Fringe Box



Pewley School’s Class Of ’54 Enjoy Their ‘Big’ Reunion

Published on: 1 Oct, 2013
Updated on: 10 Oct, 2013

They came to Guildford for a reunion this week, some from as far afield as Texas, South Africa and Germany  – the class of ’54 from Pewley School.

Pewley School's class of '54 reunion group pictured in Trinity churchyard before a lunchtime buffet at the Royal Oak pub.

Pewley School’s class of ’54 reunion group pictured in Holy Trinity Churchyard before a lunchtime buffet at the Royal Oak pub.

The senior school was on Pewley Hill – between Sydenham Road and Harvey Road and is now the Guildford Adult Learning Centre. These former pupils started at the school in 1954 and left in 1959/60, with some of them going on to the sixth form at the then new George Abbot School in Burpham. Eventually all pupils transferred across and Pewley closed.

The group pictured at their visit to their former school.

The group pictured at their visit to their former school.

The organisers of the reunion (the fourth they have enjoyed) were Roger Jay, Meg Daniells, Brian Brown, and Shirley Burrill. Their two-day schedule of events included guided tours of Guildford’s Guildhall and Abbot’s Hospital, a buffet lunch at the Royal Oak pub, and dinner at Cote restaurant on Tuesday; with a boat trip on the River Wey on Wednesday.

Tuesday also featured an all-important visit back to their old school for a look around some of their former classrooms.

Original sign board for Pewley School.

Original sign board for Pewley School.

Shirley Burrill (nee Greaves), now of Churt, said that the reunion was based around the fact that this year most of this form group will  reach the age of 70. She thinks it will possibly be the last reunion they will have.

The pupils pictured in 1957.

The pupils pictured in 1957. The girls dresses were blue and the ties the same as George Abbot School today – gold and navy.

Around the time they were about to leave Pewley School, some words were written about ‘the old school’. Here are a few paragraphs from that account. They paint a vivid and nostalgic picture: “Now that we know that the Burpham Annexe is nearly complete we have to think of leaving the old school.

“This climbs up the side of Pewley Hill like a battlement, keeping a watchful eye over Guildford. It commands a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside in the summer, but in winter is it is frequently shrouded with a light veil of mist, as the north winds fling against it, slamming doors and rattling windows.

And a photo from 1958.

And a photo from 1958.

“The school is built on three levels and looks like terraced gardens but for one thing – no flowers! except for a solitary plot that is on its own.”

The writer continued: “At the lowest level stands the hall. Its friendly old beams, high windows and creaky stage all add to the flavour of age.”

Some of the boys!

Some of the boys!

And added further: “The classrooms are lofty, large and draughty. Most of them are separated by wood and glass partitions which are considered soundproof, but many a time two adjacent classes have both shared the same joke.”

The account ends with thoughts of the old school and the new George Abbot School: “The school as a whole feels the need to to move to its new buildings with more spacious and brighter conditions, laboratories for each science, its two gyms, comfortable classrooms, luxurious staff room, playing fields and palatial hall and dining hall. But nearly all of us will feel lost, and as if some part of us is missing. As the weeks go by the friendly building we all knew so well will slowly slide into the depth of our memories, never to be forgotten.”

This photo appears to have been taken from the Harvey Road side of Pewley School.

This photo appears to have been taken from the Harvey Road side of Pewley School.

Share This Post

Responses to Pewley School’s Class Of ’54 Enjoy Their ‘Big’ Reunion

  1. Ken Fuller Reply

    October 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I think the last picture was taken in the girls playground looking down towards Sydenham Road. This was also the tennis court and the only level area in the school.

    By the way, I left the school Christmas 1958 at the age of 15.

  2. Beryl Batchelor (née hole) Reply

    June 21, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Wonderful to see pictures of the old school once again. I was a pupil there from September 1949 until July 1953.

    I still keep in touch with my good friend of those days Ann Keane (née Winterton).

    I would love to hear from class mates of that era and to know how things are with them.

  3. Brian T. Butcher Reply

    July 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Terrific to see this class keeping up and reuniting. I graduated at an earlier time, but still have lots of memories of the old school and like to pass by when I’m back in the UK.

    • Brenda Preskett (nee Cobbett) Reply

      January 23, 2022 at 2:55 pm

      I was at Pewley at that time but only recognised your name. I have lived in different parts of Africa for 50 odd years but now live in Hampshire UK. I seem to remember that you moved to the United States. I hope you have had a happy life.

      I remember a few names and I think you were in the same year as Eric Edwards.

  4. Moira MacQuaide Hall Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Does anyone know when the school first opened?

    I’m writing a book about Burpham Village and am trying to clarify what schools were available for the children there before George Abbot opened in 1957.

  5. Jill Costick Reply

    December 10, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    I was a pupil at Pewley from 1947 to 1953, the headmaster was Mr Pritchard. Interesting to see the old building.

    • Peter Reed Reply

      March 7, 2019 at 9:20 am

      I was at Pewley School until 1954. I was friends with Nigel Bicknell and Geoff Dubbins. My name is Peter Reed.

  6. Janet Klingstedt nee Cooper Reply

    March 5, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    I was in a 13+ class at Pewley and left in 1959. I caught the train every morning from Farnham to Guildford and the long dash up the hill to school. Now live in Sweden and have lost contact with the other pupils in my class. My only remaining contact is June Hollingworth who now lives in Canada. Would love to have a reunion. Pewley was a good school.

  7. Ann Price Reply

    April 2, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Has there ever been a reunion for the class of ‘51 or is there anyone of that time in touch?

  8. J E Davey Reply

    April 3, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Does anyone have names for the 1958 photo with “Paddy” Ireland.

    • Keith Dinnage Reply

      February 16, 2020 at 11:40 am

      Are you by any chance the James Davey who used to live in Gomshall?

      • J E Davey Reply

        January 24, 2022 at 2:20 pm

        Hi Keith, Sorry only just found this! I am indeed James Davey who used to live in Gomshall. Remember the Din-Ben Gazette?

    • Brenda Preskett (nee Cobbett) Reply

      January 23, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      I remember Paddy Ireland and must be in the photo but don’t recognise anyone – not even myself.

  9. Jenny Russell (nee Woods) Reply

    May 4, 2019 at 11:34 am

    I was at Pewley on and off from 1957 until 1963. I had my 1st year at George Abbot and 2nd I think. 3rd year at Pewley then back to G A for 4th and 5th form.

    We always seemed to be going between the schools but overall we had a great education with dedicated teachers. I live in New Zealand now but keep up with a couple of friends and always meet with them when I am in the UK. I was Jennifer Woods then and would love to hear from anyone who remembers me.

  10. John Trask Reply

    August 14, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I was at Pewley School between 1954 and 1958.

    I remember John Pinnells, Ronald Shilicker, Bruce Bunker, Susan Shimpton and Pat West.

    Does anybody else remember these people or know of their whereabouts?

  11. Barrie Hogan Reply

    January 27, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    I sat beside Ken Fuller in class.

    I was best known for cross-country running.

    I am still in contact with Lionel Dodson and Des Flanders, and I have still have my school photo that was taken in the mid 1950s.

  12. Valerie Chapman Reply

    November 2, 2020 at 9:53 am

    I was a 13-plus pupil and arrived at Pewley in 1952.

    Friends included Wendy Still, Janet Coombs, and others.

    I left when I was 17.

    Thanks to the teaching staff at Pewley, particularly Mr Pollard I ended up with top qualifications and a top job.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *