Schools & Education 1941 – 1960

January 1943

Three Bowburn schoolgirls, Ada Carr, Connie Mitchell and Margaret Stalley, received a letter from Mrs. Churchill, wife of the Prime Minister. They had raised £1/6s/6d for Mrs. Churchill’s Aid to Russia Fund.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv., 15 January 1943, p.8.)

February 1943

Bowburn WVS collected £8/3s/0d during February, including £1/4s/10.75d raised by four schoolgirls, for the Red Cross. The girls were Ena Forth, Mary Blackburn, Mary Walker and Elizabeth Milburn. This collection made a total of £38/13s/1.5d raised by the local WVS since March 1942

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv., 5 March 1943, p.3.)

11 March 1946

Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish Council had nine vacancies. Nine candidates returned unopposed:

Wm Kelly, Greystones, Bowburn; Wm Nixon, School House, Cassop; Wm Dickinson, 1, Dene View; Wm Henry Houghton, 53, Belle View; Hugh Morris, 26, Luke Ave; Henry Ayton, 22, Steavenson St; Harry Holmes, 19, Grange Park Crescent; Charles Witham, 1, Park Hill Estate; Richard Ferguson, 21, Steavenson St.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv., 16 March 1943.)

About 1947

Mr. G. F. Holmes, headmaster of Bowburn School, left and was replaced by Mr. D. J. Evans [known by pupils as “Taffy”], who had taught at the school since before 1930.


Bowburn County School football team won the Durham & District Schools League and were runners up in the Durham County Hospitals Cup.

The team was Derick Parnaby; Jack Beresford, Mattie Johnson; Tom Jones, Ken Reid, Tom Thomson; George Ramshaw, Bernard Wake, Ken Reid, Ray Bell, Les Dunbar. Their strip was red body and green sleeves.

(Source: Tom Thomson.)

June 1948

Bowburn school boys beat St. Leonard’s 3-0, in the final of the Durham League Shield at Sherburn. The scorers were Knox (2) and Thompson (1).

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv., 4 June 1948, p.6.)

November 1948

Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish Council learned of the Divisional Education Committee’s proposal to replace old latrines at Bowburn County School with a new flushing system.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv., 12 November 1948, p.4.)

1 February 1949

Bowburn Infant School was opened as a separate department, with 84 children on roll.

The departments had been combined since 1923. The staff of the new school were Mrs. Catherine McGougal Sawdon, Head Teacher, and qualified assistant teachers, Mrs. Martha Thompson [or Thomason?], Miss Jean Mary Hudson and Mrs. Edith Welsh.

(Source: School log book, via “Snippets”, a leaflet produced by Bowburn Infant School to mark its 75th anniversary in 1984.)

21 February 1949

Miss Margaret Thompson was appointed as nannie at Bowburn Infant School.

(Source: School log book, via “Snippets”, a leaflet produced by Bowburn Infant School to mark its 75th anniversary in 1984.)

23 February 1949

Mr. Coulson was appointed as caretaker at Bowburn School.

(Source: School log book, via “Snippets”, a leaflet produced by Bowburn Infant School to mark its 75th anniversary in 1984.)

18 January 1950

Bill Nixon elected chairman of Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish Council and Jack Ramshaw its vice-chairman.

Mr. Nixon, headmaster at Cassop School, filled the vacancy caused by death of Ald. Billy Kelly. He had been vice-chairman since 1936. Mrs. Mary Hannah Jordan, of 3, Burn Street, was co-opted to fill the vacancy on the parish council.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv., 27 January 50, p.4 [+ Elec. Reg.].)

17 July 1950

Start of Bowburn Colliery annual holiday week.

The Infant School log book recorded that this resulted in a maximum of 36 children being present on any one day that week, out of 114 .

(Source: School log book, via “Snippets”, a leaflet produced by Bowburn Infant School to mark its 75th anniversary in 1984.)

26 February 1951

The Infant School log book recorded: “Return of Air raid shelters sent today. Two shelters in playground, accommodation for 72 children. 113 children on roll.”

These were presumably shelters that had been built c.1940.

(Source: School log book, via “Snippets”, a leaflet produced by Bowburn Infant School to mark its 75th anniversary in 1984.)

April 1952

Bowburn schoolboys, under the direction of Mr. T. S. Gill, gave two plays to the monthly meeting of Bowburn W. I., presided over by Mrs. Oxley. The cast included Harry Blackburn, Bobby Bateson, Jackie Evans and Ronnie Mould.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, 11 April 1952, p10.)

11 April 1952

The Durham County Advertiser reported that Richard Ferguson, of 113, Park Avenue, Bowburn, had been admitted a Serving Brother of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. After working in the mines for 40 years, and once secretary of Bowburn Miners Lodge, Mr. Ferguson left that industry in 1951 and became a rent collector for Durham RDC.

He had served on Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish Council for a number of years and was currently vice-chairman of Bowburn County School board of managers and a life-long member of Bowburn Methodist Church. He had also served terms on Sherburn Hill Co-operative Management Board. He took first aid classes at Bowburn and Sherburn schools and his services were in great demand all over the county.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

23 May 1952

On 23rd May 1952, the Durham County Advertiser reported that Bowburn County School First-Aid Class had achieved a 100 per cent success rate. The following awards were gained.

Certificates: S. Appleby, A. Atkinson, T. Corner, G. Egglestone, T. Jones, J. Madgin, R. Maddison, A. Patterson, J. Surtees, S. Smith, H. Hathaway and J. Willis.

Vouchers: J. Allan, W. Chatt, J. Edwards, G. Forth, James H. Griffiths, J. Harker, T. Simpson, S. Simpson, William Swinburn, T. Smalley and H. Gash.

