Henry Gotch Schools remembered at Kettering’s Manor House Museum

Published: Friday, 11th March 2016

Ex-students: Relive your childhood at the exhibition and reunions

The Manor House Museum is hosting an exhibition focusing on the history of the Henry Gotch Schools from 1939-2009.  

In 1939 the innovative Henry Gotch Council School opened as the only school in the country to have its own underpass. The Infant and Junior School buildings had large windows to allow as much natural light into the classrooms as possible. The Henry Gotch Secondary Modern School opened in September 1953. 

After an enthusiastic response from former students, teachers and supporters, the displays are brimming with memorabilia and memories from ‘Henry Gotchers’ of all ages. The fascinating objects on display include a metal money box made by the first girls at the Secondary School to do metal work. There are also running blocks, a cushion made for CSE needlework, a peg from the Senior School gym, CSE exam papers and information about the schools.

There will be an opportunity for anyone who attended, or was involved with, the schools to share their own stories on the memories blackboard. You’ll also be able to revive those school day memories by browsing through our Henry Gotch Schools photograph albums.

John Sellers, former Henry Gotch Pupil and author of two Henry Gotch School history books, will officially open the exhibition on Saturday 19th March at 2pm. The exhibition runs until the 11th June.

Reunion events
During the exhibition the Manor House Museum will be hosting a series of reunions, giving former pupils, teachers and any other Henry Gotch Schools staff the opportunity to catch-up and exchange memories. The reunion events take place on: 
  • Saturday 2nd April, 2-4pm, for years attended 1939-1950s
  • Saturday 30th April, 2-4pm, for years attended 1960s-1970s
  • Saturday 14th May, 2-4pm, for years attended 1980s-2009

The reunions are free and there is no need to book, just turn up on the day; light refreshments will be served. For more information please phone the Museum on 01536 534 219. 

Guy Holloway, Head of Corporate and Cultural Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: 
“At the Manor House Museum we’re always trying to display new and interesting exhibitions with a local perspective. The Henry Gotch schools have educated many local people over the years and this exhibition will provide a fantastic chance to take a walk through memory lane and recall an important part of your childhood.”

Cllr Lesley Thurland, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community and Culture, said:
“We all have memories of our school days, which can be great to look back on. Thousands of local people attended the Henry Gotch schools at some point and it would be great to see lots of ex-students reliving their childhoods, especially at the reunion events!”