School Buildings of Gateshead Grammar 

 The first four shots are photographs of the old school buildings dating back to 1883, the fifth is a sketch by an unknown artist. What was the separate small building at the front shown on pic 2 and the sketch?

To enlarge this first photo left click on it

Jon Bratton writes

Architect Reg Snowdon's (Intake 1939)  provides a poetic description in the excellent "Memories Of Gateshead Grammar School" book (details on the Homepage of this website) of this magnificent edifice which Old Goat Frank Rogers (Intake 1939) as a local councillor tried to save from municipal mindlessness. Where was Soc 'Em when we needed them (For those too young, it was a student lobby group in the Sixties called Save Our City from Environmental Mess which stopped Newcastle City Council from replacing gems with carbuncles

If the school had to be modernised the least that could have been done was to retain the Main Building in its entirety or, at the very least, the facade just as happened with, for example, the retained Nelson Street facade of Eldon Square Shopping Centre, albeit we may have had to wait a few years before the facade retention skills had arrived. The logistics problem of housing the pupils while that happened could have been handled by retaining the Science and Technical Buildings plus prefabs until a new school, in a complementary style was built on the school field. What was built on the school field followed the trend at the time to erect ticky tacky structures, held to a very tight cost per pupil place. Only putting up a marquee would have been cheaper and no less vulnerable to rapid destruction in the event of fire. Where there's a will, there's a way. Truth was, there was neither the wit nor the will, by the Council, to retain for posterity a Grammar School...nor, come to that, the memory of brave souls who died in two World Wars!
Rant over.

Per Bill Crow (S/Y 1950) the small building at the front adjacent to the entrance to the school, was a public toilet with entrances just off Prince Consort Road - there were also entrances to these toilets from inside the school grounds.

Left click the image

A Watercolor Painting by Byron Eric Dawson

These next two are North Dene which was used as an annexe to deal with the overspill in the fifties and early sixties, when the baby boomers came of secondary school age. The girls getting their own school in 1956 helped but the pressure wasn't relieved until 1961 when Heathfield Grammar was opened. North Dene first got used in Sept 1953 and continued being used until 1961 or 1963

The above photo of 1B of 1959 Intake shows some detail of the portico at North Dene

This is a builder's drawing of North Dene, 2016, as they prepare to turn it into luxury flats

 Eight of the next 10 photographs, taken 1963, are the property of Malcolm Burns who thankfully not only preserved them for posterity but has allowed us to use them here. Malcolm had a website but has been offline for several years but is returning soon.
Malcolm writes
"I am still living in Gateshead - I have taken early retirement from teaching Chemistry/Science at a school in Sunderland. I have a keen interest in digital photography and I am President of the local Gateshead Camera Club. In my last year at the Grammar School, I made a photographic record of the old buildings before they were demolished. These old pictures will soon be appearing on my new website "

Dining Hall for School Dinners

The Main Corridor

The Art Room



War Memorial, Teachers Seating and Pulpit in the Hall of the Old School

The most common question that has been asked of this website is "What happened to the War Memorials?" Click here to find out

Left click to see the image larger

The Prefects' Room known as "The Ducket" as it was in 1954 (photo by C. Kilburn)
In 1947 it was decorated with stolen street furniture, which were removed by Police on the instigation of the Deputy Head, Mr W. James. Click here for the story. After this period of restraint in the 50's, in the early sixties, street furniture reappeared recalls Jon Bratton who as a, say, 2nd former happened a glance into the part open door of that, to him, forbidden place
More about the Ducket, and the Locket, please

Pond used for calcium carbide power boat racing

Was a teacher's mini parked sideways in the alley?

Looking like Stalag XVIII-A, here are the boys lining up to hand in their Fifty Few to Pethers
You had to be there then or that bit in bold will mean nothing to you.Click here for an explanation, 

 Seek and ye shall find

Within 24 hours of appealing for pics of the 1963 replacement school these three gems arrived from Old Boy and Teacher Mr David Heslop Walker, the first one of which he billed

...the new moon Wi'the auld moon in her arm

I saw the new moon late yestreen,
Wi' the auld moon in her arm:
And if ye gang to sea, maister,
I fear we'll suffer harm.
From the anonymous Scottish ballad Sir Patrick Spens

First Formers taught English by Mr Walker will no doubt remember that little ditty

Toil No Soil, Nor Sea,

Thanks DHW

Per the 1964 edition of The Caprian, the new school was officially opened on 25th April 1964

War Memorial and Sports Honour Boards from old school in the new school hall
Other panelling can be seen in the small hall off to the left

Left click on the above image for a splash of colour

A sketch of new school from the Autumn 1964 edition of The Caprian

Left Click the image to see which is better

The new buildings were of CLASP construction, which a school boy might claim to mean
Crap Local Authority Scrimping wi' Plastic.
Go Here, for the real meaning of the acronym
The new school became the backdrop for class and sports group photos and within two years of the new building's life you could already see signs of deterioration

New school with main entrance facing onto Avenue Road. Building the new school facing west onto a minor road made sense. When the old school was built in 1883 it faced east onto The New Durham Road which had been built a few years earlier in 1826. It was the main road to London and Scotland but very few of us wanted to go to either, so traffic was light.  We, who went to the school in the fifties/sixties and lived in Low Fell, Beacon Lough, High Fell, and all points east of the school, had to negotiate across, what had become, the juggernaught infested A1. But that was when we played pirates in the gym, went rock climbing in plimsols and got strapped, caned, slapped and blackboard rubbered by teachers. The Nanny State hadn't been invented yet

Avenue Road..from the school field for the old school.... and from the front door of the new

The Blessed End
On Bank Holiday Monday 4th May 1992 the disused Saltwell Senior High School was set alight, taking fire fighters 45 minutes to calm the blaze. The main block of the building which was three storeys high was severely damaged and the roof partially collapsed. The single storey building used as a gymnasium and assembly hall was also damaged by the blaze.  The damaged buildings were later demolished

All that was left of the school
March 2015
Nothing left of the school