A rare shot of old school swimmers

editorial image

SHIELDS’S Harton Technology College has celebrated 75 years of education on the site.

It is the successor to the old Grammar Technical School for Boys, of course.

What had been the High School for Boys opened there in September 1936, with the amalgamation of the old Boys’ High Schoolin Mowbray Road, and its near neighbour, Westoe Secondary School for Boys.

But would you believe that this is pretty much the only known photo from the school’s first year?

As you can see, it’s rather poor quality but shows the 1936-1937 swimming team in front of the school gymnasium, with the headmaster, William Lucas, in the middle, and ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins to the right.

Mike Todd, who runs the website for the old school, says: “Of the boys, I have only identified Jimmy Wallace, Stuart Elliott and Donald Lethem.”

He is seeking other pictures etc from the same era.

“It would be great if anyone has any memorabilia from the early days in Westoe, right the way through, that they could lend or donate to the archives,” he says.

The 13-acre site in Harton had originally been bought in 1928 by the education authority to build an elementary school.

But with the two schools at Westoe bursting at the seams, permission was sought from the Board of Education to build a High School instead.

After several years of refusal, the Board finally agreed.

The building was described at the time as the “most important edifice built by the Corporation since the Town Hall,” and was widely seen as having outstanding architectural merit, with expansive views over the surrounding countryside – even a view of the sea from up- stairs.

But despite all the changes over the years, the school’s heritage hasn’t been lost and much of the character of the original building has been retained.

It will be hosting a commemorative 75th anniversary dinner in the school hall on May 10, where some of the school’s archives will be on display.

Mike would love to see other items that could be added.

He’d love to hear from you at: old.boys@boyshighschool.co.uk

Information about the dinner, tickets etc, can be obtained from plynn@harton-tc.co.uk