Memory Lane: Historic moment at school

The ceremony at the laying of the foundation stone at Arnold Girls School , Bispham Road, Bispham on July 17, 1951

The ceremony at the laying of the foundation stone at Arnold Girls School , Bispham Road, Bispham on July 17, 1951

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TODAY this scene would be a health and safety nightmare, but exactly 60 years ago the pupils were actively encouraged to stand on strategically-placed boards on a Bispham building site to witness an historic moment.

As The Gazette reported on July 17, 1951: “Work stopped for a short time yesterday afternoon on the site of the new Arnold High School for Girls, which is being built in Bispham Road, Bispham, for the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone by the Mayor of Blackpool, Coun Joseph Hill.”

In the wall, the mayor placed a casket containing plans, papers and a copy of The Gazette which contained a photograph and description of the school.

The ceremony included a brief history of the school which had “an honourable and chequered career” via Abingdon Street, Springfield Road, Alexandra Road and Lytham Road. It was described as “the only girls’ school of those pioneering days to weather the wars and slumps which wiped out many valuable private schools of Blackpool and other seaside towns”.

The previous year the school changed from independent status to that of a maintained grammar school under Blackpool Council. There were 330 pupils which would increase to 550 once the transfer was made to Bispham in September, 1953. In later years, the school merged with Claremont Girls School to become Greenlands High School and today, with lads alongside the lasses in the classrooms, it is Bispham High School Arts College.