It has been a year of celebration for staff and pupils at Humphrey Perkins School, who commemorated 300 years since the school was founded. The school would like to thank the many former pupils who contributed to the events within school, and shared some of the traditions and history that have shaped the school over the years.
Memories from 1936 and the library.
In 1936, one of the major buildings the school lacked was a purpose-built library, and in 1936 Mr Wilkinson, Headmaster, appealed for funds for this to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the opening of the school. A note preserved in the School Log Book describes the event. The local newspaper reported the event thus:
“There was a dramatic moment during the prize-giving at the Humphrey Perkins Grammar School at Barrow upon Soar on Thursday of last week. During the presentation of the prizes, Mrs M. L. Nivison Cross, one of the governors, handed a note to Mr T.G. Wilkinson, the headmaster, expressing her willingness to give a library to the school, to honour her family.” The Headmaster at once made an announcement to the assembled scholars and friends, saying, "My dream has come true," and loud cheers followed. "This gift," said the Headmaster, "is beneficent, munificent and magnificent". A hearty vote of thanks was proposed to Mrs Cross, who has since had a letter of thanks from the County Director of Education, Mr W.A. Brockington, whose department will shortly get in touch with the Headmaster, for the purpose of getting on, as soon as possible, with the erection of the library.”
Construction began in March 1939, but the opening was delayed by the outbreak of war and did not take place until November 1939.
According to the Head’s report to the Governors in 1963, Mrs Nivison Cross had written with a request to be permitted to put her family Coat of Arms in the window by the side of the Humphrey Perkins Coat of Arms. The Chair of Governors agreed to this. The stained glass coat of arms commemorating the donation was commissioned in 1964 and can still be seen next to that of Humphrey Perkins in the bow window of the library.
The library was temporarily relocated to Orchard Block for three years to allow for some essential classroom changes. However, in the summer of 2017, after overwhelming requests from pupils, staff and alumni, it was moved back to its original location.
The library was officially re-opened by Miss Walton on 24th October 2017, with the unveiling of a new plaque. The tradition of strong support to the school continued when members of the Barrow upon Soar Women’s Institute were welcomed into school to present a cheque for £200, donated generously to support the library.
Jill Walton, Headteacher, said “I am absolutely delighted to re-open the library in the heart of the school and to honour our proud traditions. The library provides a thriving centre of learning and enjoyment for all pupils outside of the classroom. In a significant year for the school as we celebrate our tercentenary, we would like to honour Mary Nivison Cross, our benefactor, by renaming the library “The Nivison Cross Library”.
I would also like to thank the Women’s Institute for their gift to the school.” Viviana Massiah with acknowledgments to Richard Hudson, Barrow Heritage Group
Members of the Barrow WI presenting the school with a donation at the opening event. Charlotte Wilson (Head Girl), Kathryn Judge (Head of English), Pat Moore (W.I.), Rob Squire (Librarian) Doriter Orton (W.I.), Jill Walton (Headteacher), Jasmine Grant (Deputy Head Girl)