Bowdon Church School 1969 Group Photo & Brochure For The New School

Bowdon Church School Photo 1969

Few people realise just how old Bowdon Church School actually is let alone its original location. We gained rare access to a school brochure from the St Mary’s Church archive which was issued in 1969 to show plans for the new school on Grange Rd.

Bowdon Church School was established by the adjoining church in 1553 during the reigns of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey and Mary I (If you look at the history of the Tudor monarchs you’ll find out why we list all three!). According to Mrs Martin’s blog, it was partly funded by one Edward Janny who was a Manchester merchant.

Bowdon ChurchThe church itself was possibly established by Archbishop Theodore around 669AD – there is certainly evidence of it from that time according to the parish history. In 1100 a stone church was erected, the area being known as Bogedone (Bow shaped hill) at that time. It was rebuilt again in 1320 during the reign of Edward II and partially rebuilt in 1510. It was mostly demolished in 1858 and “a new church opened its doors on the 27th September 1860, at a total cost of £12,372.”

The school was rebuilt in the 17c and then again at the start of the 19c on the corner of Stamford Road and Richmond Road in the centre of Bowdon opposite The Griffin, where it stood up until 1971. The contents of the brochure reveal the designs for the new school along with a proposed cost of £60,000, £12,000 of which would come from the parish.

Bowdon Church School Brochure

In September 1969 the school opened its doors to the children from the top of the hill in a now legendary ‘walking the books’ procession. Where all of the children who were at the school at the time carried their books down the hill to the new school.

Walking The Books

I was one of those children and remember the walk very well! I discussed it with current Head Mrs Martin, whose blog we linked to above when I visited the school with my Grandson who now attends. The old school was on the point of falling down and I remember clearly bits of plaster falling on us from the decaying Victorian ceiling above. There was a sweet shop just over the road from the playground entrance on Richmond Rd which is now a called Media House. Prefabs were erected as temporary accommodation, later used by the Scouts and these were finally replaced by the new Community Centre.

The New Bowdon Church School

When we started at the new school everything was so new. I remember the very low plastic chairs that we sat on and the trays that we used to store all of our books that slid into low units that we could reach.

The brochure is a fascinating insight into the ‘new’ school and how it was funded. There is even an introduction by Canon Ridgeway whose twin sons were in my class. The family lived at the Vicarage which sits at the top of Church Brow. It also contains some amazing photographs! Can you spot yourself in the photo above? We have left it very large to preserve as much detail as possible.

Here is the rest of the brochure. If you have further photos of the exterior of the old school then please let us see them!

H&A© 2017


  1. Hi
    I actually attended Bowdon Church school and was delighted to see myself on the photograph and pick out some school friends too.
    I do have vague memories of the school where we ate lunch etc and going around to the Church if my memory serves me right on a Wednesday and also of the naughtiest boy in our class whom I shall not mention any names.
    May I ask would it be possible to have a copy of this photograph please which I will willingly pay for.
    Thank you in great anticipation

  2. i remember you sharon i was same class did you always sit next to caron lear at the back of class a few other i rem helen harwood serer davis elspeth evans me i sat at front with rob shaw andrew pimlott bryan hollingsworth me i was colin carnt rem others been looking for pic of the school but none one more i just rem lesley arnald can you name any more??

  3. I attended Bowden School and all those names are familiar to me too, also Tracy Fosberry, Rachel Lewis, Christine Hyde, Timothy Jenkins, Deborah Bradshaw, Denise Pimlott and you Colin. 🙂
    Lovely to see these pictures .

    • More names to add to yours Steve Robinson, Gareth Roberts, Jon Bettley, Alison Phasey as well as yours truly. I believe it is Tim Jenkinson and trying to remember some of the teachers Like Mr Broadhurst and Mrs Ferguson. How about the Gilbert and Sullivan nights I have a copy of the Pirates of Penzance.

      Great memories thanks Colin.

      • a few more names you mentioned open my memory more i rem your name alison phasey garath roberts steve robinson mike large if you have any old pic of this school i would love to see them as iv looked all over internet looking for a pic with me on it i rem school pic taken in the playground but carnt find any i dont rem the play u mentioned “” me im 62 now live in cyprus “”mrs harwood the teacher i no her daughter helen who was in my class lives in spain “”the guys from bowdon vale at this school i still know good memories from long ago””

        • I only have the cast list and have scanned it but can’t send it to you. On the subject of dramatics does anyone remember the Vacation club and their production of Toad of Toad Hall? I also have the program for that and could share if you want.

      • A name from the past Tim if you are on F/B I have posted copies of the cast on the Bowdon Vale site hope it brings back more good memories.

  4. hi lynne yes its long time ago but i still have memories of the school like free milk at playtime and even rem the xmas parties we all got a present and mr beswick headmaster many times i got told to stand outside the classroom as i did something wrong and he would take me in his office yes i rem tim jenkins and denise pimlott but i looked all over internet just hoping i could find pic of the school or school pic with me on it but with no luck also its not easy to find girls from the school as change name so even fb is impossible but anyway i have it in my memory as im sure you do so hope your doing well like me by for now colin

  5. I have looked at the names on the 1970 cast list M.Large, M.Barrett, A.Robertson, R.Jones, F.Smith, The Morrison twins Joan and Ruth and many more. Some of the teachers are named Miss Green, Mrs Harwood and Mrs Beswick. If you would like the full list let me know.

    • Well good morning chris and all are church school days and remember alot or all the names.i am Nigel Kennerley who lived at bow grèen farm bow lane. Reading alot of different details which i remember well, walking down Richland rd holding hands in pairs crossing
      Langham rd then down grange rd to a building that looked unbelievable walking through the doors and see lights and new type ceiling loads more to say.

  6. Is anyone there from Mr. Evan’s class during the 1977 – 1978 year? Also there was another teacher for the 10-11 year olds but I can’t remember her name. I was only there for that one year, and would like to get in touch with anyone. A long time ago, but I have found some friends on Facebook, but others I would like to find. Thanks!

  7. Well good morning chris and all are church school days and remember alot or all the names.i am Nigel Kennerley who lived at bow grèen farm bow lane. Reading alot of different details which i remember well, one of many others is walking down Richland rd holding hands in pairs crossing
    Langham rd then down grange rd to a building that looked unbelievable walking through the doors and to see lighting and a new type ceiling it was like a space ship alot lot more to add and reply if You do so wish!


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