When Skerton High was a popular school

One of the school's early crossing patrols at work.
One of the school's early crossing patrols at work.
Share this article

This month saw the official closure of Skerton Community High School, following a decision made by Lancashire County Council earlier this year.

The council blamed falling rolls and poor results for shutting the school, with youngsters moving to other schools around the district.

Skerton School staff, 1950s.

Skerton School staff, 1950s.

Year 11 will remain at the school for a further year to complete their GCSEs, after which the school will cease operation for good.

With the news in mind, we were contacted by some former pupils of the school who wanted to share their memories and photos.

The school also held a special celebration festival, displaying many artefacts and photos from down the years.

Skerton High was built by the Corporation of Lancaster in the early 1930s, the foundation stone being laid on September 21, 1932 and the building itself completed by 1934, the year that the school opened.

Originally, it was a provider of education to both boys and girls, who were segregated; the boys being educated in the northern wing, while the girls were educated in the southern wing.

The latter wing was presided over by a headmistress and the former by a headmaster.

The Art Deco style school was built in an E-shape, the majority of the classrooms being on the one corridor.

The original facade of the building still exists, although alterations were later made to the original architectural design (the assembly hall, for example, was originally planned as being in the central position, but it was later decided to build the hall towards the rear).

What was most recently the main corridor was once an open verandah, with doors lining the inner walls of the classroom which could be opened out onto the verandah to release pupils from their lessons and let in fresh air during hot weather.

The verandah later disappeared, to be replaced by a closed corridor which ran the length of the building.

There were originally two quadrangles, the northern one being for the boys and the southern one for the girls.

These were encroached upon in subsequent years; the northern quadrangle being halved in size by the construction of a new sports hall in the early 1990s. The southern quadrangle remained more or less intact.

David Lister of Capernwray provided us with a photograph of the school teaching staff, taken in the late 1950s.

He writes: “Over the last few weeks I have read the warm sentiments expressed by your correspondents regarding the teaching staff at Skerton School in the 1950s.

“One of them mentioned was my father Arthur Lister, known as Ted. I have always wondered how the origin of his nickname came about as it was passed down to me at school, where I was known as Ted.

“My father was very happy at Skerton and did his best to transfer some of his mathematical knowledge to the boys so as to equip them for later life.

“[In the photo] I can recognise Mr Weaver, Reg Baron, Mr Emmott and my father of course: front row, far right.

“No doubt one of your readers will be able to supply full identifications.”

Alan Tyler provided a large photo of the whole boys’ school, taken in October 1960.

He was able to identify a few friends on the print.