Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Priory School (Portsmouth)

Priory School is a secondary school in Portsmouth, England.

It was first established to provide post-13 education to boys who couldn't afford the fees of the city's many private schools. It opened in November 1888 on a temporary site on Commercial Road .

The schools modern site was originally purchased by the Portsmouth School Board in May 1890 for 3000, at the time the area was known as "The Wilderness" due to the lack of development activity. On the site were several buildings in a a heavy state of disrepair, among the buildings were Howard's Cottage reputedly the oldest building in Portsea and home to the ghost of Lady Temple.

The construction of the school cost 9,704 and took two years, the buildings were completed in May 1892. Later extensions of the school site led it to cover the site of an old priory and a farm called Priory Farm.

In 1905 it was decided that the Francis Avenue School for girls should move to a building next to the boys school. This school which cost 25,000 to build was opened on the 4th November 1907, this school building now forms the main building of the current school.

During the First World War both the boys and girls schools were converted into the Fifth Southern General Hospital to care for soldiers injured during the war. After the war both schools returned to normal.

Due to the growing women's movement after the war, the girls school expanded rapidly, purchasing St Peter's Institute in 1925, by 1931 almost 800 girls were studying at the heavily over-crowded school.

Due to Portsmouth being considered a high-risk target during the Second World War led to evacuation of pupils from both of the school, in turn leading to the buildings being used for war purposes. On the 10 January 1941 German bombing led to the destruction of the boys school and the girls school's new wing which had been built in 1934.

The destruction led to the boys moving to the St Ronan's Road School, with the old boys school being left as a bombed out wreck for the next twenty years.

In 1946 the girls schools became the Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the boys school was cleared and replaced with a gymnasium for the girls school. The 1960s was a time for rapid expansion with the addition of a lecture theatre and a sixth-form building.

In 1974 the boys school returned to the site, this time merging with the girls school to form Priory Comprehensive.

External links