Drama and music in the fifties

In 1955/6 the lower hall was used for performances of Sweeney Todd, partly because it had always been the hall for the boys' school, and very conveniently had a trapdoor in the stage floor to enable a "disappearance" of Todd's victims. Between 1953/4 and 1958/8, when there were only boys, concerts, plays and operettas were performed upstairs.

Ghost Train programme cover
Hiawatha programme cover
Stacks Image 285
Yeoman of the Guard programme cover
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Beaumont School history

The need for a new senior school in the Fleetville area became evident soon after the First World War. But in those days you produced senior schools in pairs. The Education Authority acquired land on the south side of Hatfield Road (the present Fleetville Junior School). It was eventually realised that there was only space for one school, and a girls' school (Central, opened in 1931) was put up.

This later became the girls' grammar school, and a search for a non-selective senior building resulted in a site next to Oakwood Drive where it had been intended to build houses. Beaumont Girls' School occupied the upper floor when the buildings were opened in 1938, while the boys occupied the ground floor. But these were two separately run schools. The first pupils came from Hatfield Road School near the city centre, Colney Heath (which allowed it to change to a JMI), Fleetville (already a primary), and Priory Park, a senior girls' school in Old London Road.

The names changed after 1944, from Beaumont Senior Schools to Beaumont Secondary Modern Schools. As the pupil numbers began to exhaust available accommodation shortly after the post-war increase in the leaving age, temporary buildings arrived. In 1953 the girls' school moved out to the buildings in Hatfield Road, Fleetville, after the girls there went to newly-opened premises in Sandridgebury Lane (STAGGS). So opened Beaumont Girls' Secondary Modern School in Fleetville (later renamed Sandfield).

From 1954 to 1959 the Oakwood Drive buildings were a boys' school. In that year many older boys moved to newly opened Marshalswick Boys' School and Beaumont once more became a mixed school (as opposed to a girls' school and a boys' school!). It has continued to be a mixed school, and continues to expand its suite of buildings and facilities.

Beaumont School logo
Old Boys' football team 1957/8
Beaumont Old Boys fb team 1957/8

BACK ROW: Norman Johnson; Cyril Weatherer (Manager); Charlie Kitchener; Clifford Anderson; Michael Williams;
?;  ?;  Roger Green
FRONT ROW: Keith Chalkley; Brian Weatherer; Roy Day; Greg Evans;  ?;  Roy Martin


School football team in (year?)
Beau football team un unknown year

No members of the team have so far been identified. The names of one or two players will also help to identify the year.


Sixth Form in 1968
Beau Sixth Form in 1968

BACK ROW: Glenn Rodford; M Edrich; Michael O'Gorman; Jane Kember; M Pendergast; Brian Farrell; Linda Perkins; Neil Parsons; Francs Spokes; Keith Pearcey
MIDDLE ROW: Jane Henman; Brian Rodford; Cathy Ryan; Peter Ward; David Hunt; Colin Bridges; Chris Gautier, Jill Spicer; Arnold Jeffares;  ?
FRONT ROW: Derek O'Connor; Ruth Shaw; T Quinn;  Jill Spicer;  Patrick Campbell; Pamela Farrow;  Kevin Hilliard; Sally Towler;  John Harris; Lynne Jones.


Canada House athletics team in 1949
Beau Canada House athletics team 1949

Was this a combined sports team, A and B football teams, athletic team?  No-one has been identified so far.


At Cuffley Camp in 1946
Beau at Cuffley Camp 1946

No members of the camp have so far been identified.


Staff of the Boys' School in 1959
Beau Boys' School staff 1959

BACK ROW L-R: Mr Holditch, Mr Hawksworth, Mr Luxembourg, Mr Lindup, Mr Bowen, Mr Finnett, Mr Danter, Mr Rayner, Mr Moon, Mr Waghorn, Mr Younger, Mr Wright.
MIDDLE ROW: Mr Chapman, Mr Hodgkinson, Mr Bilk, Mrs Wright, Mrs Chamberlain, Mrs Simmons, Mrs Ireland, Mr Humphries, Mr Costain, Mrs Wykes, Mrs Taylor, Mr Coxall, Mr Longbone, Mr Childs.
FRONT ROW: Mr Eames, Mr Speed, Mr Butler, Mr Evans, Mr Berridge, Mr Cafferay, Mr Hope.


A class from Hatfield Road School in 1939
Class from Hatfield Road School 1939

Photo courtesy Andy Lawrence.

A 1939 picture from the Hatfield Road Boys' School, in the year after many of its younger pupils transferred to the new Beaumont School.  Though "out of area" some of these students may have lived Fleetville or Camp way.


Informal class picture in 1956
Beau class group 1956

Photo courtesy Brian Butler.

Included in this picture is Brian Butler (BACK ROW L-R 4). Others are Brian Griffiths, David or Roger Miles, David Woodhead, Gorman, David Wilkinson, Spooner, Clayton, John Hiscott, Christopher Rice and Fletcher, but we are not sure who is where! If you were at BBS from 1955 to 1959 you could help complete our list.


