parade under Flying Officer S. Stubbs and Acting Pilot Officer C. C. Copland.
An open-air service at which the address was given by a Chaplain to the Forces,
was conducted by the Vicar (Revd. P. F. Boughey) on the Recreation Ground, following
a physical training display and gun drill by local military detachments".
Mr. Crouch was also an acting Pilot Officer and by the end of the war over 200 cadets had passed through the unit.
More than 100 joined the armed services - mostly the R.A.F.
One hundred certificates of proficiency were gained and 15 members passed advanced training examinations. The efficiency of the corps had been increased from the Spring of 1942 by the securing of a Hawker Hector army co-operation aircraft. It really flew, it had a range of 400 miles, a cruising speed of 162 m.p.h. and every member of the squadron had a flight.
[Actually it did not fly. However members of the ATC did often have the opportunity to gain experience of flying when visiting RAF units - see 773 Sqn (SGS) ATC.]
A Hawker Hector: This was a British Army co-operation warplane in service from 1937 to the late 1940s. Powered by a Napier Dagger IIIMS H-type piston engine rated at 805hp providing a top speed of 187 mph and an endurance of 2h 25min. Crew: pilot and observer/gunner seated in tandem in open cockpits. Armaments: 1 x 0.303 inch Vickers MkV fixed forward-firing machine gun in the port side of the forward fuselage firing through the propeller disc, and 1 x 0.303 inch Lewis trainable rearward firing machine gun in the rear cockpit. Up to 250lb of disposable stores could be carried on two underwing hardpoints. Superseded by Westland Lysander.
source : Probert Air Encyclopedia
Although numerous bombs were dropped in Soham parish during the war, the school suffered no physical damage until 2nd June, 1944, when the explosion of two trucks of an ammunition train caused blast damage. Only the valour of the train crew saved Soham from numerous casualties. As it was this constituted a "major incident". During rescue operations the school served both as an administrative H.Q. and as an A.R.P. Rest Centre, a task for which it had been prepared. Further slight damage was caused by a V.1 exploding nearby in September 1944 and when an American Flying Fortress crashed in the fields behind the school after a mid-air collision in February 1945.
The war also affected the school's more proper, educational function. Two members of the staff left for war work: Mr. Lait, a mathematician, to the Ministry of Supply; Mr. T. L. Riley to help guide the army through Europe. Losses of staff were difficult to make good. In the Spring of 1942 the school was fortunate to be able to call on the services of the curate of Soham, Rev. T. V. Hurdle, to teach mathematics and physics. He was to continue at Soham for over three years and as Mr. Stubbs commented, "we are very fortunate in securing a master so able and well-qualified, and I am grateful to all concerned in making the appointment possible". Further gaps in the staff were regularly filled by women, some seven having taught at Soham by the end of 1945. So was set a precedent that was to revive in the late sixties.
Despite the upheavals Mr. Stubbs managed to ensure that the educational standards at Soham did not deteriorate. In this first year the whole of the former private and boarding parts of the building were taken over to provide necessary rooms for the larger number of boys. These additions included new form rooms, an extra Science room, an Art room, extended workshops, a new Staff Room, storage rooms and, most badly needed of all, a Library. With better physical provisions more was likely to be achieved educationally. This was seen to be true in 1942 when three boys took the Higher School Certificate and thirty boys the Lower: the results were received with joy, for all thirty-three were successful. An academic pattern had been established that was to be fostered for the remaining thirty years of the school's existence.
But Mr. Stubbs was not content to encourage mere bookishness. In the Autumn of 1941 with the aid of Mr. Crouch and Mr. Johnson, he established a house drama competition which was to exist till 1952 and which provided the basis for the school's undoubted dramatic reputation during its last two decades. This house competition was fully in line with the headmaster's general policy, for a year earlier he had reorganised the house system. As will be remembered, inter-school competition had ceased on the outbreak of war and strong house competition was encouraged as a replacement.
