Bede School History
If you went to 'The Bede', you probably didn't know the following :-
Sunderland Higher Grade School opened in 1890 near the West Park. The School was divided
into Boys and Girls Departments and both of these were divided into Lower and Upper Schools.
The Lower Schools catered for pupils aged 9 to 14, while the Upper School took pupils between
the ages of 13 and 18 years. Mr G T Ferguson was appointed Headmaster of the Boys' Department,
with Miss Janet Todd as Headmistress of the Girls'.
In 1898 the School was renamed Bede Higher Grade School. Initially the School was under the
control of Sunderland School Board. However, following the 1902 Education Act, School Boards
were phased out and in 1903 the School became the responsibility of Sunderland Borough Council
On 29 June 1903 Bede Higher Grade Junior School opened, in separate premises. It was designed
as a feeder for the Senior School but its existence under this name was short lived and within
a year it had become known as Cowan Terrace Junior Council School.
In 1905 the Higher Grade School was re-organised as a Secondary School, under the control of a
Board of Governors. It was renamed Bede Collegiate School and Mr G T Ferguson was appointed
Head of the Boys' School, Girls School and a Pupil-Teachers Centre. By 1910 the Pupil-Teacher
Centre had closed and following a further re-organisation in 1911 the Boys' and Girls'
Departments were established as separate Schools, with different head teachers.
The school soon outgrew its original premises and in 1927 the foundation stones were laid for
new school buildings on Durham Road. The new premises, designed by Wm. and J.R. Milburn of
19 Fawcett Street, Sunderland, took two years to build at a cost of about £112,000.
They were officially opened on 19 October 1929. In 1938 the size of the school was significantly
increased with the opening of new extensions, including a new physics laboratory, a new library
and two new gymnasiums.
In 1939 the outbreak of the Second World War saw the evacuation of staff and pupils to North
Yorkshire - the boys to Northallerton and the girls to Richmond. At Easter 1940 the school
reopened in Sunderland for the benefit of those pupils who had not been evacuated and by September
1940 most of the pupils had returned.
Following the 1944 Education Act the two schools became Grammar Schools. In 1964 Sunderland Borough
Council published plans to re-organise its secondary schools and in 1967 the Boys and Girls Schools
were amalgamated to form a mixed sex comprehensive school, under the name Bede School. The School
celebrated its centenary in 1990 but closed shortly afterwards in July 1991.
It would be nice to know what happened to pupils during the transition phase between two separate
schools, and the mixed sex comprehensive, or indeed, to those who were attending the school
immediately prior to its closure. Should you wish to relate your experience then, feel free
to pass on your recollections to the email@example.com. They can be published anonymously