Playground fun for Arnold youngsters

Arnold Junior School, Horncliffe Road, South Shore in 1973 and, on that site today, Horncliffe House rest home
Arnold Junior School, Horncliffe Road, South Shore in 1973 and, on that site today, Horncliffe House rest home
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As all departments of Arnold School take their leave of Blackpool to move to Clifton Drive South, St Annes, following the creation of AKS, we turn the spotlight on its former Junior School.

Surprisingly, for many years, this was based not on Lytham Road, South Shore, but in nearby Horncliffe Road.

Horncliffe House rest home, built on the site of the former Arnold Junior School buildings in Horncliffe Road, South Shore

Horncliffe House rest home, built on the site of the former Arnold Junior School buildings in Horncliffe Road, South Shore

There, the premises originally known as Ivydene, “a preparatory school for young gentlefolk” was operated in the early years of the last century by the redoubtable Miss Stott.

The property was purchased by Arnold’s founding Headmaster, Frank Truswell Pennington, for £800 in 1920.

He also paid £400 for the school’s equipment which included 43 desks, 16 kindergarten tables and chairs, one piano, 28 Indian clubs and 24 dumb bells.

Local historian Kenneth Shenton, Arnold’s archivist, says: “Pennington also bought two large houses across from the school, 10 and 12 Horncliffe Road.

“In 1924 he spent £1,000 on two new classrooms and soon Arnold Junior School could proudly boast an assembly hall, four classrooms and a large playground.”

Presiding over the school for 25 years was the headmistress Mrs Ida Cooke.

Together with her husband, Harry, who was headmaster of Waterloo Junior School, the couple lived at Number 10. In Number 12, connected by an adjoining door, lived the boarders, the house also doubling up as the school dining room.

Kenneth says: “Supporting Mrs Cooke for many years were two long standing teachers, Miss Gedge and Miss Teasdale, both of whom ran the school cub pack. Poor health forced Mrs Cooke to retire in 1945 and she was succeeded by Wilfred Beech.”

Among Horncliffe Road’s many famous pupils were three brothers originally from Riding Mill in Northumberland, Tom, Ken and Maurice Graveney, who certainly made their mark in the world of English cricket. Based in Fleetwood for some years, their widowed mother ran a small corner shop situated on Broadway. Her subsequent marriage to Bob Gardener, an employee of Sir Lindsay Parkinson, would see the family move to Bristol and ultimate sporting fame.

Kenneth says: “Pennington’s long standing ambition had always been to see the Junior School alongside the Senior Department on Lytham Road. Thus, in 1983, on completion of the final phase of a new purpose built Preparatory Department, the decision was taken to close Horncliffe Road. To celebrate the move the pupils held a huge party, the chief guests being Keith Harris and Orville.

“After being empty for some considerable time, the buildings were eventually bought by Old Arnoldian Philip Barlow.

“Subsequently demolished, today Horncliffe House Rest Home stands proudly on the site.”