South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys  
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The Second World War - South Shields
School at War - Chapters 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Back in South Shields
By the time that the 147 evacuees left South Shields on 8th September, 1939, the school building in Harton was already being readied for war. Open for only three years, a number of alterations were put in place to conform with Air Raid Precautions. The front corridor was described as being an "air-raid shelter de-luxe", although the ARP barricades (largely consisting of stacked sandbags) apparently obscured the views to rooms 2 and 5. "Pa" Petty had already been trained as an ARP warden, and some months before, the school had instigated fire drills - the ATOM records "we wonder if this is due to activities of the IRA or merely the Communists".

In addition, an underground air-raid shelter was constructed at the eastern end of the site (under the grassed area to the east of the metalwork room). George Thompson recalls that it was accessed by going down steps to its metal door entrance, and that there was at least one manhole exit - "I remember popping out if it, carrying my tin Oxo box bound with black insulating tape containing 'emergency rations'".

The school itself underwent some changes. Perhaps the greatest being the arrival of those girls from the Girls' High School who were not evacuated (to Kirby Lonsdale, about 30 miles south of Appleby). The girls' library was transported to Harton, and to provide space the fiction library (which initially occupied room 5 at the other end of the front corridor) was moved into room 2, the non-fiction books in room 2 were moved into room 3, and a door was constructed to link the two rooms.

Very few school societies were able to continue, although this was largely due to problems conforming with blackout restrictions. Most of them were able to resume once these problems had been overcome.

The 1940 ATOM reflected the temporary co-ed status of the school. It was double the normal size, and was a combined publication - the first half was the normal ATOM, and the second half was the girls' school publication, The Chronicle. A second war-time ATOM was published in April, 1941, but this appears to have been the last until publication resumed after the war, in April, 1946 - in the 1941 edition, there is no mention of the girls still being present in the school.

But one thing reflected in the 1941 ATOM was that the school schedule was largely returning to normal although, due to visiting teams not being permitted to enter South Shields, sporting events were somewhat curtailed.

The school itself was to escape bomb damage - not so the houses in Lisle Road. The three photos below show the damage from a parachute mine:

Parachute-mine damage in Lisle Road


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