An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St. Helens, Lancashire

Part 14 (of 92 parts) - From Robins Lane to Sutton Academy Part 1 (1909-69)

An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St.Helens
Part 14 (of 92) - Robins Lane School Part 1
A 5-part history of Robins Lane Schools & Sutton High
An Illustrated History of
Old Sutton in St.Helens
Robins Lane School 1
A 5-part history of Robins Lane Schools and Sutton High
Researched and Written by Stephen Wainwright ©MMXVII
Sutton Academy has had a quite remarkable history. For over a hundred years on two different sites, the school has taught many thousands of students under six different names, pioneered community courses and achieved great sporting as well as academic success. Originally known as Sutton Council School, it cost £13,000 to build and opened on March 1st 1909 as the first secular school in Sutton. By this time the controversy over local schools that were managed by the local authority, as opposed to the church, had died down. During the late 1890s it was a big issue during East Sutton council elections with many candidates and voters opposed to the idea of non-church schools. Another controversy was the employment of married women teachers. In 1907 when it was reported that the Board of Education had approved the plans for the building of a school in Robins Lane, St.Helens Corporation announced that all married women teachers working in elementary schools within the town were going to be sacked. This was then enshrined in law and so it seems probable that until the 1944 Education Act, which outlawed such discrimination, only single female teachers were employed at Robins Lane.

A class photograph from the Robins Lane Girls School which was taken in the 1920s

Class photo from the Robins Lane Girls School taken in the 1920s

Robins Lane 1920s class photo

The St.Helens Newspaper gave a gushing review of the new school, which they said was of a ‘somewhat different type’. They described the building as being built using Middlehurst’s ordinary bricks faced with terra cotta, although the ‘spacious’ Assembly Hall was built from Accrington pressed bricks. Middlehurst bricks had a very clean, polished look and may have been made by Thomas Middlehurst’s brickworks of St.Helens. His father John Middlehurst, incidentally, built many churches and schools in the town and laid out St.Helens cemetery. The 80 feet-long, 40 feet-wide and 30 feet-high hall particularly impressed the Newspaper’s reporter, who described it as ‘splendid’ and ‘magnificent’. As it could be separated from the classrooms, it was suggested that Sutton people could use the hall for social functions. The newspaper explained how teachers’ rooms, lavatories and storerooms led from the assembly hall, with eight classrooms within each wing. The extremity of one wing contained a room for drawing and a ‘manual training’ room, the latter accommodating twenty students at a time. The extremity of the other wing hosted the cookery department which could accommodate 18 pupils.

The works of Diespeker who sent 35 Italian craftsmen to Sutton to install a mosaic on the walls of the new school

The works of Diespeker who sent 35 Italians to Sutton to install a mosaic

The works of Diespeker who sent 35 Italians to Sutton to install a mosaic

The architect was Frank Biram, who had designed the expansion of Sutton National School in 1897, and the builder was J. Rothwell & Sons of St.Helens. Thirty-five skilled Italians employed by Diespeker of London travelled to Sutton to lay a Venetian marble mosaic on the dado (lower part of the wall) within the classrooms and hall. The St.Helens Newspaper claimed that the skilled artisans employed the same technique that had been used in the ancient city of Pompeii some 2000 years earlier. A special kind of Ashar stone had been imported by Diespeker to polish their mosaic, which was also incorporated into the corridors. The newspaper’s report described how these offered a full view of the playground, which had covered playing sheds in the event of wet weather.

Class photo from Robins Lane Girls School from 1927 - contributed by Margaret Crosbie

Class photo from Robins Lane Girls School from 1927

Robins Lane Girls School from 1927

The school was capable of accommodating 470 pupils and 300 infants and began with seven teachers. Mr. W. Gregory was the first headmaster with Miss Hosker from Ravenhead in charge of the infants. A secondary girls’ school was added about 1913 and a separate infants / primary school was later created on another site. Gregory’s successor as head of the boys’ school was Mr. Laithwaite, who took over in 1921 and remained in charge for 26 years. In September 1926 Robins Lane pupil Stanley Holland won an award in an essay competition about the advantages of bananas as food. The 13-year-old shared a £100 cheque with Florence Powell from Blackburn, in a contest that had attracted 42,000 entrants.