Sea Cadet football team c1940
Beau Sea Cadet fb team c1940

Photo courtesy The Herts Advertiser.

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The photograph was taken in the front playground of Beaumont School, Oakwood Drive, St Albans.  At the beginning of WW2 the Sea Cadets trained at the school before moving to new headquarters at Verulamium.  One recognisable face, in the centre of the middle row, is teacher Mr A Coxall, who was also a Special Constable.  He also arranged experience visits to Portsmouth naval and marine bases.  Although St Albans Sea Cadets, it is likely that many of the team members lived in the Fleetville, Camp and Colney Heath areas.  Mr A C Tuck is in the second row. The lower picture, taken on the front field, is possibly an athletics squad.


School journey group to unknown location in 1962
Beau school journey to unknown destination

Photo courtesy Alistair Robertson.

BACK ROW: flanked by Walter Costain and coach driver Mr Crain; Roger Messer third from left.
FRONT ROW: Philip Jones second from right, and Alistair Robertson extreme right, both in black school blazers. 
Do any other photos exist of this or other trips undertaken by Beaumont School, Somerset, Snowdon, Portsmouth and France among them?


Girls' school senior girls at Oakwood Drive site (up to 1953)
Beaumont Girls School senior pupils

Photo courtesy Jean Smith.

It is the teacher in this line-up who has been recognised first.  Her name is Miss Tucker.
BACK ROW L-R: Beryl Seabrook;  ?;  Daphne Spicer;  ?;  ?;  ?;  ?; Margaret Martin. 
MIDDLE ROW L-R: Ursula Tyrer;  ?;  ?; Jean Pryke (Smith); Vera Warren;  ?;  ?;  ?; Joan Dougleish;  ?;  ?; Rosetta Thompson. 
FRONT ROW L-R: Barbara Canfield;  ?; Betty Kent; Edith Shadbolt; Miss Tucker; Maureen King; Jean Shepherd; Pat Knight; Margaret Martin.  Note: Margaret Martin is named twice!


Girls' school prefects at Oakwood Drive site 1953
Beaumont Girls School prefects

Photo courtesy Jean Smith.

BACK ROW L-R:  ?; Ursula Tyrer;  ?; Daphne Spicer; Miss Ellis (head teacher); Jean Pryke (Smith); Beryl Seabrook;  ?;  ?.
FRONT ROW L-R: ?;  ?;  Edith Shadbolt; Betty Kent; Margaret Martin; Jean Dougliesh.  This is thought to be a line-up of prefects with their head teacher.


Girls' school senior girls at Oakwood Drive site in 1952/3
Beaumont Girls' School senior girls 1952/3

BACK ROW L-R: Mary Grosvenor, Doreen Blanks, Rosemary Henderson, Jill Sinclair, Mary Silbery, Janet Chalinor, Sylvia Reeves, Pat Saunders, Dorothy Hicklin.
THIRD ROW L-R: Gill Bracey, Jean Myers, Sheila Rowntree, Anne Reece, Audrey Skeet, Josie Lincoln, Anita Gatehouse, Ann Hutchinson, Janet Hathaway, teacher (name unknown).
SECOND ROW L-R: Jeanette Cunningham, Pauline Scott, Diane Browning, Jill Driscoll, Gloria Batson, Marion Howe, Pauline Morris, Sheila Smedley, Julie Baskerfield, Linda Peters.
FRONT ROW L-R: Betty Rowe, Carol Morgan, Irene Robson, Sylvia Lovatt, Pat Dollymore, Valerie Craddock.
Photograph taken in one of the two quadrangles.
Corrections made July 20th 2016.


Above the upper hall
Beaumonts School lighting panel in 1959.

In the 1950s science teacher Alf Childs constructed a stage lighting control panel above the stage in the upper hall of the original building, formerly the girls' school hall. Senior students L-R Derek Balser, Roger Lane, Bob Browell and David Britten.


School uniform on the beach
Beaumont school journey Somerset on the beach at Weston SM

On school journey to Somerset in 1958 the beach at Weston Super Mare was visited by (L-R) Colin Hunter, David Kiff, Stephen James, Mr Costain, Mike Neighbour, Roger Edwards, John Wells.


Yeoman of the Guard 1958
Yeoman of the Guard 1 in 1958

David Hawkins, Michael Turnbull, David Berridge and David Scott in a scene from the operetta.


Production, possibly 1955
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Photo Mike King.

This production of Sweeney Todd, dating from 1955, was produced by John le F Dumpleton. Although none of the pupils has been identified yet – in spite, or because, of the poor quality image – oddly enough I do remember the scenery being made during my first term at the school.


1958 trip to Wales
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Photo Graham Lines.

This visit to Wales, based at Aberystwyth, was in 1958. The original was in colour but has been reproduced here in monochrome to help identify faces more readily. Only one identified member of the party so far: BACK third from left is Graham Lines.