Thus it was that the houses were aligned: Soham boys made up Ridley House (Bishop Ridley having once been Vicar of Soham), other Cambridgeshire boys entered Chicheley (named after the Lord of the Manor of Soham at the time of the school's inception); while Isle of Ely pupils were divided between their local heroes, Hereward and Cromwell. This arrangement lasted for 3 or 4 years only.
Other innovations too were aimed at improving sporting standards. Extra cups were provided for the Under 14 100 yards and for the Junior Mile to encourage the best athletes. To allow those of lesser attributes to make a contribution, sports standards were introduced, counting in the house championship from 1942. The summer of 1944 saw two matters of moment: different games afternoons were allocated to Seniors and Juniors. Either because of or despite this change, the Junior Shield of the Fenland Athletics championships was won for the very first time.
Intellectual pursuits were also thriving as the school Chess Club, founded in 1942, won its way to the final of the British Chess Correspondence Association Inter-schools tourney in 1943 only to be defeated by Worcester Royal Grammar School. Music too was brought to the southern fens. Autumn 1940 saw Albert Sammons (violin) and Gerald Moore (piano) performing in the school, while in 1942, such a conspicuous year in the school's war-time story, Benjamin Britten and Peter Peers provided the highlight of the season.
So the war drew to a close. It was to mark the end of a distinct era for the Education Act of 1944 had brought statutory changes, the most important of which was the end of fee-paying in Grammar Schools. With it came the infamous eleven plus. This was to herald both the greatest days of Soham Grammar School and its demise. Throughout the war the school had been expanding which led eventually to permission for the building of three new classrooms, a dining hall and kitchens in a single block to the west of the lawns.
In anticipation of this the school was reorganised in 1944 on a two form basis to avoid the classes of forty which had begun to appear. Almost inevitably delays ensued and before the work was completed another change overtook Soham. In 1945 Mr. Stubbs resigned upon his appointment as Headmaster of the Perse School. So it was that a new hand guided the school's final quarter century as it became a traditional, academic grammar school, the hand of Mr. E. Armitage, M.A., B.Sc., formerly Physics master at Bradfield College.
The new headmaster inherited sound intellectual traditions, albeit restricted for six years by war-time stringency. For instance, shortly after his arrival there occurred another such musical occasion as had lightened the war when, this time under the auspices of the Soham Musical Society, Kathleen Ferrier and Isobel Baillie performed at the school. And if Mr. Crouch followed Mr. Stubbs to the Perse, Mr. Riley soon returned from his military service, strengthening the ties with pre-war years. The previously planned and long-awaited extension came into use in February 1946.
This improvement to the facilities encouraged the school to seek new avenues to explore for Mr. Armitage would not be content to rest on past laurels. In the magazine at the end of his first term he wrote:
"Let us strive to preserve and even improve our record of high academic attainment ...
Further let us realise there is more to school life than passing examinations, important as these
are. Learning how to live is, in the long run, more important than either French or Physics.
To know how to use one's leisure, to have good manners and to be able to speak correctly
... All these it is the business of a school to teach and equally the duty of every boy to learn."
The pursuit of these ideals for 27 years was to make his contribution probably the most significant in the school's story. One of the new headmaster's first actions was to arrange for the resumption of boarding in 1946 when eight pupils took up weekly residence at The Moat. Another change of that year was to hold Speech Day in a local cinema. With parents and boys united for the ceremony as they would never be in the old Assembly Hall, a greater corporate spirit could be fostered though the experiment came to an abrupt end the following year when the severe winter and concomitant fuel rationing ruled out the use of this building.
However the same spirit led by the end of 1947 to the forging of more permanent links between school, staff and parents. With the formation of the Parents' Association, whose inaugural meeting was held in December, a vehicle was provided for the discussion of problems on a regular and personal basis. In the following September the curriculum of the 4th and 5th forms was reorganised to take account of the different aptitudes and abilities of the wider intake. As a result 13 out of 19 candidates from the new B stream passed the School Certificate. In the following year therefore a new division of the Sixth Form the Technical Sixth - was formed to cater for boys seeking a theoretical background in more practical subjects.
