Billingham Intermediate School 1933

This photograph shows what was later to be Billingham South Modern School, I don’t know when the name was changed but my aunt started there in 1942 and it was still the Intermediate School, I started there in 1957 when it was the South Modern and it looked very much the same then as it does in this picture.

The school on Belasis Avenue, opened around about 1930 so these young ladies will probably be part of the first intake at that time, the school was available to all ages, Infant, Junior and Senior were all taught there, I believe it is now a Primary school only.

My mother, Margaret Rose Leek, is at the left of the front row, her cousin Mildred Moore is also in the picture but I don’t know which young lady she is, these girls would have been born in the mid 1920s and lived through the depression years as well as the war years, most of them will have carried out was was known as ‘Man’s Work’ during the war, my mother included, she worked in the Furness shipyard heating rivets and throwing them up to somebody who caught them in a bucket who then threw them higher still until they reached the riveter, the riveter was always a man as it was an apprenticed trade in that era, not too many years after the end of the war riveted ships were replaced by welded ships.

When I was at the South Modern there were two wooden classrooms near to the old Billingham baths and a number of single storey prefabs near to the Police Station, there were also two single storey prefabs off site just behind the Methodist Central Hall, the front of the hall faced the Green but the back was in Chiltons Avenue, this is where the classrooms were sited.

Because of the post war baby boom the school was far too small for the large increase in pupils so the Campus was built on Marsh House Avenue, myself and a number of other pupils from North of the railway line were transferred to the Campus after one year at the South Modern, other pupils from the same area and even the same street remained at the South Modern.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

7 thoughts on “Billingham Intermediate School 1933

  1. Hi Bruce: Thanks for posting this. I Started school at the Billingham South Modern in 1948 and stayed there until 1954 after spending 4 years at the Church of England school on Chapel lane and then on Billingham Green. I remember it very well and took classes in the two prefabs next to the Baths as you record and ate lunch in the prefabs near to the police station. Martingale was the head master at that time, a stern disciplinarian. Other teachers I recall were Miss Fletcher art, Miss Dodd Math, Mr Chapman Science, and Mr Caghill history of a sort. I left in the summer of 1954 in class 4A teacher Mr Chapman. If anyone reading this thread was there around this time I would love to chat about it.


    • Hello Derek,

      I have a photograph of all of the teachers at the South Modern including Mr Martindale, the quality is not too good but I can send you a copy if you get in touch with me, it was taken in the early 1950s, I also have two photos of the staff at the Church School taken in the late 1940s, would you be kind enough to have a look at them and possibly name some of the teachers.

      I can be contacted at


    • Hi Derek you would probably have been in school around the time my sister Pat Parnell was in classes. I was 5 years behind her and left in 62. I remember well those teachers along with my main antagonist Stan Mathews who used to cane me every chance he could find, at least that is how I remember so it may have just been a frequent hiding from him on a regular basis to show the other 47 in the class how powerful he was…/ I seem to remember Chapman being the music teacher who had a habit of turning around suddenly whilst patrolling the aisles, and jumping on someone who he presumed was sticking two fingers up at him. Oh those were the days.


    • Hello Derek
      Yes, my mother was David’s eldest sister, David is on Facebook if you have access to it, he lives on the Headland in Old Hartlepool.


  2. The name would probably have changed when it became a Secondary Modern, i.e. after the 1944 Education Act, which introduced the Tripartite System.
    There were still riveters at the Furness shipyard when I worked there briefly in early 1964 but far more welders.
    The Campus school opened in 1958 but only part of it (Stephenson Hall?) so those of us who passed the 11+ still had to go to Hartlepool or Stockton even if we lived only a 5-minute walk away.


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