Gascoyne Cecil School

By Miriam Gaskin

Gascoyne Cecil JM
Hatfield Library collection
Gascoyne Cecil JM
Hatfield Library collection

Gascoyne Cecil School in Birchwood is now part of Birchwood Avenue Primary School.  I think the infant school was called Salisbury Infants.  Can this be confirmed by anyone?

This page was added on 07/02/2011.

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  • Like David Wilkinson my dad was in the police force and we lived in exactly the same house next to the church, 1963-68. I went to Cranbourne, taught by Mrs Prince, and then on to GC until we moved to Hitchen. I remember it as a wonderful and happy school with keen and enthusiastic teachers, especially Mr Gunn. Good music teaching: I still play the recorder, though I lost my enthusiasm for the violin. The country dancing wasn’t so much to my taste! I was passing through Hatfield recently and stopped off to look at the house and the schools. Nice to see them all still going strong.

    By Tim Rees (15/09/2023)
  • I was at Salisbury infant school in the mid to late 70’’s , Mrs Leauvoure was head then not sure about the spelling so apologies for any mistake mads. Mrs Gardener, Mrs Picket and Mrs Ryan were teachers . I remember leaving a huge pile of Star Wars collect able cards in my personal drawer at the end of term in the second year 1977 probably, obviously not there 6 weeks later , probably worth a fortune now .
    Then went to Gascoigne Cecil , Mr Mobey was my first teacher he’d been there since my Dad was there as was Mrs Evans , Mrs Jones was head , Miss Lower , Mrs Wallace and Miss Swales all had the ability to excite a red blooded young boy . We went to Pearce House in Bishops Stortford for a field trip for a few days , also spent a week in Sandown Isle of Wight 44 Fitzroy Street . Things I remember for Christ sake , 1982 I think. Mrs Pender was the best teacher with her West Highland Terrier was my favourite, so when I real she was moving to Onslow school the same year I did and was my drama teacher was great. Plus the last two years at Gascoigne the school football team one the Maynard Cup against two very good schools Countess Anne and Newtown schools.

    By Spencer V (30/03/2023)
  • I was at Cranbourne 58/59 and then onto the gas works. I remember it being a very happy place to be at school. My dad was in the police and we lived in the police house next to the church in Birchwood avenue. We moved to St. Albans after this but I have such strong memories of the school and Hatfield that even now they seem like yesterday. I live in Australia now but will come back when i am able to see how it has changed.

    By David Wilkinson (28/08/2021)
  • We had a guinea pig and the children in the class were given the chance to take it home to look after during the holidays. I told my teacher I was allowed to look it but forgot to ask my parents. Imagine my mother’s surprise as I whisked by her in the teacher’s car one day complete with guinea pig and its cage. She was not very well pleased as she had to walk all the way home to pick me up as we were supposed to be going out somewhere visiting.

    Cuffley Camp was ace – I went two years running.

    The dining hall had murals of various flying machines and an old fashioned hot air balloon. The “library” extended all the way around the assembley hall and along the classroom corridors. You had to put your name card in place of the book you wanted to read. I loved being a librarian, cleaning the shelves and tidying the books.

    By Carolyn Palmer (16/08/2021)
  • I remember the pond with the tadpoles and the hill we used to roll down in summer time.

    There was a teacher who played the violin – fairly elderly but lovely man. I wish I remembered his name. Was it Mr Foster, Forster??

    “I saw a bird in the top of the tree,
    This is the song he was singing to me
    God made us all, in a wonderful way
    Be happy, be happy today”…

    By Amaka O (08/06/2021)
  • Mr.Graham Hall, I live in Montreal, Canada! Back in the late mid 60’s I was a proud member of Gascogne Cecil Junior school up until I was named captain of the school football team in 1971 only to find out after being named captain that I was moving back to Canada with my parents! I sadly miss those days. I was also a pupil at East Barber Junior and Cromer Road Elementary before my return to Canada. I lived on Birchwood Close, Herts with my grandparents at the time! Great memories always!