At the beginning of the new school year in August 1931,129 older boys and 146 girls were transferred from Sutton National School to Robins Lane. This was in response to the Hadow reports, written by influential educational reformer
William Hadow, who had called for the ending of all-age schools, the re-organisation of elementary education and the creation of secondary modern schools. This created an accommodation problem at Robins Lane, with St.Helens Council wanting to use the existing premises as a secondary school and build a new elementary or junior school for 700 children on a 3-acre site nearby. However Rev. William Colegrove, and the other managers of Sutton National, objected to the scheme and it was withdrawn. Instead Robins Lane was reorganised so as to create two senior departments accommodating 360 boys and 360 girls, as well as a mixed junior department for about 300 pupils. New accommodation for about 160 infant children was also provided.

In January 1934 the school hall was used for a treat for poor pupils who hadn't had much of a Christmas. The party became an annual event and on January 8th 1935, the St.Helens Reporter described how:
'Over four hundred needy young children from schools in East Sutton ward, to many of whom Christmas had brought little in the way of festivity, had the time of their lives on Saturday, when they thronged the great hall of Robins-lane Council school.'

On October 4th 1938 twelve-year-old
Elsie Williams of 11 Powell Street in Sutton fell and fractured her right knee at Robins Lane, while jumping a two-foot high rope during a gym class. As it had been raining, the PT teacher Maud Westworth decided to hold the class in a school corridor, which had a stone floor. The girls were jumping the rope in groups of three or four, landing on a mat, when the accident occurred. On June 21st 1940 Elsie (through her father Eli Williams) claimed damages from St.Helens Corporation at Liverpool Assizes. They denied responsibility, stating that the exercise was laid down in the Board of Education syllabus and that school inspectors had witnessed the corridor being used for such a purpose. Elsie won her case and was awarded £60 by Justice Oliver, as well as 6 guineas expenses, that’s the equivalent of about £2000 in today’s money.

A gymnasium was built at the school in 1939 costing £8000 (possibly as a result of the accident), as well as other additions and alterations, designed by architects Biram and Fletcher.
Mr. Laithwaite left the school in 1947 and for a short period, assistant head W. Williams acted as headmaster until the appointment of E. R. Rogers on April 5th 1947, who remained in charge for five years.

Robins Lane football team 1937/8 with sports teacher R.E. (Bob) Jones who played for St.Helens Recs

Robins Lane football team 1937/8 with sports teacher Bob Jones

Robins Lane football team 1937/8

The main secondary school building was in the shape of a letter 'E', with the boys occupying the left wing and the girls taught in the right wing. In the middle was the school hall which was used by both sexes, although mixed assemblies only usually occurred on Fridays. The hall also served as a gymnasium, with wall bars, rope ladders, benches, boxes, pommel horse etc., some of which was kept in the corridor next to the changing rooms. Outside some temporary buildings accommodated additional pupils for science and metalwork lessons. By the 1940s the small, sloping sports field had lost most of its grass, so sports classes were held in Sutton Park and sometimes in Sherdley Park. About 1945 both schools became secondary moderns and initially bore the titles Robins Lane Modern (Girls’) School and Robins Lane Modern (Boys') School.