Further building had taken place so in September 1948 a new Physics laboratory was in operation and the same academic year saw, in the summer, the first of several acts of faith when the Speech Day ceremony took place on the lawn. Later in 1949 came the first regular intake from the borough of Cambridge - 5 to be exact - as the population increase began to make itself felt on local schools.
But of all the changes of those early post-war years the most noticeable was the introduction of soccer for rugby as the winter game. It was for this reason that Mr. R. A. Taylor, M.A., a triple Cambridge blue, joined the staff from Watford Grammar School. Coming first in 1946 he took a brief sojourn in Canada before beginning his more permanent stay in 1948. The school playing-fields had been extended not for the last time - to provide more pitches and during the following years sport was to prosper at Soham as never before. In the first five years of a real soccer programme from 1947, of 66 matches played 45 were won and 7 lost. Though 1952 was a lean year with only 6 victories from 14 games, the following 12 years to 1964 produced a record in school games of 143 wins, 15 draws and 17 defeats.
Cricket was also to prosper, though the English climate makes it extremely unlikely for comparable figures to be attained. Athletics did not come into its own till the early 1960s when the appointment of a further P.E. master allowed wider activities. After this shields were frequently won in the Fenland athletics and cross-country matches.
ATHLETICS TEAM FENLAND SCHOOLS SPORTS 1964
Winners of Middle, Senior and Champion School Shields.
please click on image for a key
The most recent years have seen a great diversification of sporting activity with more emphasis on tennis, the introduction of basketball and badminton, golf, fencing and canoeing. It is not surprising that Old Boys of a school with this record have continued to meet with sporting success. True the Old Boys' Rugby Club had to be reorganised as Ely R.U.F.C. in 1951 - a predictable result in view of the school's change to soccer - but there has been some notable individual achievement. H. Kant represented Britain in the 400 metres hurdles in the Melbourne Olympics (1954) [actually 1956 - editor], a year which saw D. Bray win the first full blue by an old boy (boxing for Cambridge) and Mr. Taylor playing alongside two former pupils in the Cambridgeshire Minor Counties cricket team. J. J. Fordham won a soccer blue (for Oxford) both in 1958 and 1959.
The varied activities of old boys are far too numerous to mention but recently two joined Voluntary Service Overseas .. Eric Pearson in Labrador (1967-8); David Smith in the Windward Isles (1968-9). The very last year of the school a pupil, P. Leonard, has spent at an Illinois High School, sponsored by the American Field Service.
The Old Boys' Club, reformed after the war in 1947, has maintained close links with the school despite the increasing tendency of late for boys to move away from the Fens for employment. It seems likely to continue to function long after the school has ceased its separate identity. Certainly the school remembered those former pupils who were killed on active service at war. In 1951 the novel War Memorial, in the form of wrought iron gates at the entrance to the playing field, was erected. For twenty years the Friday before Remembrance Sunday has witnessed a moving ceremony of gratitude culminating in the planting of a field of poppies.
The purchase of these Memorial Gates was the predecessor of three colossal fund raising activities of self-help. The first in 1958 was the Cricket Pavilion Fund. Centred on a Summer Fair, opened by the Mayor of Cambridge who happened to be an Old Boy (R. D. W. Wordingham), the effort raised £1,300. No sooner had the Pavilion come into use than another project was launched in 1961.
The Cricket Pavilion, opened 12th May 1961
This time for a swimming pool, £400 was raised though the project was to be delayed by negotiations over the building of a Soham town swimming pool. In 1964, £1,268 was collected, again mainly from a Summer Fair, to build the Scout Hut, to make purchases of musical instruments and a sculpture and to contribute to the memorial fund for Henry Morris, C.B.E., formerly Cambridgeshire's Chief Education Officer, the originator of the county's Village Colleges.
In 1968 when it became obvious at last that Soham would not provide its own swimming pool, another fete helped to raise £1,386 which with previous monies plus a similar amount from Soham Village College and a county grant enabled the swimming pool to be built. The raising of well over £4,000 by a small rural grammar school in under 20 years speaks volumes for the co-operation of parents, pupils and staff to provide amenities beyond the pocket or the purpose of the County Council.
