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Brighton Grammar School 1911

This photograph shows Brighton Grammar School (now BHASVIC Sixth Form College) when it was situated in Buckingham Road. The school had its origins in the Brighton Proprietary Grammar and Commercial School, founded in July 1859 at Lancaster House, 47 Grand Parade.

The building is decorated for the Coronation of King George V which was on the 22nd June 1911. When the school moved to a site off Dyke Road, the building then became the Sussex Maternity Hospital and after that a County Council social education centre.

Brighton Grammar School, 1911
Photograph from the private collection of Harry Atkins

Comments about this page

  • I was born in what was then Sussex Maternity Hospital in Buckingham Road in 1949. It was only after I started at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School on its final Dyke Road /Old Shoreham Road site in 1960 that I found out I’d been born at its previous site. Came full circle, you might say.

    By Len Liechti (22/06/2010)
  • Like Len, I also came full circle, having been born in the Buckingham Road Maternity Hospital in February 1941 (during an air raid I am told) and started at the school in Dyke Road in September 1952. Furthermore, I ended my working life in Trafalgar Place, just a few hundred yards from Buckingham Road in January 2001. Did a lot of travelling around the world during the intervening years though! I notice you still haven’t joined the Past & Present Association, Len, despite your obvious lasting affection for the school!

    By Bruce Rawlings (30/06/2010)
  • Well, Bruce, they say you should never go back. What’s that lyric in Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer” – “Saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac”, etc? My experiences at the school left me with very mixed memories as those years were pretty turbulent for me in many respects, although as you say I do retain a nostalgic affection for the old alma mater. I’ve thought frequently about joining the P&PA, and will continue to do so.

    By Len Liechti (13/07/2010)
  • My brother Brian Smith, who lived in Over Street attended this school from 1945. His name was changed to Sutton later. Anyone remember him?

    By Jean Lofts (31/01/2011)
  • Interesting coincidences. I too was born in this building (1945) when it was the Maternity Hospital and also attended B.H.S.G.S. (from 1956-1963). The photo’s special interest is surely its 100 years from the present – presumably the bunting is for K.G.V’s coronation (it’s hard to make out the wording). Yes, it was after attending the school, for me as well, that I learned about my earlier connection with its origins. I’ve always been a schoolteacher in adult life but never experienced a school which had such worthwhile standards as I remember were found at the Grammar School. I suppose that memories produce mellow reflections, but I think that the years there were time well spent.

    By Stuart Leggett (06/04/2011)
  • I am curious to know what year the Buckingham Road location stopped being used as the Grammar School and began use as a Maternity Hospital? Was Dyke Road the School’s location directly following the Buckingham Road site? I’ve been trying to find this information online and am coming up empty. Many thanks!

    By C. Schmidt (22/03/2013)
  • Hi, it would appear that the Maternity Hospital moved onto the site around 1923, the earliest year that it appears in a directory at that address. Although the school had moved out of its original home, with the advent of WW1, the Dyke Road Grammar School buildings were utilised as a military hospital and the premises in Buckingham Road were listed as the ‘Temporary Premises of Brighton Grammar School’. From 1920 onwards the school moved into its new home. It would appear that some residential usage took place between the vacating of the premises by the school and its subsequent occupation by the maternity hospital. Regards, Andy.

    By Andy Grant (24/03/2013)
  • It is also noteworthy that September 2013 will be the centenary of the school’s transfer to the Dyke Road site from Buckingham Road and this is being marked in various ways by BHASVIC (the sixth form college that succeeded the school in the 1970s) and the Past & Present Association – more details will soon be posted on the Past& Present Association page.

