Three Generations of Birchalls at The Grange School, Hartford

wantingcaution !! this is an initial draft ... these notes are on my server for safe keeping !!





The Grange School 1948In 1945 we started to study and have fun at 'Mrs Perry's', a small primary school at Hartford Crossroads and 5 years later, in 1950, we left 'The Grange School', Hartford for King's Chester. This superb little educational establishment had managed to manipulate doubtful material and turn it into feed stock fit for Kings.

During this period, teaching success was not only reflected in the school name change, which included Mrs Scimger's design for a posh green badge with antlers and motto, but also in the expansion from wooden huts into the palatial 'Beechfield'; a grand old residence 50 yards down the road on Bradburns Lane. When our grandson became our third generation at the school in 2017, we noted that such transformations of facilities and excellence seemed to have become established annual events.

Mrs Helen Perry started the primary school in her front room but a bespoke building in Bradburns Lane soon followed. She catered for the kids of the ICI executives housed in the nearby Grange and further out into leafy Sandiway. Everybody in Northwich worked for ICI in those days so there was a ready flow of pupils.
The modern white building sported an integral climbing frame which was the main attraction for a dyslectic 5 year old cricketer when we joined the 'Transition' with form mistress, Miss Nicholas. We missed Miss Hatton's kindergarten as we spent a first faltering year in a makeshift village school room before we were moved into the caring hands of Mrs Perry.

Mrs Helen Perry and her dedicated teachers had an awesome reputation. We chose our parents well.

We remember a major breakthrough when the exclusively female teaching staff was augmented with Mr Tom Webb, who not only spoke with a low voice but also played cricket and constructed magnetic buzzers and electric motors.

Three GenerationsIn the fourth year we moved out of the 'Twos', housed in a makeshift hut at the back, and into the 'big' school in 'Beechfield' where we enjoyed the considerable efforts of Mrs Alty who generously passed on her extensive knowledge of everything with a smile. Mrs Alty could even spell and do long division.
'Beechfield' sported kitchens for proper meals, play grounds, football & cricket pitches, hard courts and a large enough assembly room for the whole school but alas no stage for budding thespians. The never to be forgotten highlight of 1948 was Miss Taylor's production of Alice in Wonderland which had to be performed to doting parents in the village hall in the church grounds across the road.

The school had a gender bias with lots of girls and peer competition amongst the boys was an extraordinary motivator as it was 'Alice' who stole our affections. We also remember that the girls always held their own, it was 'The March Hare' who beat us into 2nd place during the 30 yard dash on sports day. And a little later we learned the joy of differences and the importance of courtesy as it was the girls who happily danced backwards and organised the fun at The Kitty Oaks School of Ballroom Dancing in Northwich.

Learning from your peers was also evident in the school incentive system which provided awards for effort and behaviour; very popular 'red stars' and a few 'black stars'. We soon learned that the joy of joining the 'red' queue at assembly was preferred to the solitary parade of opprobrium with a 'black' star.

Grange GardensWhen we left in 1950 none would have guessed that the school would grow into the renowned excellence of facilities and enthusiasm of the staff which greeted our grandson at the start of his secondary education in 2017 ... amazing ... we wonder what ever happened to Mr Webb?











Rowing at The GrangeRowing at The Grange School - Northwich Guardian 1987 - 

'Stroke of Genius - Sally Birchall, at the age of 16, and with several notable rowing victories already behind her, has taken up coaching.

Not that Sally is ready to quit completely just yet. What she has done is taken a short Instructors Course with the ARA, and is now helping to promote the sport at her school, The Grange School, Hartford.

Sally who lives at The Meister, Smithy Lane, Mouldsworth, rows for Athena at Senior B level, in both a four and an eight. She has already won gold and silver medals at the Nationals, in Nottingham, at school girl level, and hopes to do just as well this year in the Junior category. 

'I did it to help the school. We've quite an active rowing section now'.

'As for my own ambitions. Well I'd like to go as far as possible, but it depends on my studies and whether I get to University or get a job'.

There are about 25 to 30 pupils at The Grange who have taken up rowing in the past year, using boats borrowed from Northwich RC, on the River Weaver.

Sally has been rowing for 3 years.'

In 2020, in the middle of Covid, education became even more important for understanding and progress ... and two Whelan boys seized their opportunities at The Grange School ...


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