The trophy-winning Robins Lane Juniors cricket team from 1947 - Contributed and identification by Geoff Chisnall

The trophy-winning Robins Lane Juniors cricket team from 1947

Robins Lane Juniors cricket team 1947

The above photograph shows the trophy-winning Robins Lane Juniors cricket team from 1947, who've just won the Wilson-Nicholson Shield. They beat Merton Bank Juniors in a low scoring game in which Robins Lane were dismissed for just 20. However Harold Saunders then took 5 wickets for 4 runs and Geoff Chisnall 5 for 7 to bowl out Merton Bank for 15. Left to right on the back row are: Cedric Brunskill, Derek Collins, Alan Mercer, Alan Brackley, Keith Rimmer, Brian Thompson, Les Lamb and Gordon Toman. Front row: Brian Proudlove, Harold Saunders, Geoff Chisnall (captain), Lem Gallyer and William Anders.
This photograph contributed by Janet Watson and her brother Len Whitfield shows the Robins Lane football team which competed in the Windle Pilkington Shield, probably in 1948. The surnames of the boys are: Back row L - R: Lawrence, Dixon, Troilett, Miller, Hunt and Whitfield. Front row L - R: Brownbill, Johnson, Gerrard, Helsby and Bailey.

Robins Lane Secondary Boys School Staff c.1950 - contributed by Harry Hickson / Geoff Chisnall

Robins Lane Secondary Boys School Staff taken about 1950

Secondary Boys School Staff c.1950

The above picture shows the Secondary Boys' School staff circa 1950. On the back row (L-R) is K.D. Carrington, Stewart M. Llewellyn, A. Humphries, F.W. Thomas, R. Tunstall, F. Bather and D. Ashcroft. On the front row is J. Bowles, W. Glover, R. Marsh, E.R. Rogers, H. Davies, E.R. Owen and J.D. Hall.

A Robins Lane Junior School class photograph from 1953 - contributed by Dave Almond

A Robins Lane Junior School class photograph from 1953

Junior class photograph from 1953

At the Robins Lane Junior school, the headteacher during the 1940s was Frank Briggs. The junior school building was built down a slope, which created a second floor at its bottom end. Although a large school, it could not accommodate all of the pupils, so its final year were taught at the old Sutton Road Methodist Chapel.

The teaching staff at Robins Lane Secondary Modern girls school in 1949 and c.1950 - contributed by Kathleen Fehrman

The teaching staff at the girls school in 1949 and c.1950

Girls school teaching staff c.1950

The photograph above right shows the girls' school teaching staff in 1950. From left to right on the back row are Miss Ivy 'History' Ashton (Mrs. Swift from '52); Miss Burgess; Mrs. Eden; Miss Newnham; Mrs. Bates; Florence Parr; ?; and Beryl Chisnall (secretary). On the front row L-R are Miss Enid 'Music' Ashton; Miss Savage; Mrs. Martin; Miss Doris Gee (headmistress); Miss Nichol; Mrs. Skidmore and Miss Harrison.

Drama was strongly encouraged by headmistress Doris Gee and the girls' performance of 'Toad of Toad Hall' on July 8th, 9th and 10th of 1947 bowled over the local critics. The St.Helens Newspaper gushingly praised the 'enormous cast', 'multiplicity of scenes' and 'wealth of songs and ballets' which had caught to 'perfection the spirit of this delightful play'. They believed that the production in the school hall would long be remembered as an 'outstanding example of the success that can be achieved by intelligent co-operation between children and teachers'. Toad was played by
Florence Grice (a 'scintillating performance', said the Newspaper), Mole by Jennifer Davies, Rat by Edith Jones and Badger by Eunice Jones, ('three delightful planets revolving round the solar Toad').

Robins Lane Secondary Modern girls' school production of Toad of Toad Hall - contributed by Kathleen Fehrman

Robins Lane Secondary Modern girls production of Toad of Toad Hall

Girls' production of Toad of Toad Hall

The Christmas productions that Doris Gee supervised were renowned for their high production values and every other year there was a Nativity play. Between December 12th to 14th 1950, A.A. Milne's 'Make Believe' was performed, with Jeannette Heston playing Rosemary and Doris Henthorne as James. A revival of 'Toad of Toad Hall' took place in 1952 and 'Beauty and the Beast' was performed c.1953, which was Miss Gee’s last production. The girls’ secondary school at this time was so full that an overflow of pupils were taught for some lessons at the old St. Joseph’s school in Peasley Cross.

