Since the school was opened in 1901, there have been 8 headmasters, all of whom have developed our school in different ways to where it is today. By referencing snippets of information in the school library and a centenary book of our history published in 2000, this collation gives an interesting outline to Dr. Lewis’ predecessors.
Starting in Edwardian England, Dr. Fenwick (or ‘tiger’ as he was otherwise known) established Bournemouth School and initiated things that all subsequent generations of Bournemouthians take for granted. The Houses (although being named differently as Barraclough, Sewell, Taylor and Ord), school sports teams (although rugby was established after his time) and the Cadet Corps are a few of the lasting effects Dr. Fenwick had on our school.
Dr. E. Fenwick (1901-1932) A keen sportsman, encouraging cricket, football and athletics. In the early days, when students payed fees of £100 p. a., some boarded in his house. Bournemouth School, or ‘Bournemouth Secondary and Technical School’ as it was known then, began on the 22nd of January 1901 (the day Queen Victoria died) – 54 boys attended with two full-time and two part-time members of staff. He established the Cadets Corps in 1903, consisting of 68 members. The first house system was established in 1908. He set himself and his students ferociously high standards.
After 33 years as headmaster, he was succeeded by Mr. Parry, who, during his 25 years, oversaw the transition from Porchester Road to East Way. How hard it must have been for these two headmasters to endure the effects of World War I and II.
An old boy recollects “I remember him as a small, august and horn-rimmed eminence whom we saw mainly at school assemblies”
Mr. J. E. Parry (1932-1957) A small, charismatic man with a pronounced Welsh accent, always wearing his academic gown and mortar board in school. He held his head far back in an attitude of aloof dignity. He also had a sense of drama – once expelling a boy in an assembly in front of the entire school in a display of oracular intensity. He oversaw the transition to East Way from Porchester Road and therefore the sharing of the school with pupils from Tauton School (relocated from Southampton) during WWII.
The third headmaster was Mr. Bennett, who fulfilled the role for 15 years.
“…the headmaster, Eric Bennett, had come up with a new idea: that boys studying Arts subjects in the 6th had to do an hour a week of general science and those of us choosing science, an hour of something from the Arts side” – Barry Doe, pupil 1957 – 1964
“The headmaster at the time was an ex-Military Intelligence Officer and you can imagine what kind of rigid school regime that might imply” – Barry Hurell, pupil ’50s / ’60s
Mr. E. G. Bennett (1957-1970) Academic excellence attained new heights with the regular expectation for virtually every sixth former to enter university. The girls’ school moved to the bottom of East Way in 1960, previously occupying buildings in Lansdowne (now part of the college). However, all interaction between the girls and boys was strictly forbidden. He commissioned the building of the sixth form block, which was opened in 1968, expanding the school in line with the significant increase of pupils during this period.
Mr. Harper took over in 1971, facing financial and political difficulties; Bournemouth School did well to survive as a grammar. He retired a decade later.
Mr. H. P. Harper (1971-1981) A more relaxed leader, promoting a happy relationship between pupils and staff. He faced a politically turbulent decade: Bournemouth became part of Dorset, in which there was a blatant hostility to grammar schools. Both Bournemouth Schools fought hard to preserve their grammar status, and formed, along with Parkstone and Poole Grammars, the only remaining grammar schools in Dorset. There were also large cuts in finances and staff. Furthermore, during a night in May 1973, the old school hall was burnt down (reportedly arson, although the perpetrators were never caught). The replacement was finished two years later.
John Kelsall was appointed after acting as deputy-head for three and a half years, and after a further eight years he too moved on from the School.
Mr. J. A. B. Kelsall (1982-1987) After two terms of uncertainty during which he had had been in office as Acting Headmaster, it was a relief to see Mr. Kelsall’s appointment in the Summer of 1982. He was the first headmaster to move to another post; all of his predecessors had left only upon retirement.
Colonel Allan Petrie arrived as headmaster in 1987. The five current Houses were created during Mr. Petrie’s time. The art and technology blocks were built in 1996, replacing the prefabricated huts of which only one remains: the drama studio. He departed in 1996, to be succeeded by John Granger.
Col. A. F. P. Petrie (1987-1996) Col. Petrie came to us from the Duke of York’s Royal Military School in Dover, bringing an absolute insistence on standards. His clarity was a useful and constructive irritant to the students. The school gained Grant Maintained status in 1990. In 1992, the arrangement of a Lower School, Middle School and Sixth Form gave way to a vertical pastoral system (helping develop more coherence in the growing school). The house system was also reformed into the five we use today. He oversaw the building of new science laboratories and the technology and arts blocks.
Although it was during Mr. Granger‘s time that the Sir David English Centre was built, it was in fact the brainchild of his predecessor, Col. Petrie. More extensions to the schools were made through careful management of limited budgets, and our status changed to ‘Foundation School’ (from being ‘ruled’ by Bournemouth Education Committee in the years up to 1973; being under the thumb of Dorset County Council from 1974 to 1990; and having its independence as a Grant Maintained school from 1990-1999).
Mr. J. Granger (1996-2009) In September 1999 we changed format to become a Foundation School, having been ‘ruled’ by Bournemouth Education Committee up to 1973; under the thumb of Dorset County Council between 1974 and 1990 and having its independence as a Grant Maintained school from 1990 to 1999. It was also during this time that the Music and Language Departments were extended and the Sir David English Centre was built. The continuation of extensions to the rear continued as Mr. Granger joined, with the Maths Block being built in 1996. The school also acquired its temporary language college status.
Dr. D. P. Lewis took office in 2009.