A Brief History

1780 – 1916

There is a long history to this property. Early references tell us it was the Lamb Inn up to around 1780, when, by charitable donations, a school was built on the site. The school would have been small at first and only taught boys! There was a resident headmaster and supporting staff. In the early days the headmasters were church men and the school was very much linked to the church. The cost of running the school came from income from the properties owned by the Endowed school and Town Lands Charity and from donations. In 1906 the school became a private residence, but was back as a State Grammar School in 1913. It is not clear how the premises were shared during the First World War, but the school premises were also used as the Barracks of the 5th Battalion Loyal North Lancs, that were billeted in the town.

1916 – 1966

After the was under the headship of Mr Walters, the school grew as pupils from outlying areas joined the establishment. The advent of World War II put the school back in the hands of the military. Capt Herman Wall and around 60 photographers from the US Army 165 Photographic Company had their HQ in the class rooms between 1943 and June 1944 before going in with the invasion forces on D Day. Post War, the school leaving age was raised by one year to 15. This put a huge strain on the existing schools and the empty rooms here were refurbished to allow the establishment “All Age School” to have its own site for over 11’s. This eventually evolved into the Secondary Modern School . Additional buildings were soon needed at the rear of the site. Woodwork an Domestic Science were taught in one of the new buildings. Mr Pickles was the Head and Miss Watkins the Deputy Head.

1966 – today

Although the school used most of the buildings from post war, from 1946 the front rooms were used as they are today, as the town Library. The building is owned by the Charity and is let to the Council for a peppercorn rent of £2 per year. This is to meet the Charity’s Trust Deed obligations of providing for Education and Leisure, and as a way of maintaining a Library in the High Street. When the school moved out the main buildings were in a decrepit state. The Trustees embarked on a major refurbishment programme in 1979 and restored the ground floor rooms for community use. Two meeting rooms with kitchen and toilets,. The Watkins  and Walters Rooms were opened in 1980 and are still in constant demand by many groups in the town. Hiring costs are supported by the Charity to ensure affordable rents for the groups and residents. The upstairs rooms were next to be refurbished and around 1990 these were provided to the Chipping  Sodbury Youth Club,  again for a peppercorn rent. Subsequently, this spacious accommodation has been leased to the local Amateur Dramatic Group; Sodbury Players, for their meetings, storage and production rehearsals. The rear courtyard was constructed to provide an outside area.