Outside the school preparing for a coach trip to the Festival of Britain in 1951 - contributed by Ivy Swift

Preparing for a coach trip to the Festival of Britain in 1951

1951 coach trip to Festival of Britain

The Festival of Britain of 1951 was designed to celebrate the British contribution to science, technology, industrial design, architecture and the arts. Its centrepiece was on the South Bank of the Thames in London and at Whitsun a party of girls from Robins Lane went on a school trip. On the far left of the above picture taken outside the school are teachers Ivy Swift and Mrs. Skidmore and on the far right is games teacher Agnes Evans.
The two class photographs above (and a third below) are of the Junior School at Robins Lane and have been contributed by former pupil Dr. Wilf Powell who writes:
 I think they relate to my first three years there (1954-5, 1955-6 & 1956-7). I can't remember the name of the lady teacher during my first year but I think the teachers I had for the other three years were Mr. Shaw, Mr. Fogg and Miss White, who was known as Nanny White. I am seated on the front row in the three photos: 1954-5, 1st on right; 1955-6. 4th from right; 1956-7, 2nd from right.

A boys secondary class photo from 1954 with two trainee teachers from Malaysia - contributed by John Barton

Secondary photo from 1954 with two trainee teachers from Malaysia

Secondary class photo from 1954

The head of the boys’ secondary school, Mr. Rogers departed in July 1952 to become head of a school in Halifax. He was succeeded in Sutton by Joseph Woods, who would remain in post for almost twenty years. The above photograph of form 11B was taken in 1954 and as well as Mr. Woods, includes two young teachers from Malaysia. One was R. Ahmed and Robins Lane Boys Secondary Modern was the pair's first teaching post.

Robins Lane Junior School class photo c.1956 / 1957 - contributed by Dr. Wilf Powell

Robins Lane Junior School class photo c.1956 / 1957

Junior School class photo c.1956

Mr. Woods was keen to encourage participation in sport and the school soon began an era of sporting success. The St.Helens Inter-Schools Athletics competition had been held annually since 1948 and from 1957, athletes from Robins Lane Boys were champions in the event, held at Ruskin Drive, for eight successive years. There was success too at rugby league, with a double triumph for their senior side during the 1959-60 season. After winning the Marsden Cup, the team lifted the Evening Chronicle Shield, defeating Ambrose Barlow School of Swinton. Meanwhile the Under 13 footballers won the St.Helens Schools' Trophy and the Austin Watkinson Cup. This sporting success was despite Robins Lane having few sports facilities of its own.

A class photograph c.1957 from Robins Lane Senior Boys School - contributed by Dave Almond

A class photograph c.1957 from Robins Lane Senior Boys School

A boys class photograph c.1957

Thirteen-year-old Patricia Rigby of Robins Lane was the winner of an unusual competition on November 11th 1959. She was crowned one of two champion tea makers in the final of a contest held at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. The tea-making tournament was organised by the Ceylon Tea Centre of London and the North Western Gas Board. The aim of the competition was to encourage girls to make tea well and 'serve it attractively'. The compere for the evening was Jon Pertwee, star of 'The Navy Lark' and a future Dr. Who. Patricia was awarded an educational grant of £50, to be used as her parents and school thought fit.

The teaching staff at Robins Lane Secondary Modern Girls' School in 1956 (left) and 1960 (right)

Teaching staff at Robins Lane Secondary Modern Girls' School in 1956 & 1960

Robins Lane Girls' School teaching staff in 1956 (left) and 1960 (right)

The above photograph (right) shows the sixteen members of the girls' school teaching staff in 1960. From left to right on the back row are: Jennifer Whittaker (Later Ripley - PE teacher); Pat Beaumont; Joyce Barton; Jill Ledill; Barbara Skepper; Molly Fitzsimmons and Margaret Lehey. Front Row L to R: Esme Dawes; Phyllis Cole; Frances (Fanny) Taylor (cookery teacher); Doris Crompton; Miss E. I. Lancaster (headmistress); Mrs. Skidmore; Margaret Hanrahan; Ruth Green and Jean Dawes.

