West Sussex Unwrapped 2021 – Eastergate School, 170 Years of Education

This month the subject of West Sussex Unwrapped is the primary school at Eastergate near Chichester. The package we have prepared with our partner, the West Sussex Record Office, features film, photographs and some remarkable documents.  Visit the WSRO blog here.

The main film is A New School for Eastergate. Made in 1970, it documents the design and opening of a new open-plan school with a ‘one big large area, nothing wasted on corridors’ type of design which replaced the village’s traditional Victorian school. The new school also possessed a ‘controlled environment’ with fewer windows and more centralised illumination and ventilation. This approach was promoted by the makers of the film, the Electricity Council, who had formed a unique collaboration between the University of Newcastle and the County Council’s architects when designing and building the new school.

(With thanks to the Energy Networks Association for permission to use the film).

Below are some films in our collection which feature a variety of state, private and special schools from across our region. You can view and enjoy each film by simply clicking the film title below

Camp Schools

Sheephatch School near Farnham in Surrey is the focus of this film from the late 1940s that looks at teenage students at a residential school which specialises in an outdoor approach to teaching.

Sports Event

Pupils from the Sharrow Preparatory School enjoy participating in a variety of track and field events, an exercise display and a couple of novelty races where Mums and Dads join their children in the fun.

The School Farm

Members of the Young Farmer’s Club at Rye Secondary Modern School are the stars of this amateur documentary which charts their work on the school farm over the course of a year. The boys and girls are seen tending and shearing the sheep, feeding the ducks and raising their ducklings, ploughing the fields and growing their own before the year ends with a rollicking Christmas Party.

Royal Russell School – Queen’s Visit in 1963

Pupils and parents delight in the visit of HRH the Queen to the Royal Russell School, of which she is a patron. Surrounded by school staff, local dignitaries and a mass of millinery, the Queens entourage drives past a parade of boys dressed in army cadet uniforms.

A Day in the Life of the School

Boys at the residential Burwood Park School for the Deaf are seen engaging in lessons, sports, art and crafts, printing their own school newspaper and country dancing with local girls as well as learning to communicate through speech in this look at a day in the life of the school – where the boys themselves provide the commentary.

Air-Raid Practise at Knoll School, Hove

Education under fire is the theme of this remarkable film from 1940. Featuring a number of scenarios, we see classes of infants, juniors and seniors reacting to air-raid sirens by donning their gas-masks, abandoning their domestic science class and their metalwork and dashing to the shelters where their lessons continue. After they hear the All Clear, the children indulge in some playground games where the girls, who ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ fall over have their ‘wounds’ dressed by Matron.

Watch out for our next presentation on the 11th of May, when we’ll be featuring life at a real ‘Downton Abbey’ near Horsham called Warnham Court. Here you’ll see tennis parties, bee-keeping and a lavish society wedding from over 100 years ago. It’ll all be happening up at the Big House on the 11th of May!