The later years, 1927 to 1979
Lt Col Norman H. Mattock ran the school for four years from 1927 and Mr T.H.L. Bayley took over at the beginning of 1931. However another tragedy befell the school: he was drowned during the 1933 holidays at Perranporth. Another unexpected death of the headteacher occurred on 5th December 1941. Mr R.C. Worthing complained of acute sickness at 9am, went home and died at about 2.30pm.
In 1930 the school began to use the Memorial Hall in Summer Road because of the large numbers of children that had to be accommodated, but in 1947 it was reorganised as a Primary Junior and Infant, thereby losing the senior pupils to Formans Road Secondary Modern, and the Girls and Boys Secondary Modern schools at Hartfield Crescent. From the 1950s onwards there were even more severe problems with getting work done on the buildings, as the school was due to be demolished. These had their final farcical expression on virtually the last day of the school's existence in July 1979 as workmen turned up to do tiling, according to Eunice Bradshaw. She sent them away. St Mary's school closed on 20th July 1979, by which time it had only 54 pupils. Mrs Bradshaw organised a celebrations day and exhibition. There had been Centenary celebrations in 1974, in which 280 guests and visitors took part. Eunice Bradshaw worked at the school for thirty years, and in its latter years it became known as Mrs Bradshaw's school. She told us that she arrived late for her interview in 1949, because her car had broken down, only to meet the Vicar, Revd Philip Kelly, on his way out. He told her she had got the job anyway, on his recommendation: she was very well known at St Mary's church.
An article appeared in the Evening Mail on 20th June 1979, just before the school closed. In there, Mrs Irene Hall, nee Bramhall c. 1898, related her memories of the school. Some of her words are reproduced below:
"I can remember during one very hard winter, the headmaster, Mr Rose sent me up to the bakers' to buy loaves and butter to feed the poorer children. I was about eleven then. Later Hardings the bakers used to send raspberry jam sandwiches and an urn of cocoa down every morning for the poor children's breakfast and my mother, Martha Bramhall used to bring it to the school".
The logbooks for this period tell of some fatal road accidents to pupils, increasing burglaries as the school acquired electrical equipment, discipline issues, and, of course, the Second World War, in addition to the normal recording of educational and building matters.
18th October 1940 The Air Raid Shelters sustained a direct hit from an enemy bomb at 8.35 on 17th inst.: two shelters were demolished and the remainder rendered unsafe for use. The wall of the lavatories was badly fractured, the asphalt playground was cracked in many places, the roof holed in two places and a great quantity of window glass shattered. No one was on the school premises when they were struck and no casualties occurred. (The school reopened on 4th November, on a voluntary basis until the shelters could be repaired. Amazingly, the shelters remained until September 1973).
25th November 1940 Parents registered their children for evacuation.
30th January 1941 89 children evacuated to East Retford, Notts. 192 still at school.
3th December 1941. 6 evacuated to Kirkby in Ashfield.
6th February 1953 Following complaints that Mr. Jones has been caning children, I have today sent round a notice to all members of the staff reminding them that in cases where caning is considered the only means of punishing some misdemeanour, the punishment book must be signed and the punishment entered. No girls may be caned, and no corporal punishment may be inflicted on girls by men on the staff.
One day in the late 1950s, Eunice Bradshaw noticed a man looking round the school, and asked him what he wanted. He, one Claude Vincent, explained that he had once been a pupil, but had emigrated to Nova Scotia and made his fortune as a tailor. Seeing an opportunity, Mrs Bradshaw persuaded him to fund an annual prize, which would consist of money towards the cost of items of school uniform, for those pupils who were going on to Grammar schools. It may seem a little odd today, but for many pupils at that time, the cost of uniforms was a real worry for parents.
A couple of pupils at the school, Violet Pretty and Lorraine Hanson, have gone on to become famous, as a film actress and an international athlete, respectively. There are pages devoted to them, with links below.
Since the school closed it has become a Church of God of Prophecy, and the building is being lovingly cared for, and has a good community use.