Page relevant: Redcliff Endowed Schools, Redcliffe Endowed Boys School history old pictures, St Mary Redcliffe Secondary School history,
St Mary Redcliff Secondary School, St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School, St Mary Redcliffe Secondary Boys' School, Redcliffe old school UK
Redcliffe Parade East, Redcliff Parade West, Guinea Street, Jublilee Place, Redcliffe Hill, Redcliff Hill

Welcome to the St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School
Pre. 1970 History Project Website

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School badge
St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School motto
Glory be to God on high

I contacted the school in March 2017 to seek assistance with this project but due to time and budget constraints they were unable to offer any help. Should anyone there have a change of heart, I am always interested in new information that could make this humble project more complete. If you have something / anything get in touch, I will be delighted to hear from you.

This page is divided into sections:

Key to buildings in and around the school / maps though time
Timeline / short history | Certificates | Setting the Scene | Key Resource
School Access | Pre war building additions/re-organisation | Bombed | Playground
School Motto Teaching Staff | Choir | Trips | Sports |  Royal Visit | Old Pictures

Read more about Temple
Colston Girls' School

Read more about St Mary Redcliffe
& Temple School pre. 1970

To leave your comments / memories,
click to Memory Lane


- If you have any other pre. 1970 images, memories, stories or other historical information relating to St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School that could be displayed on this page (with a credit to you of course) please commit them to an email now and .
radical_solutions (at) hotmail (dot) com

School frontage taken from Redcliffe Parade (3rd May 1906)

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School Bristol 1906

Photographs of other parts of the school are quite rare as it was
completely hidden from view by surrounding buildings.

The school buildings shown below were finally demolished in 1970 after pupils
& staff had moved to the new school site in Somerset Square in 1967.

View of boys' School, playground & surrounds circa 1955.
Taken from Church tower over the Lead Shot Tower roof.

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School  - view from church tower
click image to enlarge

Key: A Parish Rooms | B Bristol General Hospital | C Tickling Bench
D Roof of Mervyn King Hall (b. 1939) | E TA Drill Hall (dem 1988) | F Shot Tower
G Redcliffe Parade entrance | H Original (pre. 1906) main school buildings
K 1906 school extension | M Main 1929 classroom extension
N Smaller 1929 classroom extension | P Woodwork rooms (b.1939)
R The Old Armchair off licence (our "tuck shop")


4 area map segments sourced from Know Your Place
Maps shown are circa's 1850 / 1930 / 1949 / 1980

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - map 1850 St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - map 1930 St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - map 1949 St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - map -1980
Click to enlarge each

Short History

Queen Elizabeth's Free Grammar and Writing School was first founded by Royal Charter in 1571. The first building measured approx 56' by 26' and was located in the Churchyard of St Mary Redcliffe, near the south porch. The school has moved to various sites throughout its long existence.

Redcliff Endowed Schools (girls and boys) were founded under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners in 1856. It was built on land owned by the Church previously used by the adjacent (first) Vicarage as an orchard. An upper department was added in 1877, The upper dept. provided "higher instruction" with a fee of 6d a week. The girls moved out & the school's name changed in 1879 to Redcliff Endowed Boys' School.

The school was located on the opposite side of Redcliffe Hill from the church, in an area bounded by Redcliffe Hill, Redcliffe Parade, Jubilee Street and Guinea Street. It utilised a mixture of several individual buildings of varying age and styles. Notable alterations and extensions were undertaken in 1887,1906 (the 50 Year Jubilee), 1928 & 1938.

In 1947? the boys' school changed its name to St Mary Redcliffe Secondary School. The School finally merged with Temple Colston Girls' School in 1967, creating the co-educational St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School as a comprehensive, voluntary aided school.

Class photo from 1888 - Headmaster J T Francombe shown left

Redcliff Endowed Boys' School - class photo 1888
click image to enlarge

Circled pupil thought to be Charles Pringle Grierson. Enlisted WW1 in the
11th batt Lancashire reg. in the ranks and worked his way up to be an officer.