    By Bruce Rawlings (26/03/2013)
  • My time at the Grammar and latterly at BHASVIC was from 1971 to 1978 as a boarder, until, as I recall myself Dave Powell and Mike Scott were expelled after the ‘A’ levels meaning we could not enjoy a few weeks at the beach. My memories are fond ones generally and some of those mentioned will no doubt remember me. Alec, I stared at Kevin “King” Cobbs’ Triptych for quite some time in his little room ,later mine and Mike Scott’s study; it was surely the Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch? In later years several of us played bridge on a Sunday afternoon with Kevin Cobb, among them was John Coates and I seem to recall us drinking Ind Coope Long Life beer. I remember a cycle ride over the downs where Alec and I had a coming together resulting in Alec cycling a very bent wheeled bike quite a few miles with no brakes. John Coote was head boy of Marshall House in 1971 and others I remember were James Gilchrist, Cannon, Mark Daly, Truck Laurie, Paxton, Barry Arnold and his brother, Vonn and Mick Reynolds, Simpson, Mark Dobson, Dominic Mahony, George Coles, Simon Galton, Keith Crowhurst, Mark Leighton, Jonathon Power, Nigel ‘Horse’ Parslow, Freeman, Glendenning, Guy Salvidge, Fawcett, Kevin Spears, Colin Printer, Rod Eeles, Guy Hornsby, Cliff Stratford, Gary Martin, Hopkins, Gilham, Gary Lawrie, Phillips, David Convisser, Mark Eade, Steve Grant, Andy Benham, Andy Muddle, Mortlock, John Luchford, Paul Clark and probably a few others if I really put my mind to it. I certainly remember the Hot and Colds in the sinks at the end of the dorm, the bog washes and running the gauntlet, I also remember the dorm raids with bars of soap being hurled among other items. The poor sheets and pillows mainly repaired, with our names signed on both pillows and mattresses; since I always selected the best for myself by arriving back early. The apple pies and pancake beds probably caused the damage together with pillow fights and the gauntlet. Of course the food was dire, we would use our command of Latin thus, quis- ego to barter club biscuits, penguins and the like for an apple or orange. The milk in the evening and the stale toast, if you got there in time, green fish fingers for a few weeks, pilchards, prunes, tinned tomatoes. The best bit was apple and blackberry pie when we picked blackberries after Devil’s Dyke tag. Queuing in house order, for pocket money 25 p a week, which based on behaviour usually meant I was last. In the early days Marshall House got hammered in all house sports apart from swimming at North Road much to the annoyance of Killer Reeve who ran Ireland house (green). Once our numbers swelled a little we were unbeatable and the double figure scores against us in football were reversed to a similar extent. We won just about every house sport though Jeremy Dyer and Martin Gillam ruled tennis, but they were only one pair in three. The Headmaster was Rodgers nicknamed ‘Weasel’ who gave me the cane for flicking ink at others and Mr ‘Spot’ Leppard; because we used fountain pens. I started in 1L along with Rick Kendall and Ashley Paton who sadly died so young after doing ‘O’ Levels. The other forms were 1B Percy Blowers and 1A Don Anderson, after that I went to 2S Mr Stannard (English) who gave me 0/10 for my hastily composed limericks and the obligatory detention. Since I spent Mondays (Prefect detention), Tuesdays and Thusday (Half hour) and up to three hours Saturday morning in detention most weeks I must have been the pupil from hell to many masters. Mr James gave me a few hours for failing to get enough marks in proving theorems, trust me his hearing was not impaired enough not to give me a detention for calling him quietly by his nickname. That will do for now, maybe some more of this tirade in future. 

    By Grant Liechti (07/08/2013)
  • I’m doing my family history and one of my ancestors was a teacher here in 1933. He was called Herbert Victor Ansell – does anyone have any info or photos? If so I would be very grateful. Many thanks.

    By Rachel Grantham (16/09/2013)
  • Absque Labore Nihill, and all that nonsense. My time at this school was a complete waste of time. Full of jumped up pompous wannabe lawyers, and teachers so full of tradition and rules that the average lad from a working class background didn’t stand a chance. I went to this school in ’72-77 and struggled in lessons for the duration. I excelled in sport, notably football, where I captained the school for 5 years. Most teachers had no time for me and our little crew: Ant Lias, Spud Howard, Tony Padfield, Keith Carnochan and Kev Driver (sadly deceased). I still have a drink with Ant, mainly because we are on the same wavelength as far as the important things in life go. The grammar school did me no favours, after being expelled leading up to the O levels I wasn’t even asked back to take them.

    By Keith Fogden (09/04/2014)
  • I totally agree with Keith Fogden. When I was at Varndean, it was the same  there. If the teachers could see that  a pupil or pupils were university  material, the rest of you were just put through the motions.

    By Harry Atkins (28/04/2014)
  • My uncle Brian attended the school in 1927-1933. I have photos of him in various operas as he excelled in singing, and apparently, at a prize giving, sang a duet with Sir John Read, ex chairman of EMI. Brian was killed during WWII in 1941. A tragedy to one so gifted. My grandparents never really got over the death of their beloved son. I have been in contact with Mark Gillingham to obtain copies of his school career from the school magazine. I would also like to contact Sir John Read, but being that he would be in his late 90s, I fear that is an impossibility.

    By Bonny Cother (19/05/2014)
  • Bonny, it may be possible for you to be in contact with Sir John Read who now lives in London – if you let me have your contact details, I will happily pass them to Sir John with a suggestion that he contact you. My own contact details can be found on the ‘Join the Past and Present Association’ page – see link on this page.

    By Bruce Rawlings (25/05/2014)
  • I too went to BH&SGS from 1952 to 1960 and really loved it. Some very happy memories. Sadly, I’ve kept up with no-one from my time there. Howard Blake (composer of The Snow Man) was two years ahead of me and Terence Wilton (two years below) followed me into the acting profession. I’d love to go round the building again. Coincidentally, my elder daughter was born in the Sussex Maternity Hospital in March 1965 – not quite full circle as someone wrote but close!

    By Peter Wilkins (17/09/2014)
  • My great uncle Kenneth Adair went to Brighton Grammar School in 1911. He was 13 at the time and this shows up on the census. He is shown as a boarder so I assume it took boarders at that time.  I wonder if there are records of the pupils at that time as I would like to find out more about his early years as would my mother. He passed away in 1971.