Robins Lane Boys Winners of the Pennington Cup in 1961 with teachers Lewis Reece and R. F. Birkett

Pennington Cup winners in 1961 with teachers Lewis Reece and R. F. Birkett

Winners of the Pennington Cup in 1961

There was more rugby league success in 1961 when the Pennington Cup was won, after Robins Lane defeated Holy Cross 19-3 at Knowsley Road. The successful side are pictured above with the players standing (L to R): Dearden, Gerrard, Litherland, K. Pickavance, Leyland and Anders; Seated are: Lythgoe, Turner, Lancaster, Lyon (capt.), Wright, Grady, Robinson and Jones. The two lads out front are Henthorne and Barrow.

During this period the annual school sports were held in Sherdley Park, with junior and secondary pupils participating in individual and house competitions. The houses were initially named after famous historical figures, with the boys’ houses (Horatio)
Nelson, (General James) Wolfe, (Major-General Robert) Clive and (Sir Walter) Raleigh. The girls' equivalents were (Dame Millicent) Fawcett, (Elizabeth) Fry, (Florence) Nightingale plus Hill house.

Class photo from Robins Lane Girls School from 1961 - contributed by Edna Smith

Class photo from Robins Lane Girls School from 1961

Robins Lane Girls School from 1961

The above picture is a 1961 class photo from the girls school. From left to right on the back row are Cynthia Lowry; Anne Atherton; Sylvia Shard; Lillian Banks; Janet Haines; Sandra Cross; Barbara Astell and Valerie Jackson. On the middle row (L to R) are Edna Fairclough; Christine Bold; Brenda Jones; Maureen Thompson; Pamela Owen; Shirley Hallam; Joan Roberts; Isobel Harmon and Rita Ralphson. Seated on the front row (L to R) are Barbara Baines; Brenda Forshaw; Sandra Barton; Kathleen McCabe; Pamela Finch; Brenda Banks; Margaret Edwards; Audrey Davies and Pamela Houghton.

Robins Lane Athletics Team at Ruskin Drive in 1961, winners of the St.Helens Inter-Schools Athletics competition

Robins Lane Athletics winners of the Inter-Schools Athletics competition 1961

Robins Lane Athletics in 1961, winners of Inter-Schools Athletics competition

Robins Lane boat
Interests other than sports were encouraged and an annual exhibition of secondary school pupils’ hobbies first began in 1950. For the 1962 event there were over 200 entries in the various classes. Pigeons, budgies and rabbits were popular entries but there were also drawings, stamps, foreign coins, a model railway and various collections. In an era when girls were still expected to do the cooking, a St.Helens newspaper report commented how the most unusual hobby in the exhibition was baking by boys. Young Tommy King was pictured with his ‘highly commended’ cake which was being enjoyed by a judge! Small money prizes were awarded to the winners and J. Darlington’s rabbit won the prize for best livestock.

These hobbies were undertaken at home, although the boys’ school then boasted a remarkable range of societies. These included a Fur and Feather Society, First Aid Club, Sketch Club, Cine & Film Group, Science Club and an Angling Club, whose members often fished far afield. Another group took several years to construct a model railway in one of the classrooms.

For an hour a week between Easter and mid-Summer, second and third year boys got out of their classrooms and worked in the school's half acre vegetable plot. The lads grew root crops such as potatoes, turnips, cabbage, carrots, raddish and onions, which they planted, tended and then sold. The plot was introduced during the war as part of a 'grow more food' campaign and later became part of the school curriculum.

Saints wingman Mick Sullivan presents the Waring Cup to Robins Lane in May 1962 at Knowsley Road

Saints Mick Sullivan presents the Waring Cup to Robins Lane in May 1962

Saints Mick Sullivan presents the Waring Cup to Robins Lane in 1962

One of the top rugby league players of the 1960s was Mick Sullivan, whose record for the most appearances for the British Lions has never been beaten. In May 1962 the wingman presented the Waring Cup to Denis Lyon, captain of a Robins Lane team. A 25-7 victory over Parr Central at Knowsley Road, in the competition's final, had led to the trophy being won. The junior school were also successful in rugby league, as well as cricket, during the 1960s, under the stewardship of games master L. Lowe.