 Cerificates of Merit from 1880/90's

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School - certificates of merit
Click image to view slideshow


A "Certificate of Character" was provided as a reference for employment
Click below to see 3 examples from 1926, 1930 and 1950

Redcliff Endowed Schools - certificate of character

Redcliff Endowed Schools - certificate of character Redcliffe Endowed Schools - certificate of character

Click above images to enlarge

 Prizes in the form of books were often awarded,
2 examples from the 1950's shown below.

Click each image to see the award certificate in each book
Thanks and a belated well done to David Tolhurst.


School Access

The main school entrances were from Redcliffe Parade through a fairly small, I always felt imposing, door then via a cloakroom area up some dark enclosed stairs directly into the main school building. The other via Jubilee Place adjacent to the TA Drill Hall (Jubilee Hall) directly into the playground.

Plaque that was above the school entrance in Redcliffe Parade

Redcliff Endowed Schools - entrance and signage

Just a theory - Arrangement of the wording into the 2 panels shown above is strange. There were 2 sets of cloakrooms inside the door, I suspect that the original plaque may have read "Redcliff Boys" on the left side, "Redcliffe Girls" on the right. The right side of the plaque would possibly have been changed some time after 1879 when the girls moved. (it took 90 years to get them back! - worth the wait? well I thought so.)

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - twin towers - Redcliffe Parade St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - twin towers - Redcliffe Parade East

On leaving school and heading down Redcliffe Parade I could look
up to see the "twin towers", sadly only one now remains.

There was also small alleyway entrance between the shops on Redcliffe Hill but this was strictly for teachers and prefects, any other boy caught using this entrance earned himself a detention. The Redcliffe Hill alleyway entrance to the playground seems odd but was built as a trade off when the first Vicarage (b 1701) with its wide entrance to Redcliffe Hill were lost when the rail tunnel was built in 1868.


Setting the "Scene"

School frontage taken from a work room atop the Shot Tower

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - view from lead shot tower

(pic. extracted from a video displayed further down this page)

A view from Queen's Square over bascule bridge showing Church / Shot
Towers and frontage (part) of School on Redcliffe Parade extreme right.

St Mary Redcliffe Secondary Boys' School - view from bascule bridge
Click image to enlarge


Aerial view around 1930 - Shot Tower top left. This was before
new school buildings & playground replaced the Vicarage, its gardens
and a whole row of terraced houses in 1938/9. Note the rail tunnel
exit to docks just visible in bottom right corner, the tunnel went
right under the playground and I never knew!

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - aerial view
click image to enlarge

Aerial view 1934 showing the rear of the school with 1906 (green) /
1929 (red) extensions indicated by arrows. Shot Tower
top, Vicarage center, Parish Rooms bottom right.

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - aerial view
click image for magnified view of school

The School made creative use of serveral off-site facilities to enhance the education of pupils, these included Broad Weir Swimming Baths, the TA Training Hall (PE) in Jubilee Place, the Day Industrial School (metalwork) in Temple Back and of course the Parish Rooms (French and other subjects), just across the playground.


Aerial View of school taken from the south east in 1946
(Redcliffe Hill traffic jams bottom left)

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School - aerial view
Click image to enlarge

Note Single storey shops on RH bottom left (entrance to playground just
left of the left most awning, better view of the Mervyn King Hall (with damage)


Aerial view 1950 taken from over Bristol General Hospital
Shot Tower is top center, Parish Rooms lower right side

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - aerial view
Click image to enlarge

Note the nice new roof on the Mervyn King Hall, repair works were
in progress in playground, the repairs were completed in 1951.

Similar view to above taken in 1970 - Desolation!

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School  - GONE - aerial view

TA Training Hall can be seen to far left of cleared area,
the hall was on upper level of the building


Key Resource

Cover of rare 1956 Booklet, purchased in a bric-a-brac market for £2 by my
wife, it contains unique content, some of which, is shown on this page.

Redcliffe Secondary School - leaflet cover

The Booklet also documents the Queen's visit in 1956,
conducted as part of the centenary celebrations.

