Contents List The Gallery Special Occasions


Open Day 1951
Russian Delegation Visit 195?
Speech Days
School Inspection 1958
Fry Hall Opening 1959

Minister of Education Visit 1963
Festival of Education 1965
School Inspection 1972
Minister of Education Visit 1974
Duke of Edinburgh's Visit 1990

Mr Wolsey's Leaving Dinner 1992
Lotus Elise Presentation 1998

Founders' Day

Open Day 1951

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Wymondham College had  existed for only one term when this Open Day was held.  At that time there were only 60 students in the school (the Pilot Technical Course).

Russian Delegation Visit 195?

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Domestic Science

Speech Days


The College's first formal Speech Day took place in St Andrew's Hall, Norwich on the 21st of October 1958.  The Guest of Honour was Mr Dean Acheson, previously US Secretary of State, who had performed the official opening of Lincoln Hall earlier that day.  His presence reflected the historical links between the College and America, captured in the opening verse of the School Song. The opening of Lincoln Hall was recorded on 16mm cine film by Mr Staveley & was shown occasionally during film nights for several years afterwards.  Where is it now?

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Opening of Lincoln Hall

St Andrews Hall

Programme (PDF file):

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Later Years

The Sports Hall at the College was not completed until 1963 so St Andrew's Hall continued to be the Speech Day venue during the intervening years.

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1959 programme 1961 programme


School Inspection 1958
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Read the full report ....
29 pages
PDF file - 1.8MB
The College was visited by a team of Her Majesty's inspectors on 11-14th November 1958, resulting in the publication of the first report on the school by the Ministry of Education. The conclusion reached was as follows:

Wymondham College is a unique and stimulating educational experiment . Founded as an act of faith, encouraged by those responsible for its material and human requirements, it has developed further, both academically and socially, than might have been expected from the conditions in which it has had to evolve . It has now successfully passed through the first two stages of establishment and consolidation, a tribute to the leadership of the Warden and the service of an unselfish and hardworking staff. The move to permanent buildings would not only represent the next step of development but would also offer opportunities for further advances in the work and life of a community already offering so much to its members and the County it serves . It is to be hoped that this will take place as soon as possible.

Adverse comments were reserved for the gymnasia:

The worst features of the whole of the teaching accommodation are the two gymnasia and their ancillary rooms . The drainage in the shower area is quite inadequate, water stands in stagnant pools and spreads into the changing rooms . Owing to the lack of either kit stores or towel drying facilities, storage for gymnastic clothing is most unhygienic . There are no lavatories or wash basins for the girls in the gymnasium area, and the nearest available lavatory accommodation is at some considerable distance . General conditions are so bad that the building of a gymnasium block with all the necessary adjuncts should be considered as having urgent priority. [The new sports block was completed in 1963.]


Fry Hall Opening 1959


Minister of Education Visit 1963

The Warden & Dr Lincoln Ralphs

Plaque Unveiling

Leaving Kett Hall

Sir Edward Boyle, Bart., Conservative Minister of Education, visited the College on 15th October 1963 to declare formally open Kett Hall, Cavell Hall and the Sports Complex (gymnasia and swimming bath).  This was the first official function to be held at the College since the opening of Fry Hall in 1959 (see above).  The Opening of the Sports Complex was combined with a series of speeches in the Games Hall, the most memorable aspect being the award of an extra day's holiday (to 'appreciative applause,' according to the 1964 College Magazine).  On completion of the ceremony, Sir Edward chose to walk to the Halls;  Cavell first, then Kett; thereby confounding arrangements and leaving 'twelve very presentable Sixth Form girls .... with car doors to open, but no customers.'

Sir Edward represented Handsworth (Birmingham) in Parliament for twenty years from 1950.  He died in 1981.


The Festival of Education 1965

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Electronics Lab

From the 1965 College Magazine:

On June the 2nd, 3rd and 4th a Festival of Education was held at the College, sponsored and organised by the Norfolk Education Authority. It was a display of all aspects of education within the county and was primarily aimed at educators to show them what other educators are doing. The normal working of the College was surprisingly little affected, though two marquees, a mobile classroom and a certain amount of renovating of neglected areas did bring an atmosphere of bustle for several days before half-term. The highlight for most of the College, of course, was the fact that two days were tacked on to the beginning of half-term, and there has consequently been a popular movement for making the Festival an annual event.

There were a large number of displays by firms connected with education, and also demonstrations, such as drama and singing, by a number of the county schools.  This article is intended to record the contribution of various departments of the College, but of course one must remember that they formed only a small proportion of the whole.

The Physics Department, under Mr. Dudley and Mr. Thornley, had spent much time, ingenuity and effort in organising their display, and Mr. Doughty has given me this note upon it: " At the present time the teaching of Physics in schools is undergoing considerable change. The recommendations of the Science Teachers' Association and the Nuffield Foundation Science Project when adopted will require the introduction of a wide range of new apparatus and fresh approaches in the teaching of this subject. An opportunity for Norfolk teachers to see some of the equipment now available was provided by the department of Physics at the College. The exhibition included work in atomic physics, electromagnetic radiation, electron physics and applications in electronics, and finally transistors. Visitors were particularly impressed to see boys in the Sixth Form demonstrating experiments with skill and confidence. The Physics staff wishes to thank these boys for their invaluable help, and many educational suppliers for the loan of apparatus."