    By Graham Hsll (28/10/2020)
  • I was there around the same time as Mark Burley – early to mid 70s. I remember the infants as Salisbury though Cranborne also rings a bell, it must have changed whilst I was there.

    Mrs Lavoire was the headmistress at Salibury’s, we used to go to her office to receive stars for good work. The only teacher I remember was Ms Fullsir (sp?), she had a little orange car (beetle I think).

    The paddling pool at the back of the infants school was a delight in the summer months! Such happy days.

    I was only in Gascoyne for 1 year before we moved away from Hatfield.

    By Enuma M. (20/07/2020)
  • I seem to remember I attended the ‘gasworks’ between Sept 51 thru 57 before moving to Burleigh & lived in Wood Common then Chelwood. The massive field at the rear was used for sports etc before being fenced for Cranborne to be built at the Hopfields end. My teachers were Ms Jolly, Wise, Hedderley (music) & Mr Richardson, Lynch, Cuneen & Mowbrey with Mann running an aircraft club after school in my later years. I cant remember other teachers. Football/Cricket for boys & netball/rounders for girls were the key sports with good teams all round. Competition with local schools was very keen. Ivinghoe Youth Hostel or Cuffley Camp were 5 day trip options in final year, I chose Ivinghoe with Mr Lynch & Ms Wise. I think it was generally a happy school with lots of singing & country style dancing, sword dance on grass being very tricky. Best to have avoided the flying chalk & board rubbers tho much worse at Burleigh later.

    By Terry Phillips (19/07/2020)
  • Mesg for Brian Hurley:
    Your memory serves you well! I too remember all those things although l had forgotten about the intriguing murals in the dinner hall.
    I think we were at school together l lived over the road from you in Flaxland.
    Interesting to see you went to Canada we were due to go around the same time but for some reason De Havillands decided to keep my father here.

    By Mike Rush (04/05/2020)
  • wow memories my name is brian hurley and lived at 10 cornerfields-left for Canada in 57 -the pond in the courtyard with tadpoles and frogs-soccer at the back field -mr woodward-cafeteria with mural I think of a hot air balloon?-short pants with tie and cap grey and red-hmm I am 73 and still remember

    By brian hurley (26/03/2020)
  • I was at Cranbourne then the gasworks from Sept 1962-July 1966 I was in the school orchestra playing the recorder & treble recorder under Mrs Cromarty. I remember MR Hyde & Mrs Jolly very well & the sudden death of Mr Woodward, together with the upheaval afterwards. The fountain in the courtyard was erected in his memory the orchestra played at its dedication ceremony. We did have a lot of substitute teachers at that time. One was a young man who used to take us outside to read the Hobbit in the summer under the trees. Mr Hyde was also a good shot with the blackboard rubber as I recall.

    By Jyll Beckford (nee Marsh) (25/02/2020)
  • Most interesting – I spent my first 9 years living in Longmead Avenue and attended Cranbourne infants and Gascoyne Cecil junior schools until 1963 when I moved to Hemel Hempstead. I can still just remember Mrs Lloyd and Mr Woodward.

    By Colin Hazell (17/02/2020)
  • So interesting to read these comments. Yes the infant school was originally called Cranborne
    I left Gascoigne in 58 after a very enjoyable time
    Mr Woodward was a visionary headmaster who along with the members of staff already mentioned created a successful school that enriched the lives of the children in many different ways. There were after school clubs..
    ..from chess to boxing, various music groups etc.
    As previously mentioned we had a very strong football heritage. I played in the team for two years and was captain in my final year.
    The kit was red shirts with white sleeves white shorts red an white socks (as worn by Arsenal)
    No doubt many of the ex-pupils went onto great things. One springs to mind Mick Taylor who joined the Rolling Stones.
    Great memories!!
    Mike(Mick) Rush

    By Mike Rush (10/01/2020)
  • can anyone remember in Gascoyne a subject that was taught that was working through books/levels, that was not your normal subject (or not maths/history/English etc)
    Late 80s….

    By Hayley (16/10/2019)
  • My mother Mrs (Margaret) Gardiner taught at Salisbury Infants School for many years up until her retirement in 1991. The head throughout her time was Mrs Margaret Levoir.

