Sheffielder remembers Jordanthorpe schooldays

Pictures of a Sheffield school recently featured in Retro have sparked many happy memories for one reader, who is an ex-pupil.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 8:56 am
Updated Thursday, 13th June 2019, 9:35 am
Ken Cook pictured at Jordanthorpe School, Sheffield, in 1990

Jean Hibbert was responding to an article written by Ken Cook, who was headteacher at Jordanthorpe School from 1976. He was also the first head when Jordanthorpe and Rowlinson amalgamated to become Meadowhead School.

He remembered: “Rowlinson School was a secondary technical school created in 1953 serving pupils who had passed the 11 plus. Jordanthorpe was a secondary modern school built in 1954 serving the local S8 community.

Jean Hibbert's class at Jordanthorpe School, probably taken in 1961. She is third from the left on the back row

“With the development of the Lowedges estate a second school was built adjacent to the place where the Batemoor estate was to be built.

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“The two Jordanthorpe schools were separated by a playing field with a hedge to keep the boys and girls apart.

“It was not until 1966 that the single Jordanthorpe was created by the amalgamation of the boys and girls schools to form the north and south buildings.”

Jean Hibbert writes: “I have just been reading with pleasure and nostalgia and looking at the photograph of Ken Cook 1990 (Retro, June 1).

An exterior view of Jordanthorpe School (South Building), Sheffield, July 8, 1972

“I was a pupil at the mixed Jordanthorpe School. Then, as was stated in the article, a new school was built further down the school’s playing field which became Jordanthorpe Girls School.

“I was one of the first intake into this new school, leaving in 1961 at the age of 15.

“The attached photograph must have been taken in my last year there, my form teacher being Mrs Tomlinson.

“In the photograph, I am third from the left on the back row, then Jean Unwin (now Hibbert).

“I left school on the Friday and began working on the following Monday as an office junior in the office of a local firm of solicitors. My weekly wage was the princely sum of £3.

“After all these years, there are still five of us who meet up every few weeks for a coffee and a good natter.

“They are fifth from the left on the back row, Judith Waller (now Guite), fifth from the right on the back row, Joan Parsons (now Jackson), third from the right, second row, Cynthia Kay (now Haywood).

“Fifth from the left, front row, next to Mrs Tomlinson, is Pauline Whittock (now Wilde).

“Needless to say, we all have grandchildren and one even a great-grandchild. Looking back, such happy days.

”Meadowhead School is now built on the site of the former schools and my two grandchildren, now aged 17 and 19, have been pupils there within the last 12 to 18 months.

“Recently, whilst looking through a bedside drawer, I unearthed the brochure for the actual opening ceremony of the Girls School. Within it are contained photographs of some of the classrooms, gym, hall, and flat.  

“There are also names of all the teachers and Miss Prebble, the headmistress, together with the name of all the contractors involved.

“There was also an outline of the size of the school  and the cost of the land and the building thereon. What an eye opener.

“Accordingly I contacted Mr Fowler, until recently the headmaster at Meadowhead School, and told him what I had found and would he be interested to see the  brochure to compare the cost of the land and building of the Girls School then to that of today and the building of Meadowhead School?

“So, along my husband and I went for an appointment with Mr Fowler and his assistant. They had also found memorabilia from when the old school was demolished, this being in the form of about 12 photograph albums of years gone by.

“Mr. Fowler asked me to take them home with me and try to put as many names to faces as I could.

“This I did one Saturday evening, with the help of a friend who had been in the year below me.

“Such an entertaining evening that was  looking at the photographs and laughing at beehive hairstyles worn by the girls, together with short or three-quarter-length white socks, even up until our day of leaving.

“How times have changed.”