The Technical Department exhibited samples of work ranging from Valene Barnett's (4b) first drawings, Roger Hayward's (5a) "O" Level drawings, to U6 answers to "final degree" questions. There were also "live" demonstrations illustrating the work being done by the Sixth Form in the Advanced Drawing Office. Jill Waker and Anthony Thomas demonstrated Graphic Statics, Michael Wilcock solved problems from past degree papers, and Jeremy Buck continued his project on the two-stroke engine. Various models used in Technical Drawing and Engineering Science were also displayed, keyed to the associated drawings and calculations.
The Art Department showed a delightful variety of printed fabrics which had been made for "A" Level examinations, and some sculpture. The needlework on view was mainly the work of College girls and was fairly comprehensive. Miss Hawkyard and her pupils enjoyed the opportunity of seeing their work properly displayed on dress forms and specially made stands. Special mention should be made of the Advanced Level work done by Rosemary Daynes, Mary Spooner and Jennifer Towson. By any standards, colour schemes, design and execution were of a high order, and visitors were appreciative of the excellence of the various items.

Lastly, but far from least, was the display of work done by the metalwork department. This was of a high standard, and included a shooting stick by Browne of 4e, silver-plated tankards by Kirk and Condor, a bowl by Chown, a beautiful chalice which is to become the senior cricket trophy, made by Hammond in 1964, an engraved teapot stand by Whyte, a foot-pump by Corless and a steam engine by R Brown, their "A" Level projects, and finally a project undertaken by 2c in which each boy had made a brass paperknife of his own design. The ingenuity and workmanship shown in these designs was particularly noteworthy.

In all the College could be very pleased with the part it took in the Festival, and tribute must also be paid to the hard work of administrative and executive staff who had put so much into it before the opening day.

C.C.H.W. [Mr Worrall]


School Inspection 1972

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Read the full report ...
23 pages
PDF file - 1.3MB
The College was visited by a team of Her Majesty's Inspectors during the period 22nd February to 2nd March, resulting in the publication of the second report on the school by the Department of Education and Science (formerly the Ministry of Education). The conclusion reached was as follows:

Much headway has already been made in the direction of integrating what were formerly 2 separate schools. The fundamental problem of a weekly programme remains to be resolved in one way or the other so that present unnecessary strains and complications can be eliminated. The Warden has a clear sense of purpose and the capacity for essential advance planning provided he is furnished with the raw material for this purpose. This includes information about expected numbers, relevant information about individual pupils, both academic and personal, and a clear understanding of the principles by which resources will be varied to match changing demand, in terms of numbers or range of age or ability. What has been achieved in the present acutely complex circumstances strongly suggests that removal or reduction of these complexities coupled with proper advance planning information would lead to an organisation which made efficient use of resources and provided satisfactorily for the varying needs of the pupils.

Adverse comments were reserved for the buildings:

Various rooms, notably those used for science, art, music and careers, have at times been affected by roof leakage or flooding, with consequent damage to stores. In several science rooms rain water entering the roof runs along electrical cables and drips from mains light fittings on to benches. Extensive defects and electrical hazards make the physics and chemistry laboratories unsatisfactory for teaching and possibly dangerous.

In the central kitchen, where there is no proper provision for hand-washing, equipment dating in part from 1946 and old-fashioned sinks with worn wooden draining boards are used under conditions which preclude satisfactory standards of hygiene. It seems impossible to prevent wild birds and rats from gaining access to the building, which is understood to have been condemned by the County Medical Officer.


Minister of Education Visit 1974
11th January 1974

The article about the visit of Sir Edward Boyle in 1963 reminds me of another occasion when we were visited by the then Minister of Education in the early 1970s; a certain Mrs. Margaret Thatcher.  Mixed boarding houses had just begun on a
trial basis, and I was one of the lucky ones who moved from Durham House to join Wakefield House to become New Hall. Washington House had also moved over to our old building to join Norwich House (to form Peel), and all the other houses continued for the time being as boys only or girls only.

One feature of our new accommodation was an enormous puddle of water that completely filled up the archway into the courtyard and most of the asphalt area outside, due to a blocked drain. As this was the only means of access to the house, the front doors being kept locked at all times, we all seemed to have permanently wet socks, especially when arriving or departing with our more boisterous peers, and this was a point of complaint for many months. We often asked the gumbies to do something about it, but without an official pink chit it would have been more than their 'jobsworth' and they were unable or unwilling to help. Of course the "heebs" lives were made an even greater misery by it, and they could often be seen extracting their art aprons or rugby boots from the middle of the great expanse of water, or drying their legs with rugby shirts.

