Thornbury and District Museum

April 28 2017
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A WEBSITE that was created to build up a collection of former Thornbury Grammar School memorabilia has just become the responsibility of the museum.

A WEBSITE that was created to build up a collection of former Thornbury Grammar School memorabilia has just become the responsibility of the museum.

The site was originally developed by Mick Munns, a pupil at the school in the late 1950s and early 1960s who went on to become a biochemist.

Born in West Yorkshire in 1947, Mick and his family moved to the Bristol area when he was young. Mick later studied at Exeter University and despite moving away from the area, continued to have a strong interest in his schooldays, including attending reunions and developing the website.

With the help of Dave Webb, Mick gathered together a collection of photographs and thanks to him putting this information online, a lasting record is now available to everyone.

Material on the website features not only the school itself but also its teachers and pupils. Changes in fashions alone give a fascinating record of social change from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s.

After Mick’s death, the website was taken over by Steve Heaven of Thornet but when he retired, the museum agreed to take over responsibility for it and preserve the collection.

The school has a long history, with an original free school in existence in Castle Street in 1606 and probably much earlier.

In 1869 the charity commissioners suggested merging the school, which was already referred to as a grammar school, with Attwell’s Free School in St Mary Street.

Ten years later, the new Thornbury Grammar School was formally established and George Nixon was appointed headmaster, a position he held for the next 28 years.

The Castle Street premises were also sold and a piece of land in Gloucester Road bought, on which the first schoolroom was built. At first only boys were taught but in 1906 a new classroom was built and alterations made to admit girls.

 Further development over the following years led to the school having more than 600 pupils on roll by 1956.

The Thornbury Grammar School name survived for 93 years but it closed in 1972 when the staff and pupils were moved to Marlwood School in Alveston, leaving the Gloucester Road site to be taken over by the Castle School and used as their sixth form block.

Visit www.thornburygrammar.org.uk for further information about the school and to view the collection of pictures, 

Information and photographs courtesy of Thornbury and District Museum.