Old boy and referee Jim Finney presents a photograph to head boy John Rimmer and Boys' head Joseph Woods

Football referee Jim Finney presents a photograph to Robins Lane School head boy John Rimmer and headmaster Joseph Woods on July 2nd 1962

Jim Finney presents a photo to head boy John Rimmer and Joseph Woods

Top football referee Jim Finney had been a pupil at Robins Lane school, having played for their soccer team in 1937. On July 2nd 1962, just weeks after refereeing the FA Cup Final, Jim returned to his old school. He presented headmaster Joseph Woods and head boy John Rimmer with a photograph of himself taken at Wembley with his linesmen.

Also in July,
Alan Lavelle of 4C was presented with a watch for not taking a day off school during his four years at the school. The previous boy to attain this feat had been Henry Thompson in 1958, who had also been in class 4C. Wrist watch awards for unbroken attendance records at Robins Lane first began in 1956 and continued for about 20 years.

Speech days first began in 1954 and were a means of summing up the achievements of the academic year prior to the summer break. The proceedings at the July 1963 event were enlivened by the recently-formed school brass band. These days the number of students who progress into higher education is considered a key indicator of a successful school. For a secondary modern during the 1960s, the benchmark was the number of apprenticeships that 15 years-old school leavers had obtained. Boys' head Joseph Woods was pleased to inform parents that out of 120 school leavers, 48 pupils had secured apprenticeships. On the sporting side, both the junior and senior boys’ teams had won the town cross-country championships and the senior rugby league team had reached the final of the Ellison Cup. The day was also the annual open day in which parents could inspect classes. These had first been introduced at Robins Lane in 1949.

The school's prowess at rugby league was underlined in March 1964 when three pupils were selected to play for Lancashire against Yorkshire. These were 14-years-old
Raymond Turner of Tennyson Street, 15-years-old John Grady of Robins Lane and 15-years-old Dennis Lyon of Sunbury Street in Thatto Heath. The latter lad also captained the county side and was the nephew of rugby league star Alex Murphy. Their school side, coached by R. F. Birkett, had an incredible record, having not lost a single match in four years. During the 1963-4 season, the team amassed 437 points and conceded just 9.

Raymond Turner receives the Whittaker Schools Trophy from the Mayor Cllr. James Hand in March 1964

Raymond Turner of Robins Lane receives the Whittaker Schools Trophy from the Mayor of St.Helens Cllr. James Hand in March 1964

Raymond Turner receives the Whittaker Schools Trophy from the Mayor Cllr. James Hand in March 1964

Billy Hughes won a wrist watch in March 1964 for four years continual attendance. Also that month the school won the Whittaker Schools’ Trophy, beating 3500 other schools in the North West. The award was made for displaying the highest merit in running a savings group and this was the first time a group of schools - infants, junior, girls and boys seniors – had been given this award.

During the 1966 open and speech day, Mr. Woods revealed that during the past sixteen years, 671 boys out of 1196 school leavers had won apprenticeships. The head also said that the school’s last hobbies exhibition had resulted in over 400 entries, with 200 being livestock. During the speech day, head boy
Geoffrey Neimarlija won a watch for four years perfect attendance.

The boys and girls’ schools did much charity work through their League of Service, which made collections for Oxfam and disability charities. Since 1955 they had also annually distributed food, flowers and coal to the "old folks" of Sutton, bringing their own gifts from home. Their good-hearted donations to the pensioners took place at Harvest time and every Christmas when a party was held.