2 example pages scanned from Booklet

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School - leaflet fly

Click image to enlarge

School Tie pre 1966 | School Tie years 1 & 2 1966 on |
School Tie years 3+ 1966 on | Senior Scarf | 1960 Blazer Badge

St Mary Redcliff Boys' School - school tie St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - school tie St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - school tie St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - school scarf St Mary Redcliff Boys School - school blazer badge circa 1960
Click each image to enlarge

The above are a little moth eaten and tired, just like their owner.
The year 1 & 2 scarf had a similar design to the tie shown,
mine probably ended up around "Frosty's" neck.


Pre war building additions and re-organisation

In 1928 the Vicar of SMR appealed for £7000 to build extension classrooms. Old boys, friends and scolars were quick to respond. Alderman Gilbert James erected a new wing in memory of his father, Sir E B James who had been a school manager for many years and a staunch Redcliffian. The final bill for the works was £8000.

Some pictures of plan from 1928 for the extension classrooms

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School - 1928 extension plans
Click image to view slideshow

G S James - Bristol - Benfactor

A plaque was placed on the wall of the main extension which read..

This wing was erected by his family in memory of
Sir Edward Burnet James
A manager of this school and a friend of all Redcliffe boys

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School  - 1928 Plaque
Click image to enlarge

In 1937 Redcliffe Schools were re-organised. The boys under 11 years were separated from the older boys and joined with the girls under 11 years in a mixed primary school located in Ship Lane. The senior girls were taken out of Ship Lane and absorbed into Temple Colston School.

This re-organisation meant that Redcliffe Schools were responsible for boys throughout their school life and girls (at Ship Lane only) from 5 - 11 years. (and I thought the move in 1967 was complicated!)

In 1938 members of the Colston (Parent) Society were concerned about the need for further extensions and improvements to school facilities. In particular, it was felt essential to provide a large playground, two large woodwork rooms and an assembly hall / modern gymnasium.

The Vicarage, its gardens and a row of terraced houses were leveled to make room for the new development.

Mervyn King Hall Redcliffe Bristol

Mr Foster G. Robinson was then President of the Society and, inspired by Mr. Mervyn King, undertook to be responsible to raise the £16,000 required to fund the new works.



During the 2nd World War Bristol was devastated by bombing. The worst raid to hit Redcliffe was the Good Friday Raid (11 April 1941) - 153 German planes dropped 193 tons of high explosives and 36,888 incendiaries; five bombers were shot down and 180 people killed.

One of the bombs from that raid fell in the playground, the photograph below shows interested parties standing about the bomb crater. The rear of the Mervyn King gym hall, woodwork and store room show the damage severity. When bombed, the gym had only just been completed and had still never been used.

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School  - Bomb damage 1941

Mr Fryer was the Headmaster (4th from right) Also in the photograph
is Mrs Florence Brown ?, a councillor who later became Lord Mayor (1963).
The teacher (3rd from the right) was called Mr Reece.

A week or so after the bombing, when the building was being made safe, a school cap was found sitting on the top of a chimney completely undamaged. Was this divine intervention or more likely a dangerous schoolboy prank? The crater became a draw for the boys but they needed to be careful, you got the cane if you were caught climbing over the wooden picket fence that surrounded it to get your ball back. The crater was finally filled in when the hall was restored in 1951.

Bristol Guard Home D Company
(Taken late war? - well armed / dressed)

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School - Home Guard in playground
Click to enlarge

Photo taken in school playground in front of the 1929 main extension.
Note the Shot and Church towers to rear. Some bomb damaged
windows can be clearly seen on the enlargement.
(Cricket team photo further down this page was taken in similar position)

BBC article about the bombing

Aerial View of school taken from the south in 1946
(Redcliffe Parade runs along the very top)

Redcliffe Boys School - aerial view
Click image to enlarge

Note Bomb damage to Mervyn King Hall's roof, 1906 extension to
left of main building, 1929 extension built in front of main building

Redcliffe Primary School Ship Lane - Blitzed!

Compared to the primary school we got off lightly!


