The St. Peter's Hill Protest Association

Ancestor Gateway Forum - STAMFORD MEMORIES GATEWAY (Lincolnshire England) used as PRIDE and PREJUDICE FILM SET New Topic  |  Search
Thread Topic: The St. Peter's Hill Protest Association
Topic Originator: Tom Fitchett
Post Date October 30, 2014 @ 2:57 PM
 The St. Peter's Hill Protest Association
 The St. Peter's Hill Protest Association

Tom Fitchett
October 30, 2014 @ 2:57 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

The St Peters Hill Protest Association
     In 1970 there was a crisis in primary school education in Stamford.  Population increase with the large scale 1960s house building programme had resulted in a shortage of primary school places.  The old Kesteven county council was responsible for Stamford education at that time and they had applied to the Minister of State for Education to include a new school for the town in the current building programme but this had been refused.  Existing schools were already operating above the desired class numbers. At the education committee meeting in March 1970 they decided to reopen the 132 year old St Peters Hill premises which had been condemned for some years but had not been demolished.  This was not appreciated by  the parents of eligible children at the time who did not want them to be taught in a Victorian slum.  In the Stamford Mercury the editors opinion said   This school is drab ,dreary and dismal, it consists of three barn like classrooms with not a blade of grass within hundreds of yards and a busy main road at the school gate.  After a public meeting held on April 2nd a protest association was formed.
     Under the chairmanship of the late Keith Cardell a working committee was formed consisting of myself with Mr C E Knight , Mrs Stonehouse,  Mrs Clark, Mrs P Black, Mrs D King, Irene & Alan Simpson and Max Winslow.  We set to work organising the protest in the shape of public demonstrations, a public petition which swiftly attracted 350 names, letters to the Press, intensive lobbying of county council officers and councillors and parliament. We also put in very visible appearances at county council meetings.  We offered alternative solutions to the problem which were rejected on grounds of cost
     At a site meeting with council officers we were appalled  at the state of the premises and  put forward  our objections which included rising damp, dry rot, woodworm, vermin, and adjacent industrial noise.  Dangerous floorboards, unguarded steps, low mounted electric power points and gas taps.  Inadequate fire exits, toilets, heating, ventilation, lighting and natural daylight.  Poor staff room and playground facilities, Total lack of Physical Recreation facilities, kitchen facilities or hot water.
     We were never large in numbers but we made a lot of noise and although we failed in our prime objective of an alternative arrangement to St Peters Hill we did succeed in having most of the above objections put right before it opened in September 1970.    The volume of protest generated by the association also gave  Kesteven  LEA the leverage necessary to exert pressure on the Minister of State to include the new school project into the building programme for the following year and it eventually opened in 1974  [Malcolm Sargent] after which the St Peters Hill school  finally closed for ever.

Roger Partridge
November 1, 2014 @ 9:29 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I was at the Bluecoat from 1958 to 1961, as were about 120 other boys (all boys school until 1962). I don't think any of us regarded it as a slum. Austere perhaps, but having spent 3 years at St John's, then a year in the hall behind the Trinity Methodist Church in Barn Hill, it was no worse than these.