Western Road School in Lewes celebrates 100th anniversary

Western Road School, Lewes, taken in 1938
Western Road School, Lewes, taken in 1938

A school in Lewes will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a reunion for former pupils, staff and governors on Friday April 24.

Western Road School was founded in 1915 and was the first council school in the town, opening with 98 children, one head master and one assistant mistress.

There will also be an open afternoon where visitors will be able to look around.

Vice chair of the governors Maya Fender said: “We are excited to be celebrating the school’s centenary this year and very proud of Western Road’s history as Lewes’ oldest community primary school, teaching generations of children for the past 100 years.

“We are hoping that many former pupils and staff will be able to join us at the Reunion Party to share memories and be reunited with old friends.”

If you attended the school and would like to share your memories contact the school office on 01273 473013 office@westernroad.e-sussex.sch.uk

Entry is by ticket only, tickets are free and food and drink will be on sale during the evening. For tickets contact the school office.

Lewes Western Road Council School (mixed) opened amidst great excitement on Monday April 12, 1915.

It took many years of planning and negotiations to set up the school which was built on the western end of Western Road.

The first few years were not without difficulty. There were school closures due to outbreaks of measles, influenza, shortages of fuel to heat the classrooms and frozen lavatories.

The headmaster resigned after two months to fight in the First World War and did not return until March 1919.

The Second World War brought more difficult conditions. The frequent air raids meant that the children were often taught in shelter trenches in the playground where sometimes the ‘poor lighting and foul air’ led the headmaster to abandon the trenches and let the children return to their classrooms and shelter under their desks until the air raid was over.

By the end of the Second World War, there were 180 pupils on the roll.

The school purchased its first computer in 1985 which was of great interest and was demonstrated to parents.

By the end of the 1980s it was apparent the premises were no longer suitable for the school. Despite the addition of two prefabs, the building was no longer adequate and discussions began to find an alternative site.

Eventually the school moved to its present site, the former site of Lower Priory school, off Southover High Street in the summer of 1993.