Medallion: S. Wilson

Labels: A. Bloomfield, W. Cowling, W. Jordan, W. E. Moore, G. Pearson, T. W. Pickles, N. Wright and W. Miller.

The examiner was Dr. Anderson (Ferryhill); the lecturer was Dr. P. F. Skehan (Kelloe), and the instructor Mr. R. Ferguson (Bowburn).

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

23 December 1953

Mrs. Sawdon, Head Teacher of Bowburn Infant School, retired. Miss Kathleen Addison commenced duty as Head Teacher on 3 March 1954.

(Source: School log book, via “Snippets”, a leaflet produced by Bowburn Infant School to mark its 75th anniversary in 1984.)

Post-war heads of the Infant and Nursery School have included Mrs. Sawden, Kathleen Addison, Vera Scott, Mrs. Grierson, Mrs. Charlton, Sandra Withnall (formerly Neasham) and Christine Ormerod.


Bowburn Mens Tennis Team won the Spennymoor Tennis League for the first time. It went on to win again in 1956, 1960, 1963 and 1965.

Among Bowburn’s stars were Peter Scott, who was County NCB champion for six years, and Bowburn’s best woman player, Pam Smith, who played at Wimbledon. Players, e.g. in 1956, were Peter Scott, Walter Harrison, Vernon Campbell, W. Scott, Arny Ward, H. Ward, Matt Lawson, Douglas Haigh and Doreen Smith, Ann Winter, Pam Smith (14), Rose Stephenson (13).

Vernon Campbell, who lived at 26, Bede Terrace, was a teacher at Bowburn School. On one occasion, he and Bill Scott reached the semifinals of the County Doubles Championships.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 20/5/66 + 1/6/1956, p.11 + 8/6/1956, p.10 + 29/6/1956, p.10; Bowburn Interchange no. 17.)

11 May 1956

Durham Rural District Council conveyed land to Durham County Council, to build Bowburn Modern School.

The land had been bought from the National Coal Board on 29 November 1951, presumably as part of the farmland to be developed as North Bowburn Council estate, and added to by another conveyance on 13 April 1956.

(Source: Land Registry title no. DU277904.)

28 July 1956

Training and Educational Centre, No. 4 Area, opened at Tursdale, by Mr. N. F. Nattrass, OBE, JP, Labour [Industrial Relations] Director, Durham Division, National Coal Board.

This was the first new combined training and education centre to be built by the Durham Division since nationalisation. The centre could accommodate 250 men. Facilities included classrooms, a laboratory, workshop and gymnasium. Juvenile training lasted 16 weeks, inc. 8 weeks lectures and 8 weeks underground in special training gallery, accessed via the Tursdale shaft. Also used for courses for men and officials already employed in the industry. Durham County local education authority had taken over responsibility for classwork and providing teaching staff and equipment for theoretical instruction and workshop practice.

(Sources: DMA Gala Programme 1965; M. Richardson “Around Durham”; “Tursdale Training Centre” (P. Atkinson 10); Stone plaque from the building, now in LHS room.)

5 February 1959

Bowburn Secondary Modern School officially opened (after teaching began there in Sept. 1958). The school was 3-form-entry, built to accommodate 450 pupils.

According to one source, the streams were named Wear (the top stream), Tyne and Tees. According to another, they were, in order, Tees (top), Trent, Tweed and Tyne (bottom), with Tweed being omitted if there were only three forms in the year group. The stream names did not transfer to Landsdowne Comprehensive, which just called its streams A, B, C etc. (See also 1960.)

Opened by Alderman W. Hirst. Prayer by Rev. R.H. Rose. Dedication by Rev. T. J. Lee-Warner.

Chairman of the Governors was J. E. Wright. Chairman of Durham RDC was H. Cooper. Chairman of the West Central l.e.a. Divisional Executive was W. O. Gibson.

The first Headmaster was Mr. Roxby.

(Sources: Formal Opening programme in Durham City Library;1st BMS Magazine 1960; Alan Blakey, Michael Dunn & John Gray; Miss Smith.)


The first edition of “BMS Magazine” was published by Bowburn Secondary Modern School.

Articles included a summary of a Report by Headmaster Mr. Roxby to the Prize Giving.

Joan Gorman, Elizabeth Shaw, Raymond King and Colin Wills had been awarded the Northern Counties Certificate in 1959. In 1960, this had been awarded to Joan Fort, Eileen Morton, Mabel Johns, Beryl Jackson, Joan Young, James Brown, Henry Griffiths, Peter Luke, Barry Lockett, Barry Charlesworth, David Jolly and John Earl.

Brancepeth [green], Durham [blue], Lambton [red] and Raby [yellow] houses had competed in various sports competitions – these house names being given in the Magazine. One former teacher has said she was 99% certain that these house names were correct. Some ex-pupils don’t remember them, however, only Green, Blue, Red and Yellow being used on sports days.

(Sources: 1st BMS Magazine 1960; John Gray, Mrs. Adamson, Michael & Alan Dunn, and Alan Blakey.)

31 August 1960

Tursdale Council Junior Mixed School closed.

It was subsequently bought and used for business purposes by Brian Bell, who moved into the former headteacher’s house. Later the building was converted into houses.

(Source: DRO – E/WC.)

29 October 1960

Foundation stone laid of Cassop Methodist Church. The site had previously been open space/field. The former chapel was on other (east) side of Front Street. The tin school once stood just to the north of this site, next to the School House.

(Sources: Inscription on foundation stone; Geo. Marsden 24 April 03.)