The Playground

The playground was built mainly on the site of the Vicarage
which was demolished in 1938/39

View looking across the playground from the west July 1964
(Note cranes constructing the flats on opposite side of Redcliffe Hill
and "gothic style" archway leading to the playground exit,
originally the Vicarage exit, on to Redcliffe Hill)

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School Playground from Jubilee Place
Click image to enlarge

On the east side the playground went almost to the back of the shops on Redcliffe Hill, the playground was enclosed there by a fifteen foot high brick wall. (this would have probably originally formed part of the old Vicarage's garden boundary)


View looking across the playground from the south July 1964
(part Mervyn King Hall on left and 1929 extension classrooms center)

Redcliffe Secondary Boys School from Guinea Street direction
Click image to enlarge

 Some "inhabitants" of the playground
Click here

Aerial view (1946) of school taken from the south.

Aerial photo showing junction Jubilee Place and Guinea St

Shows playground exit to Jubilee Place (far left) + bomb
crater and damage to the Mervyn King Hall. Rare glimpse
of Woodwork and Art classrooms to the left of the crater
"Old Armchair" tuck shop location shown by arrow.

On the north side the playground backed up to the main school buildings, mainly the newer woodwork/art classrooms and Mervyn King Hall. To the west the playground backed mainly onto a small garage/repair shop in Jubilee Place.

Aerial view 1947 - Parish Rooms buildings prominent top left,
Shot Tower bottom left.

St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School - aerial view
Click image to visit the Britain From Above web site

Note bomb damage still visible on roof of Mervyn King Hall.
 The roof was repaired in 1951.


View from Church Tower in the early 1960's

Redcliffe Secondary School Playground
Click image to enlarge

tickling bench - Redcliffe Secondary Boys School

Note activity around the "tickling bench"?


 The great playground wall mystery

Redcliffe Secondary School Playground
Click image to enlarge

This was believed to be part of the original Vicarage's fireplace that was
built into the new Vicarage's garden wall which then became
one of our playground's walls. It bore the date 1646 but the
original vicarage was built in 1701 so it remains a mystery.
I don't remember on which wall it was located, can anybody help?
Image sourced from Flickr - credit Andy Lewis


Another mystery, what is this?

Note netball ring just visible by school building

What was the low level rectangular structure (marked by arrow) sticking out into the playground? It appears on many pictures / maps of the area after circa 1850.
I think it must have been for ventilation / light to rail tunnel which ran directly under??

Where would this structure have been today?

Answer = Yellow shaded area on above image.
(Position is estimated from an overlay of a 1947 OS map and a
fairly contemporary aerial photo of the hotel complex that now stands

The new hotel was built almost perfectly (90% avoidance) around it, virtually the complete structure footprint is within a tar-mac car park, nothing has been built on it which supports my theory of it being a rail tunnel lighting / ventilation shaft.


To the south The Redcliffe Parish Rooms formed most of the playground's boundary, they were directly accessible from the playground.

Redcliffe Parish Rooms - Frontage on Guinea Street shown.

Redcliffe Parish Hall - Guinea Street

Rear of building backed on to school playground used by
school for dining facilities and additional classroom space
(I remember "learning" French there with Mrs Freeman)

Rare photo view of Parish Rooms Taken though bomb damage gap
in Guinea Street from Bedminster Bridge circa 1960

 Parish Rooms
Click image to enlarge


School Motto


The Redcliffe Boys' School used the Motto "Punctuality,
Perseverance, Practice, Prayer", known as the 4 P's
Introduced by J T Francombe MA Headmaster 1872 - 1909.

Motto was displayed on the Mervyn King Gym Hall's wall but in a different order and less flowery typeface. Practice and Perseverance apply well to netball and most sports, the other two quite possibly. (pic taken just before Hall's demolition in 1970)

The above plaque was retained at the new school
I'm not sure if it is still displayed?

Other mottos used through the years include Gloria In Exelcis Deo (Glory be to God on High), Floreat Redcliffe (Let Redcliffe Flourish). Mottos in the modern era (after 1970) Steadfast in Faith and A Christian Community Committed To Excellence.


