Memories of the Henderson School which opened in war-torn Norwich

Teachers at the Henderson School just after the Second World War

Teachers at the Henderson School just after the Second World War - Credit: Archant

News of a school reunion for the Henderson boys and Gurney girls uncovers some great old pictures.

Some of the first pupils

Some of the first pupils - Credit: Archant

Rare pictures have emerged of some of the first pupils and teachers at the new Henderson School soon after it opened in Norwich at the height of the Second World War.

Next week a reunion for is taking place for the former boys and girls at what became the Henderson school for boys and the Gurney School for girls.

The story about the gathering was spotted by Bill Tipler of Wells who sent us these photographs belonging to his late wife Betty, a teacher at the school all those years ago.

Betty Morton trained as a teacher at the Norwich Training College during 1940 and 42 and was on fire watch duty the night that the college was hit and burned down. She fought against the incendiary bombs until the water supply failed,' recalled Bill.

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After completing her training in Leicestershire she returned to her home city where she joined the staff of the new Henderson School in 1943.

'It was a tough school as many of the pupils had missed much school because of the war and been moved of London during the air raids,' said Bill.

Others had survived the Norwich Blitz which, in 1942, destroyed large parts of the city claiming hundreds of lives.

'Each classroom at Henderson adjoined a large cupboard, a small room in fact. This was useful punishment cell for an unruly pupil,' recalled Bill.

'Once Betty returned home for lunch and then remembered that boy was still incarcerated! She returned to release him. Nothing more was heard of the incident. Would parents of 2013 be equally tolerant of such harsh discipline?' he asks.

Betty taught at the school until 1946 when she moved to Watford to join Bill who worked in London.

'The schools later merged, went on to become Bowthorpe with around 1,000 pupils, before closing 20 years later amid much anger.

'In 1990 Betty visited the empty school before its demolition. By chance she met a former pupil, then a man of about 60, who remembered a poem she had taught him in 1945 or thereabouts.

'She had many happy memories of Henderson but sadly is no longer here to recount them,' added Bill.

<t> The reunion for the Gurney girls and Henderson boys is taking place at Chapel Break Community Centre, Bowthorpe, on Saturday January 19 from 7pm. More details from Pat Breeze on Norwich (01603) 720578 or Margaret Paternoster on Norwich 455897.

<t> James 'Fred' Henderson, born in Norwich of 1867, was a left-wing firebrand. A man respected by the rich and the poor and a man Norwich stamped across his heart.

He was jailed for incitement to riot in 1887 after unemployed and starving workers looted food shops in the city.

Fred was sent to Norwich jail where he was one of the last prisoners in England to be put to work on the treadmill.

A poet, he went on to become an author and journalist and the first socialist to be elected to the city council. He was Lord Mayor in at the outbreak of war in 1939. He was granted the freedom of the city in 1947 and died ten years later.

A man worth remembering