It was anticipated that Mrs. Thatcher would either visit New Hall or the other mixed house, and we were accordingly primed to be on our best behaviour. We wondered about the big puddle, but somehow couldn't picture Mrs. T picking her way through the water accompanied by Messrs. Wolsey and Garrard. They would probably open the front doors, if they could find the keys.

Imagine our complete and utter annoyance when, on the morning of Mrs. Thatcher's visit (by an amazing coincidence), a huge tanker truck showed up from the council and sucked up our entire puddle in five seconds flat. We had been putting up with the thing for months, and were livid that just because some important government person or other might possibly see it, it was immediately sorted out without any apparent problem at all. I decided if I got to see Mrs. T, I would let her know that we usually had to swim into the house.

As it happens I have no idea whether Mrs. Thatcher visited New Hall or not. We were (rather wisely) kept well away at the time. It was only many years later, when she landed an even more high profile job, that I found out what she looked like.

David Cook

This account appeared in the 1974 College Magazine:


Almost immediately after the start of the Spring Term, on Friday 11th January, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the then Minister of State for the Department of Education and Science, paid a visit to the College. After her arrival at 11.45 she made a guided tour of New Hall, the Chapel, the science laboratories, the main dining hall and the games block. At 12.30 there was a reception in the recreation room, where other educationists for different parts of Norfolk were given the opportunity of meeting her. She was presented with a brass tray made in the College workshops as a memento of her visit, and then drove to Morley Hall for lunch, while most of the other visitors had lunch in New Hall. On the whole the emphasis of the visit as far as the College was concerned was upon the fabric of the buildings rather than the inhabitants, and the normal working of the school day was little interrupted except for certain areas being roped off as out-of-bounds for a short time.

An interesting sequel was that a tentative arrangement was made a week or two later for Mr. Heath to visit the College in March of this year, but the result of the General Election disrupted this plan, and we must wait a little longer for a Prime Ministerial visit.


Duke of Edinburgh's Visit
9 March 1990

There is a related newspaper clipping on the Press Coverage page.  In addition, the following three documents (converted to PDF files) turned up when the College's filing system was weeded in 2007.

Click to view The College's planning memo
(13 pages - 800KB)

The Science Department's plan
(3 pages - 180KB)
A letter from the Palace (46KB)


"It was my lesson that got inspected for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh.  We practised the lesson three times prior to his coming and still the benches were a mess!  You can see Geoffrey Dorling looking on (hoping that I would not create a 'royal' incident).  Ron Wolsey is in the background (obviously, he had more confidence in me!). The lady in the middle is/was the Chair of Governors.  Shortly after this photo was taken HRH went through the door in the background and down to the Technician's room. He startled 'our Keith' (the technician and not Rutherford) who was smoking a fag!" -
Cliff Martin

From left: Mr Wolsey, NK (Chair of Governors?), DoE, ....... ?
The Guard of Honour.
Cliff Martin: "... and that's the hole made by the retort after we added the acid." 
From the 1990 Magazine:

Third years planning to do their Bronze award were practising their survival techniques i.e. cooking food.  He was marginally dubious about the source of the beefburgers - "You didn't have to kill a cow, did you?"

From the 1990 Magazine:

Walking down the line of extremely smart pupils he reached a section of Sixth Formers and said good-humouredly "You must be the Sixth Form because you are the scruffiest lot of them all!"

Chemistry Lab.  In the Physics Lab, the Duke's response to a 5th Year's explanation of his experiment was "So what?"  Sally Moore is pictured second from the left.

The Duke was presented with a commemorative booklet containing a College Colours certificate and the words to the College Song and Prayer.
The following images were taken from two transparency slides.


Mr Wolsey's Leaving Dinner
11th July 1992

Mr Wolsey took over from R.V. Metcalfe as Warden in January 1971 and retired at the end of August 1992.  His leaving dinner was held in the newly-completed Refectory.  If you can identify faces other than Mr Wolsey, Lady Ralphs and Mike Brand, please let us know.

Caption suggestions?

Lotus Elise Presentation 1998

Simon Wood (Managing Director Lotus Engineering) is shown presenting a Lotus Elise to the College in a fund raising venture. The young lady receiving it on behalf of College and posing with SW for photographers is pupil Elise Fitt.

At the rear (L to R) are Lord Edward Fitzroy (Chair of Governors), Paul Spencer-Ellis (Vice-Principal), Barbara Browne (Principal's PA), Alison Scott (Vice-Principal) and Tony Rudd (ex-Director of Lotus and designer of the BRM Engine).


Founders' Day

Founders' Day is an annual event that is held to celebrate the foundation of the College in 1951.  The format comprises a service in the Chapel, a reception/lunch and an evening concert.

The purpose is to give thanks to the success of the experiment started by Dr Lincoln Ralphs, Mr W. O. Bell, Sam Peel and the original staff and pupils.  We also remember the founding of the Hospital site and the suffering of the US Forces in defending liberty, hence the very existence of Wymondham College and its freedom to teach in the way it has done and will continue to do.

Photographs: 2007 (20 photos)







Wymondham College Remembered