Yet much expansion had been provided by the local authority over these years. By 1954 the school had increased by well over 100 pupils since the last major building extension in 1946. This had resulted from a combination of two educational developments with a demographic trend.
First the 1944 Act had turned the two small streams bequeathed by Mr. Stubbs to Mr. Armitage into full ones; secondly an increasing demand for extended education - a national rather than a local trend now that such provision was free - saw the Sixth Form increase from 17 in 1946 to 43 in 1954.
Finally a post-war increase in the birth-rate was already being felt in the primary schools and would soon burst upon the secondary scene. The situation was that by 1954 a school which had numbered 122 when 'Beechurst' was taken over, now had 357 pupils. It was also true that post-war financial stringency was being eased somewhat, resources becoming available for educational improvements that could be proved necessary.
In the circumstances Soham Grammar School was indeed fortunate in its Chairman of Governors, from 1952, Mr. B. M. Bacon of Chippenham Park. Taking an intense interest in the school, counting it a prime charge on his busy time, he bent his energies to furthering its well-being. As an immediate personal gesture to commemorate the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II in his first year as chairman, he donated the Bacon Coronation Cup to be awarded each year to the boy who made the outstanding contribution to school life. It was to be the most prized award of Soham Grammar School.
Mr. Bacon also realised how limiting were the physical restraints upon growing numbers so he led the move for improvement. The decisive factor in winning urgently needed new buildings was the report of a General School inspection carried out from 16th-19th November, 1954. Praising the school's "impressive record" and noting its "distinctive character and grace, not many schools possess", Her Majesty's Inspectors recommended the building of a new Assembly Hall and two laboratories.
THE NEW BUILDINGS: Assembly Hall (1957) and to the right, the Gymnasium (1963)
The official opening was performed fittingly by Mr. Bacon himself on 4th October, 1957, with a dedication by the Archdeacon of Ely, the Ven. H. F. Kirkpatrick.
Fourteen months later Mr. Bacon was dead. The Headmaster wrote of the school's profound shock and deep sorrow:
"Few schools can ever have been so fortunate in their Chairman of Governors as was this school. His frequent visits to the school were both stimulating and inspiring: stimulating because he was enthusiastic in his praise ... and inspiring because his pride in us was infectious . . . service without thought of thanks ... that is his last impression to those, boys and staff, who are left to carry on this tradition."
SPORTS DAY 1952
Mrs Bacon, in company with Mr BM Bacon, Chairman of the Governors 1953-59, receives the traditional bouquet.
THE NEW ART STUDIO (February 1966) [sic]
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The school's growth was not stemmed. By 1959 the school passed the 400 mark: further building was required.
New plans were prepared: large inconvenience was suffered.
Then in January 1963 Phase I was completed giving a new gymnasium, an art room and a biology laboratory as well as two classrooms, and - not least in importance - a new staff-room.
Phase II involved a reconstruction within the old building to combine the headmaster's former study with the library to make proper accommodation for an ever increasing number of books. An appreciation of literature and a love of books must be one of the greatest legacies that a school such as ours can bestow. Soham's fine library looking onto the lawns is a truly beautiful setting which can only enhance the learning process. If one excludes the cities of Cambridge and Ely, grace of landscape is not a noted characteristic of the Fenlands from which the Grammar School has drawn so many of its pupils. The fine agricultural soils are too valuable to include much ornamentation.
The Fens, too, have preserved longer than most areas of England a discernible identity. In some ways valuable, this has given rise to a somewhat narrow vision. The general broadening of horizons has hence been a more important task at Soham than in some comparable schools, even other rural schools. Travel, broadening the mind, has featured largely in educational activities beyond the classroom. The visit to Bruges at Easter 1953, the first major foreign venture after the war, began a close association with Belgium that lasted several years.
Latterly Austria, Italy and Switzerland have been favoured. Recent winter skiing holidays certainly point the changed economic circumstances of the area, since government support of agriculture became permanent. Where only 40 years ago the agricultural worker's basic wage was 28s. per week, the winter holiday symbol of wealth has become a possibility. It was in 1954 that a further incentive to travel came to Soham boys through the Mowforth bequest. Given in memory of the Revd. William Case Morris, a Soham Old Boy, for social education, it commemorated his work as a missionary for children in the Argentine. The bequest has been used especially to foster enterprising private trips in Britain or abroad. The Arctic Circle, the Iron Curtain and Mount Vesuvius are some of the remote places to see Soham's Morris Travel Scholars.