Teaching Staff

J Woodcock Headmaster 1856 - 1870

T Randell M.A. D.D. Headmaster 1870 - 1872
(subsequently Vicar of Ryton-on-Tyne and Principal of the
College of the Venerable Bede, Dyrham

James Thomas Francombe M.A. Headmaster 1872 - 1909

J T Francombe Redcliffe Bristol

1888 (aged 45)

1909 (aged 66)

Mr Francombe (1843-1924) lived at 22 Somerset Square and always came to school wearing a top hat, frock coat and kid gloves. A collection was made on his retirement on the 19th November 1909, it totaled £1,000.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

JTF stood for Parliament in the General Election of 1910, he lost to Sir W H Davies by 138 votes, not dis-heartened he went on to become Lord Mayor (1919) and Chief Magistrate of Bristol.  Read more - click here


J J Clibbens Redcliffe Bristol
 J J Clibbens Headmaster 1909 - 1924

Gearald Holgate Redcliffe Bristol

G Holgate M.A. B.Sc. Headmaster 1924 -1934
(subsequently Deputy Director of Education Blackburn
and Director of Education Bedford

R R Fryer | Ralf R Fryer Headmaster Redcliff Endowed Boy's School
Ralf R Fryer F.R.G.S. Headmaster 1934 - 1954

Stanley Lowe - Stan Lowes - Headmaster Redcliffe Bristol
Stanley Lowes M.A. - Headmaster 1955 - 1967*
(* this school closed, Stan took over as Head at the new school)


For a complete list of School staff in 1956 - click here

For a list of full time School staff in 1967 - click here

Further Staff listing, obtained from many sources (ongoing project)

Teacher name







Mr Davies

Dai Davies

6th Form Tutor?

1948 - 1968?

Mrs Fletcher


Dept. Head?

1968 - ?

Mr Wakeford



1948 - ?

Mr Turner



1948 - ?

Mr  H O Grant



1957 - 1965?

(Chatterton Housemaster - Green)

Mr Wyn Davies



1948 - ?

Mr L Davies



1956 - ?

(Colston Housemaster - Red)

Mr R Williams



1948 - ?

(Proctor Housemaster - Blue)

Peter Atmer



1965 - ?

Mr Jeffries



1957 - 1970?

Neville Boundy (Curate)


1968 - ?

Mr Codrington




Mr Caswell



1965 - ?

Mr M Roe



1956 - ?

Rev Cyril Edwards



1965 - ?

Scrutch Schurch



1970 - 1971

(Taught briefly, then he left for a posting on Tristan da Cunha)

Mr Stevens




Mr Phillips



1965 - ?

Mr F N Vaughan



1948 - 1965

(Canynges Housemaster - Yellow)

Peter Fowler



1957 - 1970?

Mr Ferguson



1965 - ?

Mr Dando




Col. E W Tuite Dalton


French / History

1967 - ??

Mr Dash



1957 - 1970?

Mr Jones



1968 - ?

Mr Wilcox



1957 - ?

Ms J Gwyn Williams



1967 - ??

Mr Lawrence



1965 - ?

Burt John



1965 - ?

(Canynges Housemaster - Yellow)

Mr Jordon



1957 - ?

Mr Ball



1957 - 1970?

(Francombe Housemaster - Green)

Mr Morgan



1957 - 1970?

Dr Glasgow



1967 - ??

Michael Rosenberg



1962 - 1965

Mrs Coulson



1965 - ?





Part time staff




Mrs Freeman BA


French / Spanish

1967 - ??

Mr J H Adams



1967 - ??

Mr G Andrews



1967 - ??

Mrs D A Hill



1967 - ??

Revd. F H J Hurford


English / RE

1967 - ??

Mr C J Wilding



1967 - ??

Mr L I Young



1967 - ??





The 4 school "house" names refer to notable civic dignitaries,
ecclesiastical benefactors and local educational pioneers.

CANYNGES (yellow)
William Canynges, (1399 -1474) local politician and benefactor of St Mary Redcliffe Church. 5 times Mayor of Bristol

Edward Colston, (1636 - 1721) slave trader, merchant and founder of Temple Colston School.

J.T. Francombe, a former headmaster of the school and Lord Mayor of Bristol.

Originally know as Chatterton
Thomas Chatterton was a locally born poet (1752 - 1770)

Possibly after Canon R F Cartwright?