    By Alan Evans (01/12/2016)
  • Alan, I contacted the archivist of the Past & Present Association and, having researched his records he comments:

    “All the school records record his name as CHARLES ADAIR, as does the 1911 Census.

    The school admission card is dated February 1910 and he left the school in December 1913. He was in the boarding (Marshall) house throughout that time and his last term at the school was at its new premises in Dyke Road, following its move from the Buckingham Road building. His main achievements at school appear to have been in swimming and shooting. He was in his house shooting team in both 1912 and 1913. He had the second best average shooting score in the school in 1913. He was in his house water polo team in the school swimming sports in 1912. In the 1913 swimming sports, he was a member of the winning Marshall house team in the team race which they won in a school record time. In 1913, at the school athletics sports day in May, he was a member of the winning Marshall house tug-of-war team. The Marshall house notes in the school magazine in February 1914 recorded that he had left at Christmas saying “we have also suffered the loss of Trevers and Adair, both of whom we shall miss at football and shooting rspectively”. There is no mention of him in the school magazine after February 1914.” I hope this will help you in your own research.

    By Bruce Rawlings (13/01/2017)
  • Hi Bruce, Thank you so much for the information regarding Charles (Kenneth) Adair. Kenneth was his middle name. My mum will be glad to hear the news as she knows little about his early life.

    By Alan Evans (30/12/2017)
  • I stumbled across this page and was very interested in the comments. I also was born in the old school in April 1938 and went to the new school at Dyke road in 1949 from Haywards Heath. I spent my time in Chichester house. I will remember where this is and look back.

    By Bob Awcock (25/04/2018)
  • Hello Bruce Rawlings,

    I am interested in the fact that you refer to a school admission card.  I attended the Grammar School from 1951 to 1956. I am an amateur genealogist  and have had many dealings with Admission Registers for Brighton Schools which are kept at the Keep and are readily accessible. Unfortunately they do not have the Grammar school registers and I have been wondering where they are and how can I view them. Do you know anything about them?

    By Peter D.Guy (26/04/2018)
  • Hi.  Was a pupil from 1971. Would like to get in touch with Grant Lietchi after many years. So many good memories. Main problem was the beds and the cold showers.

    By Mike scott (18/06/2018)
  • Hello Bob Awcock,

    You must have still been at the School when I started in Marshall house in 1952. I see that you are not a member of the Past & Present Association (which succeeded the Old Boys’ Association when the grammar school became BHASVIC). It would be great if you would join – see details on the ‘Join the Past and Present Association’ page of this website. Our 2018 annual reunion lunch will take place in the old School Hall on Saturday, 14th July.

    By Bruce Rawlings (20/06/2018)
  • Hello Peter D Guy,

    You don’t say whether you yourself are an Old Boy of the Grammar School. If you are, why don’t you join the Past & Present Association – see separate page for details of how. You could then pursue the registers and admission cards, which are in the custody of our archivist. I hope this helps.

    By Bruce Rawlings (20/06/2018)
  • Hello Mike Scott,

    I’m afraid Grant Lietchi is not a member of the Past & Present Association and neither are you, so I can’t help you directly. Perhaps you would both like to consider joining the Association – see separate page on this website. From your comment, it sounds as if you, like me, were in Marshall house, though somewhat later – I was a pupil from 1952 till 1959. As you say, good memories!

    By Bruce Rawlings (20/06/2018)
  • It may interest any former pupils of of this school to know that there is a masonic lodge known as the Past and Present, the lodge number 2665, they meets four times a year at 25 Queens Road Brighton and any past pupils that are members always wear the old school tie when attending meetings. The lodge was consecrated in 1897 and would welcome new members, particularly from this school.
    Geoff Wells.

    By Geoff Wells (16/08/2020)
  • Thank you Geoff for posting the information about the Past and Present Lodge. I assume that you are a past pupil (Old Boy) of the Grammar School yourself but I note from my membership records that you are not a member of the Past & Present Association (formerly the Old Boys’ Association or OBA for short). We would like to welcome you as a member – details of how to join are in the “Join the Past & Present Association” section of this website. I look forward to hearing from you and any other Old Boys who would like to join.

    By Bruce Rawlings (15/11/2020)
  • Anyone have a contact for Keith Crowhurst?..Marshall house 75-77
    Martin Owens

    By Martin Owens (08/12/2020)
  • I’ve recently come across some magic lantern slides showing the picture of the school in 1911 decorated. I also have some pictures of what I believe to be students at the school. One picture which we assume were two teachers. Would you be able to help or confirm the teachers were actually at the school ? I’m taking it would be in the period of 1900/10 A lot of the slides are from the Brighton and Hove area and I’m situated in Yorkshire. It’s proved very interesting for my grandchildren to try to unravel the mystery photos. Any help would be much appreciated.

    By Colin Stephenson (16/02/2022)
  • I was interested to read your post about the lantern slides as I am the archivist of the Past & Present Association (formerly Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School Old Boys’ Association)
    If you are able to upload the ones relating to the school, I will see if I can identify anyone.

    By Mark Gillingham (18/02/2022)

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