A YEAR OF FUN AHEAD FOR WESCOTT'S 100TH BIRTHDAY by Alana Razzell
January 11, 2006
IT WAS giggles galore when a whirlwind of magic, mystery and birthday cake kicked off a Wokingham school’s centenary celebrations.
Wescott Infant School, which opened as the town’s main school in 1906, was crammed full of laughter on Sunday afternoon when youngsters celebrated 100 years of success with a modern-day children’s party.
With a year-long programme of events planned to mark the important birthday the party, which featured a magic show, was just the start of things to come as 100 years of history re
Headteacher Jacqui Bruce, who has been at the school for more than 12 years, said: “It really is something to reach the 100 year mark.
“We had a party which was quite contemporary – like you would expect a children’s birthday party to be – on Sunday, which was the date the school actually opened in 1906.
“We had a really good turn-out with all the current pupils and some of the previous pupils who have moved on to junior school and one or two of our Easter intake coming along.
“It was great with a real cross section of the community celebrating 100 years of the school and the building.
“The party was a way of launching the celebrations. We are planning more after Easter when all the new intake have joined.
“There are lots of ideas the school council and governors are working on at the moment which will take place in the summer.”
The school was built as the main community hub of Wokingham town with hundreds of children aged from four to 14 enrolling in the first few years and people using it as their meeting point to discuss local matters in the evenings.
The building, which is now listed, was designed by architect Edmund Fisher who was also responsible for creating more than 20 other schools in Berkshire between 1906 and 1912 including Priestwood and Easthampstead schools in Bracknell and Swallowfield and Three Mile Cross schools in Wokingham district.
After being constructed by Ascot-based W Watson builders in 1905 the school was officially opened on Monday, January 8, 1906 as The Wescott Road Council School.
School governor Ian Hughes, who has been researching the school’s history at the public records office in Reading, told The Wokingham Times that 222 pupils were registered in the first month and 11 teaching staff plus a headteacher and caretaker were employed.
He said: “The school was a lot bigger than it is today. As well as the regular intake we had quite a few come from other nearby schools that were overflowing.
“It covered the whole age range from the youngest being four-years-old to children in their early teens.
“The number of children went up quite rapidly – it went up to at least 250 during the first year alone.”
In the 1950s older pupils were moved out to a new secondary, St Crispin’s in London Road, while children in the top tiers started at Westende Junior School when it was opened in the 1960s leaving Wescott as a busy infant school.
Mrs Bruce said the children were planning to delve into the school’s history in the next few months and were planning to dress up as Edwardian schoolchildren at some point.
However school governors are still researching the full history of the building and its annexe in Wescott Road and want to hear from anyone who has childhood memories or old photos.
For details visit www.wescott-school.co.uk or send your memories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org