Left: Billy Hughes gets his watch from Mr. Woods in 1964; Right: Brian Honey's kinkajou at the 1966 hobbies day

Left: Billy Hughes receives his watch from headteacher Mr. Woods in 1964; Right: Brian Honey's kinkajou at the 1966 school hobbies day

Left: Billy Hughes gets his watch in 1964; Right: Brian Honey's kinkajou

The November 1966 hobbies day appears to have been the last, as the menagerie of pets was getting a bit out of hand! One St.Helens newspaper titled their report 'School Zoo Men Take Over', claiming the event was an 'excuse for the boys to bring pet livestock to school'. The star of the show was a kinkajou 'honey bear', which the appropriately named Brian Honey of Grimshaw Street had brought to school.

Robins Lane boat
Robins Lane boat with Ken Broughton & Barbara Skepper
In December 1966, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools, Commander B. W. Lucke, presented 15-years-old Peter Topping of Joy Walk, Clock Face, his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. Peter had built a remarkable mock village in the school cellar, the buildings of which were large enough for toddlers to play in. This is said to have included a bakery, post office and police station and the model village apparently remained in the school cellar for several decades. Over the years countless other students would attain Duke of Edinburgh awards.

In January 1968 a group of a dozen boys and several girls completed the construction of a 16 foot 'Enterprise' class boat. The project took six months and it was built from a do-it-yourself kit. The craft was created with the assistance of woodwork teacher
Ken Broughton and Barbara Skepper, a sailing enthusiast and the school's domestic science teacher. The Robins Lane boat was sailed at Eccleston Mere, where a number of pupils enjoyed sailing lessons.

At the July 1968 open / speech day, 15-years-old
Allan Homer of Leach Lane won a wrist watch for 4 years full attendance. Two years later it was his brother Albert who won the prized timepiece, along with Fred Eden from Shakespeare Road. The St.Helens Reporter stated that the pair had now left Robins Lane with Albert intending to become a radiologist and Fred a welder. Also during July 1970, Albert's brother Allan was pictured in the Reporter having won a prize for being the top 1st year apprentice in St.Helens. Evidence that the watch-winning punctual pupils became better, more conscientious employees. Curiously Allan Homer’s prize from the Merseyside Training Council was a coal scuttle. A useful object at that time but not necessarily what 17-year-old lads dream of!

In July 1969 the Robins Lane boys and girls competed separately in 'It’s A Knockout' at the St.Helens Show. Based on the popular TV series, this was a fun challenge in Sherdley Park between various St.Helens' schools. On September 1st the separate boys’ and girls' secondary schools at Robins Lane merged into a single school with Joseph Woods as head and
Phyllis Cole as his deputy. Miss Cole had been the deputy headmistress of the girls’ school after transferring from Rivington Secondary Modern.

On October 20th 1969 St.Helens Corporation’s Education Department was advertising in the Guardian for tenders for the erection of an extension to the Robins Lane Secondary School. This would comprise a gymnasium, a science laboratory and metal and woodwork rooms. The gym would replace the original one that had been built at the school in 1939. The 1970s would bring to the school more sporting and dramatic successes and a new head. Plus a sports centre, talking newspaper, Elton Head Road annexe and a name change.
Stephen Wainwright
This website has been written and researched and many images photographed by myself, Stephen Wainwright, the Sutton Beauty & Heritage site owner. Individuals from all over the world have also kindly contributed their own photographs. If you wish to reuse any image, please contact me first as permission may be needed from the copyright owner. High resolution versions of many pictures can also be supplied at no charge. Please also contact me if you can provide any further information or photographs concerning Sutton, St.Helens. You might also consider contributing your recollections of Sutton for the series of Memories pages. Sutton Beauty & Heritage strives for factual accuracy at all times. Do also get in touch if you believe that there are any errors. I respond quickly to emails and if you haven't had a response within twelve hours, check your junk mail folder or resend your message. Thank you! SRW
This website is written and researched by Stephen R. Wainwright ©MMXVII  Contact Me
Visit Sutton Beauty & Heritage on Facebook
Visit Sutton Beauty & Heritage on Google Plus
Visit Sutton Beauty & Heritage on Facebook
Visit Sutton Beauty & Heritage on Google Plus