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A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

1700 ~ 2014
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John Williams retired in 1974 having seen all his hard work come to fruition with the building of the new school. Sadly, the chair of governors, the Rev’d Robert Otway (Vicar of St John’s, Blackheath), who had worked alongside Mr Williams to see the project completed, died very suddenly in 1973. At his last Speech Day on 5th December 1973, referring to Mr Otway, John Williams said, “No one knows more than I how much the new school owes to his (Mr Otway’s) faith and foresight. He was unstinting in the time and energy which he gave to the school project and the Governors’ Meetings.”

Miss Sheila Houliston led the development of the school over the next eleven years from a 3 form to a 6 form entry school. She had been a founder member of staff at Crown Woods School in 1958 and then been Senior Mistress and Acting Headteacher at Willesden High School.

Work was completed in January 1975 and in May  the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev Dr Mervyn Stockwood dedicated the new school at a service held in the quadrangle of the new school. The chair of governors was the Rev’d David Abel.

As the school grew to its full size there was a steady development in academic subjects with pupils being entered for a wide range of examination subjects in both GCE Ordinary Level and the Certificate of Education. Creative Arts became a feature of the school with high standards in Art, Music and Drama. The school had a very successful band which not only played for school occasions but was also in demand to participate in local deanery services. In November 1978 trumpeters form the school played a fanfare in Westminster Cathedral to begin a Church Schools’ Conference Service. A drama department was established and there many memorable production presented in the school’s drama hall. The Physical Education Department expanded to provide coaching in a wide variety of sports activities. A Youth Centre was opened which provided evening activities for local youngsters. The Catering Course continued to flourish and pupils regularly won cups and awards at the Hotel Olympia Catering Industry Exhibition.

Right: The cake made by the Catering Course to celebrate the dedication of the school on 10 July 1995

The new buildings enabled an expansion in all areas of the curriculum. The school library provided a rich source of information and there was a full time Librarian and a Media Resources Officer to offer support to staff and pupils alike.

Dedication of the New School by the Bishop of Southwark  on 10 July 1975. Miss Houliston (Headteacher) in the foreground, and the Rev’d David Abel, Chair of Governors to the left of the Bishop

The School Library in 1975



To see more photographs from 1975-1976 Click here