The Twickenham Museum

Thames Valley Grammar School

Unconventional co-educational grammar school

A new secondary school was opened in 1928. Originally planned as a boys' school it was actually launched as a co-educational grammar school - very different from the conventional grammar school. Locally it was looked on as a doubtful experiment.

The newly appointed Headmaster Mr H W Bligh, one of the youngest Headteachers in the country, was heard to say that "he did not think Twickenham as a whole took to new ideas or appreciated a new school".

Starting with a 3-form entry of 130 pupils with 4 members of staff, it rose by 1933 to a school of 500 pupils with a staff of 20. In the early years the school's catchment area included the surrounding boroughs and urban areas. After World War two the majority of scholars came from the Borough of Twickenham.

Throughout his long career, Mr Bligh untrammeled by tradition, enthusiastically pioneered new ideas and subjects such as Social Studies. 15 - 20 societies were established and its sixth form numbered 60 students.

Mr Bligh continued as Headmaster until 1960 when he was retired and replaced by Dr Mortimer, who remained Head as the school gradually became a sixth form college from 1973.

As a result of a change in educational policy, in 1977 the school became the Waldegrave School for Girls. Girls from Kneller Girls School were moved in and the boys moved out mainly to Teddington School and Whitton School.
"Former pupils remember"

"I left in 1973...It seemed pretty conventional to me, but was none the worse for that. Lots of good staff, and enough interesting lessons to give me happy memories. Oh, yes, and co-educational, I met my wife there..."

"I was there from approx 1957 till about 1960 as a result of passing the 13+ exam (which has since been said to have been a bad experiment). If you went there at 13+ you were put in class with 11-year olds back in the 1st year which I felt was psychologically damaging! I did not enjoy my time there at all. However it was a good school particularly on the sports side."

Marilyn Warburton/nee Mc Mullan writes:
I was desperate to follow my older Sister Joan there and was word perfect on the School song Hanc Exorna before my first day waiting in the playground to be 'classsified in my ground level maroon gymslip!looking out over to Spellers Corner Shop. My first Form teacher was Miss Sanford who was also my simply marvellous History Teacher and I was top of my year in exams in 1957 and again in 1958 when we had a tyrrannical but very glamorous redheaded female History Teacher I can honestly say my School days were sonme of the happiest of my life but Dr Mortimer the new Head was not popular as he tried mainly without success to change the traditions It was quite a strict regime but fair and you felt secure Staff could stop any student by name from the back!! One of the best-loved teachers was Mr Mogford/Moggie who was a sort of Mr Chips and I sent him a Christmas card every year after I left school and then we visited him in Salisbury every year at Christmas until he died when we went there to shop He was visited by many Old Thamesians scattered all over the world whenever they were in England and he absolutely LOVED that Friends from TVGS have been just wonderful in my somewhat troubled personal life these past few years but the School was just a real Community and much-loved by most and me especially I look forward to all the Reunions.

Further reading
Borough Of Twickenham Local History Society Paper Number 73 "The Happiest Days Part II"