Day excursions are common to any well-balanced school curriculum but none can have been more enterprising that the 1972 trip to the Tutenkhamen Exhibition at the British Museum, involving the whole school.
While Geographical and Biological field study trips have ranged far and near, both the Scouts and the A.C.F. (founded in 1962) have introduced their members to different types of camping.
These organisations are two of the most important "out of school" activities. They cater for different types of boy, teaching co-operation with fellows.
They are always valuable: if they had outstanding years perhaps they were 1964 when 15 of a Senior Scout troop of 28 were Queen's Scouts and 1965 when the A.C.F. won the Bishop of Ely shield for the best County Unit, the Robinson County trophy for shooting and the Eastern Command Cup for football - proof of the value of their new hut and shooting range.
The opening of the Scout Hut (1968)
L-R: Alderman FH Jeeps (Chairman of the Governors), Edward Armitage, Mr JW Rennison (Tewkesbury, formerly i/c Scouting)
The major extra-curricular activity has for long been the School Play. A superb standard was established as a result of House drama. A tradition of Gilbert and Sullivan in the fifties gave way to traditional Shakespeare, which has the advantage to schools that the author waives his licence fee.
The latest plays saw great variety with Anoujlh, Bolt, Wilde and Shaw all represented. A practice, revived in 1967 after a lapse of 12 years, of inviting Ely High School girls to collaborate, has been reversed too with the appearance of Grammar School boys in Ely productions. Musical activities have varied, with the choir during the late 60s reaching national fame broadcasting on T.V. and carrying out many local engagements under Mr. D. Riley's baton.
Chess, which last flourished during the war, has reached hitherto unknown heights under Mr, Hart's guidance. The 1971 record was quite remarkable.
The school's first team were Regional Champions in the Sunday Times Cup, going on to reach the last sixteen in the national rounds, the second team reached the regional semi-final in the same competition. The school also won the Bedford Chess Festival, the Starr Cup for the third time (thus winning it outright but returning it for perpetual competition), the second division of the Starr Cup, the second division of the Cambridge and District Chess League (a 6th form team that), the Taylor Cup for the best individual performance in the County Schools League, and in the County Junior Championships Ist and 2nd at Under 15 level and 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 among Under 13s.
A 40 board match v Manor School Cambridge in 1967: Mr Hart can just be seen near the piano. Note the layout on stage for assemblies in the 1960s.
Certainly an incomparable performance in East Anglia, nor was this achieved by an exclusive selection policy for 90 boys played in the 77 matches.
The variation of activities over a period reflects the different interests and abilities of staff: as masters come and go specialities change. As the 'Big Five' of the thirties and forties began to retire others came to establish themselves permanently at Soham.
ACADEMIC STAFF 1953-54
ACV Foster - CR Waller - KD Drake - G Phythian - L Kitchen - EH Tabraham
FK Webb - AF Pusey - E Quinn - AE Lawrance - RN Joiner - SR Saunders
RA Taylor - TL Riley - E Armitage - CJ Ford - RL Thomas
Mr. S. Saunders arriving in 1947 stayed for 19 years till his retirement. Mr. E. H. Tabraham came in 1948 to teach Handicraft and ultimately to succeed Mr. T. L. Riley as deputy headmaster. Mr. Taylor returned in 1948 from Canada. In 1952 Mr. A. E. Lawrance came as Head of Mathematics and remained for 12 years [he returned to Soham in the 1970s as Warden of the Village College - editor]; in 1954 Mr. P. J. Askem to teach Art and spin an aesthetic web; Mr. L. R. Hart in 1959 to teach French and that same year Mr. R. G. S. Bozeat to take over Woodwork and bowl fast; in 1960 Mr. P. D. Scott, a mathematician with musical and electronic connections; and in 1961 Mr. R. J. H. Makin for science but also to become school engineer. These and others with shorter but valuable service were to maintain and even increase the academic standing of Soham Grammar School as the Head's message of 1946 had hoped.
