In 1903 Miss Olive Hands opened the 'Arnold High School' at 10 Elsee Road, Rugby. Later a preparatory department for younger girls was opened and this had 50 pupils by 1910. By 1909 the school had been expanded by linking it to 12 Elsee Road and there were a total of 114 pupils. By 1914 the preparatory department had moved to Eastfield House (now the Masonic Hall ). In 1916 there were 91 pupils in each half of the school.
The 1918 Education Act gave the county council responsibility for secondary education. In 1919 the W.C.C. was in the process of buying the Clifton Road site when Miss Hands decided she had to close her school. This was the only girls school in Rugby with moderate fees so the council decided it had to take over.
In 1919 Miss M.M. Skues was appointed as the first council headmistress. There were 195 girls on the roll and the Elsee Road houses could hold 130. In 1921 the Clifton Road site came into use as the school playing field, replacing a rented field in Bilton Road. In 1926 Miss Skues retired and Miss Glenday took over 140 pupils in the upper school and 40 in the lower.
The foundation stone was laid on 2nd Oct 1924 and the upper school moved in for the Autumn term 1927, when 'Arnold' was dropped from the name. At this point only the main assembly hall and the East quadrangle had been built and was not really large enough for the 168 girls using it.
Building of the West quadrangle did not start until 1931 and was finished for September 1932. There was now room for the Preparatory department to move to the new site from Eastfield House. When Miss Glenday left in 1933 there were 300 pupils and 19 teachers at Clifton Road. The new headmistress was Miss Briselden.
In 1944 the Education Act prompted the closing of the Preparatory Department. There was no 5 year old entry that year and in 1949 the last year of girls reached 11. The spare space let the upper school increase its intake to 3 forms per year from 1944.
In 1955 Miss D.M. Lindsley became headmistress and a month later it was announced that the school was going to move sites again. The Technical College was being split to form an Engineering College and a College of Further Education. The latter college was to take over the school buildings.
The High School moved to its present buildings in Longrood Road in Sept 1960. There were 500 pupils on the roll.
The Rugby College of Engineering became part of the Lanchester Polytechnic in 1970, joining with two Coventry colleges. In the early 1980's the polytechnic concentrated all its activities on the Coventry Campus. The Eat Warwickshire College of Further Education then took over the whole Clifton Road / Lower Hillmorton Road site. The old High School buildings becoming the Art Block.
In the early 1990's the College reorganised its buildings and built some new accommodation. This resulted in the High School buildings and site becoming redundant in 1994. The site was to be sold off and there was some interest in re-using the buildings as an old peoples home. In the end these ideas fell through and the school was demolished and redeveloped for houses.
The site is now occupied by Curie Close and Bronte Close
Rugby High School Golden Jubilee 1919-1969: The Story of a School
G.F. Randall (Ed.)
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