    By Andrew Gardiner (07/07/2019)
  • I went to both Cranbourne Infants School & then Gascoyne Cecil Junior School from 1953 to 1959. I remember Mrs Lloyd as the headmistress at Cranbourne and Mr Woodward as the head at GC. I was also taught by Mrs Jolly and Mr Richardson. I went on to Onslow School and eventually became a teacher in Gloucestershire. I am now retired and my maiden name was Hurley.

    By Sylvia Chamberlain (02/07/2019)
  • I was very interested to see the various comments about Cranborne Infants’ and Gascoyne Cecil schools (I seem to recall that ‘Cranborne’ was spelled without a ‘u’), which I attended from 1955-1961. I had forgotten Mr Mobey, the football coach, but particularly recall Mrs Jolly, who frightened us all, Mr Woodward the head and Mr Mann, who was the class teacher for my two final years. Does anyone else recall being in the ‘Church Hall’ class, so-called because it was based a hundred yards or so up Birchwood Avenue at St Michael’s, presumably because of overcrowding on the main site? This was in 1958-59ish.

    I enjoyed David Groom’s comments about the football team, and remember David himself – he was unusual in getting into the team when not in his final year. I was the goalkeeper for the 1961 Maynard Trophy 3-2 victory against Brookmans Park, and still have a photo of Alan Hallworth, the captain, being presented with the trophy by George Eastham. I can endorse David’s remark that Gascoyne had a good record in the competition as I recall feeling some pressure to live up to the standard set by our predecessors. We were all annoyed with Mr Mobey because during the final we kept being pulled up for foul throws, as he hadn’t told us that we had to keep both feet on the ground when releasing the ball – there was very little football on TV then, so we weren’t likely to have picked up the correct technique that way. Other players in the 1961 team (I think, but could easily be wrong) were Graham Bennett, John Dee, David Neville and Graham Munt, and possibly ? Perschsky, Ken Stapeley and Dave Carter. Our kit was rather old-fashioned – red and white quartered shirts with collars – though again my memory may be incorrect. Thanks to David for reminding me that the final was played at Countess Anne – I had a mental picture of the ground but couldn’t work out where it was.

    Like several other correspondents on this page I am no longer resident in Hertfordshire, having finally moved away in 1991.

    David Cross

    By David Cross (09/04/2019)
  • My name is John Lister
    My parents moved to Hatfield from Yorkshire in 1955.
    I remember the school well. Educational and more importantly sporting standards were excellent.
    I was captain of cricket mainly due to my county of birth, and was privileged to play in the Hertfordshire Junior Schools Cup Final in my last year which over 2 legs I think we won 22 – nil.
    I was the only player not to score – though the goal keeper scored twice!
    At 71 now still happy memories!

    By John Lister (27/03/2019)
  • I was at both schools from around 1970 to 76 when my parents moved.
    The infant school was definitely Cranbourne. We had a headmistress her name was Mrs Lavoire not sure on the spelling.
    Moving to GC i recall my teacher was Mrs Pender a Scottish lady. We also had another called Mrs Devere. She was in the Guiness book of records for walking from lands end to John ogroates.
    I did a brief spell at Hatfield High School B4 moving to Bucks…

    By MARK BURLEY (30/12/2018)
  • The names of the schools are from Lord Salisbury’s family. I think when Viscount Cranbourne became Lord Salisbury the name of the Infant school changed. I remember Miss Chiltern, Mr Gunn, Mrs Bennett, Mr Wilkins, Mr Moby (deadshot with a blackboard rubber apparently) and Mr Woodward. I remember having to do netball as girls could not play football then. We did country dancing and competed for the school. We had a dancing display at the school fete.

    By Heather Saxby (26/12/2018)
  • I was a pupil at Gascoyne between 1958-62 approx., Mr Mobey used to take the School football team for practice as we used to play each year in a competition called The Maynard Trophy , and Gascoyne had a good record in this competition. In fact when I was in year 5, as it is now known, I was selected to play for the team and we got to the final winning 3-2 against Brookmans Park Junior School. The next season , when in my last year there we got to the final again, this time losing 3-2 again against the old enemy Brookmans Park. I was lucky enough to score in both games. One of the years, can’t recall which, George Eastham ( who was a big signing for Arsenal that year, presented the Trophy and the final both years was played at Countess Anne School , the one behind the old Police Station.
    (I Moved from East Herts to The New Forest in 1993.)