With the school growing in numbers old organisation was no longer sufficient. The larger number of pupils gave rise to a larger number of staff who could offer specialist education in a wider range of subjects. Streaming ceased in 1963 to be replaced by an option scheme involving a variable and complex timetable. To maintain the prime advantage of a small school that no-one becomes anonymous or forgotten various means were used. The major change was the creation in 1967 of the Junior School, consisting of First and Second Forms with Mr. Taylor appointed to be responsible for these formative years.
Simultaneously the Sixth Form was regrouped into smaller tutorial groups. This had been preceded by the splitting of Speech Day in 1965 into Senior and Junior and in 1966 into Senior, Middle and Junior. These were to be replaced in 1969 by Open Days - one for each year, much less formal and giving scope for contributions from every boy.
In different spheres Soham kept abreast of reform. Platt Prizes instituted in 1961 by the will of the former headmaster were awarded, on the choice of the boys themselves, one prize for each year. Nuffield Science courses were begun, the school being one of the pioneers of the Physics project from 1963. Careers advice came to play a greater part in the senior school, with Fifth formers having careers periods and a biennial Careers Convention being established in 1969. Even the imminent reorganisation of secondary education did not deter: in 1971 a computer link was established with the Cambridge College of Technology.
This diversification was not allowed to interfere with the standard of academic work. Indeed the post-war years under Mr. Armitage were undoubtedly the years of highest academic achievement. No longer was Soham a rural grammar school, rather a traditional grammar school in a rural setting.
Between 1946 and 1962, when they were abolished, State Scholarships were won in eleven years and reserve places in a further two. On two occasions three State Scholarships were won (1951 and 1962). In 1964 three boys entered Cambridge University on scholarships - J. M. Daly taking the Trevelyan Scholarship at Pembroke - while a fourth won an engineering scholarship to Bristol. 1965 saw an improvement. An open exhibition in science at Lincoln College, Oxford, for G. Allen, obtained when only 16.1 years was a prelude to his winning the Cambridge Examinations Syndicate prize for the highest marks in Physics and Chemistry. An Atomic Energy Authority Scholarship tenable at Cambridge fell to A. W. Pennick; two Coal Board scholarships at Newcastle were won; and a textile chemistry award at Manchester. In 1970, one pupil went to Cambridge and three to Oxford, with S. G. Melton gaining a Minor Scholarship in History at Wadham College.
So right up to the Comprehensive reorganisation of September 1972, which involved its amalgamation with the neighbouring Village College and the transference of the Sixth Form to Ely, has Soham fulfilled the ideal of a grammar school, setting a standard of excellence as its goal in every field. As three pupils wrote in 1955:
"Education should fit a boy for life and cater for all his needs. The fact that this
was realised and put into practice as far as possible at Soham must surely
be taken into account when we attempt to account for its successes".
back: SC Wynn (Headmaster's), D Crabb (Parents' Association),
SL Murfitt (Old Boys), PA Bolton (Parents' Association)
front: SB Thornhill (Stubbs Cup), B King (Bacon Cup), SJ Yeomans (Headmaster's)
Guest of honour at the 1963 Speech Day was Mr. F. L. Allen, Secretary of the Headmasters' Association, who in a letter afterwards commented:
"it seems to me typical of your school that there was an air of concentrated personal
attention on the part of everyone assembled in the hall. It was a family affair on a large
scale with the mood heightened by the colour and excitement of a special day".
Typical too that despite the natural sadness that a school was disappearing, a recent old boy could write:
"I must admit that any feelings of nostalgia I might have had for the school
in its present form are overriden by the conviction that the reorganisation
is a forward movement in the educational facilities of the Isle of Ely".
In such objectivity mingled with tradition lies the essential spirit of Soham Grammar School, 1686-1972.
Soham Grammar School & Village College, 1961
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Soham Village College 2001
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Aerial views courtesy of Chris Scurrah, SVC webmaster
last updated 24 Dec 10