Originally know as Proctor
Thomas Proctor (1846 - 1877) was a benefactor of SMR church in the mid 19th century. Also funded building The Mansion House in Clifton.

Rev. Cyril Edwards (I remember his saying "fail twit!" - I didn't)

Peter Atmer
Taught Modern Languages from 1965 onwards

Send me more teacher's names / details to add to the list or
additional info / corrections you may have.

School Prefects and their 2 "commanding officers" in 1964

Click image to enlarge

Redcliffe School Trips

click image to enlarge

Rome, 1960 Departing from Temple Meads

Redcliffe School Choir

click image to enlarge

School Choir circa 1964, Peter Fowler in the centre.

Info on Peter Fowler / School Choir from around the early 1960's
download here (txt file) With thanks to Vivian Jenkins.



Winners of Bristol schools rugby championship in 1905
(Beating Ashley Down)

2 of these boys, F.Hill and F.Hockey played rugby for England
schools in 1906. Headmaster J T Francombe far left

Rugby - Cup Winners & Champions of "A" Division 1913-14

Click image to enlarge 

Headmaster J J Clibbens far left

Cricket team 1914

Headmaster J J Clibbens? far left

Swimming Team 1946

center back row R R Fryer F.R.G.S. Headmaster

Ronnie Collins - Boxer 1955


Junior Rugby Team 1955 - 1956

back left - Stanley Lowes


Bristol School's Championship Cricket Team 1955

Photo taken in playground - (Stanley Lowes left / back)
Note the Church & Shot Towers visible in the background

Bristol Schools u15 Cup Winners Easter 1961 Memorial Ground

click image to enlarge

Left to right Alan Harris, Gordon Hill (aka Rocky), Tony Silverthorne,
Pete Smith, Bernard Moon, Philip Fear, David Windmill, Supporting
Robert Furber, Hickeram Huque, ? Price, behind him obscured
David Edge, Philip Harris, David Bolton, and Ronnie Downes.


Royal Visit in 1956

Queen's visit to site of original Grammer School

School's Royal Charter 1571 as inspected by the Queen


Old pictures of the Redcliffe Hill area

The Old Armchair (our "Tuck Shop") June 1939

Small shop and off licence at the junction of Jubilee Place and
Guinea Street. Still open in the mid 60s. Lots of unhealthy goodies
for just a few pennies  50 yds or so from playground's entrance, just
past the van (bottom right) and across the road, very convenient!

Was originally a Public House, between 1863 - 74, the landlord was
Samuel Webb who also made a crust as a chair maker.

More Pictures can be found on the Paul Townsend "Redcliffe" page

Around the Redcliffe Hill / Parade junction (then and now)

Mouseover to see how this part of Redcliffe Hill looks now.

To the south of Redcliffe Parade (top and bottom left pictures) the Mercure Hotel now occupies pretty much the whole of the old school site. On the south side of RP the interesting, historic Shot Tower and Ship Inn have been replaced by the box-like Colloseum public house (prev. The Merchant Venturer). Pic. 3 (new) shows the side of the Mercure in RP which now replaces the old school main entrance (see Jubilee Enlargement Brochure cover pic on this page)

Video has brief view of School taken from top of Shot Tower

A sad sight - the school building just before demolition in 1970

Inscription on closest / center wall reads "ENLARGED AD MDCCCCVI"
(1906), the one on the furthest wall "St Mary Redcliff Endowed Schools"

For a slideshow of more pictures from this sad time - click here


WANTED! - If you have any other pre. 1970 images, memories, stories or other historical information relating to St Mary Redcliffe Boys' School that could be displayed on this page (with a credit to you of course) please commit them to an email now and .
radical_solutions (at) hotmail (dot) com

Page posted by Dave Powell, Roll 393, attended between 1965 & 1970, Francombe House
Greetings to anyone who knew or taught me in those, now distant, days.

Thanks to Geoff Duck (Roll 481), Martin Wallis, Simon Hine, Stuart Donadel, Brian?,
Patrick Casey, Bernard Moon, David Nelson, Mike Warren, Phil Darby
Robert Dyer, Avice Marshall and John Scully for info received