    By David Groom (02/10/2018)
  • I was in my last year at Gascoyne Cecil school when the headmaster, Mr Woodward, died. Our teacher, Mrs Jolly, stood in as head until a new one was appointed and we had lots of temporary “teachers”. One of the jobs I had was to arrange flowers each week in a silver bowl, in the main entrance hall, which was to commemorate Mr Woodward. I felt very honoured to be asked to do it.

    We learnt to play the recorder with Miss Cromarty and we did country dancing.

    By Carolyn Palmer (02/03/2018)
  • I taught for a year (65-66) at Gascoyne Cecil Junior as an untrained person prior to going to what in those days was called a Teacher Training College.

    The Head, Mr Woodward, had either just died or retired on health grounds and died soon after. Mrs Jolly was Acting Head, and I think Mr Mobey, who always cycled to school, was Acting Deputy. It cannot have been easy for Mrs Jolly, but my memory is of a happy and purposeful school.

    As well as the teachers mentioned by Richard Muncey I recall a young teacher, Mr Gunn.

    Fourteen years later I was a Head, although not in Hertfordshire, so I was clearly not put off by my year at Gascoyne!

    By Robert Oakhill (24/11/2017)
  • It was definitely Cranbourne Infant School when I was there 1958-61. Teachers at Gascoyne include Mr Hyde, Miss Cromarty (Music) Mr Mobey, Mrs Jolly and Mr Woodward (Head teacher). Also Mrs Greaterex the fearsome Country Dancing teacher.

    By richard muncey (19/09/2017)
  • Yes, Cranbourne Infants – I was there from 1965, moved to Gascoyne Cecil Junior School from 67-71 before (sadly) moving on to St. Audrey’s School up in Traveller’s Lane. Had Mrs. Bennett for my last two years at GC.

    By Paul Harper (11/09/2017)
  • I was at Cranborn Infants in 1968 and moved up to Gasgoin Cesil. Mrs Joly was the french teacher at Gasgoin and, I think, the deptuy head

    By Chris Nicholas (09/09/2017)
  • I went to Gascoyne Cecil same time as Deborah Ross we had a teacher called Mrs Jolly I recall.

    By Rebecca Alfonso (nee Kershaw) (19/01/2017)
  • I was at Gascoigne Cecil until 1960 and remember Jacqueline Holt. Other memories were country dancing with my partner being sick over me and Mr Mobey for sport.
    The infant school next door was definitely Cranborne Infants.

    By David Webb (11/01/2017)
  • I went to Gascoigne Cecil until we emigrated to Oz in 1966.  My little brother was at Cranbourne Infants when we left so it must have changed names later.  We had grey shorts and shirts and a grey jumper with two red bands around the v-neck. a red and grey tie and the badge was a shield with an arrow.

    By Marc Lockett (25/10/2016)
  • The infant school was originally called Cranbourne Infants School.  I joined Gascoyne Cecil Junior School in 1969 and my brother attended the infant school.

    Deborah Love, nee Ross

    By Deborah Love (12/05/2015)
  • Is this by any chance the same Mick Stephen that went to

    Burleigh s/m?

    By Graham Wheeler (28/04/2015)
  • The infant school was definitely called Salisbury Infants school,  when I was there around 1997. I think the school was called Cranbourne Infants school before though.

    By Van M (29/04/2014)
  • The school was called Cranbourne Infants school

    By Jacqueline Holt (13/10/2013)
  • The infants school was definitely called Salisbury Infants when I was there in the mid-1970’s. it was officially closed in 1999. Not sure where Cranborne infants comes from, was it called this earlier?

    By Mark leahy (08/02/2013)
  • the infant school was called cranborne infants.

    By Mick Stephen (12/10/2011)