Mount Grace High School

Mount Grace High School started out as Hinckley Grammar School, built in 1894 on Leicester Road.

Mount Grace Grammar School
The original grammar school of 1894

1893 Architects were commissioned to draw the plans of the first purpose-built Grammar School for Hinckley. The Architects were R.J & J.Goodacre of Leicester who would go on to do restoration work at St.Mary's Church and to do alterations on St.Mary's School.

1894 When the original school opened, it consisted of the headmaster's house and school all in one building which was built by Moss and Son of Loughborough at a cost of about four thousand pounds. The new buildings brought better teaching facilities, more room, an adjoining playing field as well as proper sanitary arrangements.

1901 The school admitted girls for the first time and by 1903 there were 52 pupils attending which would further expand in 1913 to 91 pupils.

1906 Extensions were built at a cost of £,1700, the Architects were Barrowcliff & Allcock of Loughborough.

During the 1920s one classroom was added to the front of the old building.

July 1928 Major additions and extensions were opened to designs by Captain Ernest George Fowler of Leicester who was the County Education Committee architect, previously had done The Technical College. The new wing included three classrooms, a large assembly hall with new cloakrooms and a staff room. The old woodwork room was converted into a physics laboratory, and 'the hut' into a domestic science room and woodwork room. Out-offices were also erected.

In the Assembly Hall a new features which has been introduced into schools has been included, namely, the provision of disappearing sashes opposite to the wall windows whereby the school can be converted into a semi-open-air type of school; while for special occasions the corridor becomes a part of the hall. The school is heated by a low pressure hot water installation designed to heat thoroughly not only the classrooms but the cloakrooms, in order to assist in the drying of clothes in wet weather. The floors of the classrooms are of wood block on concrete, while that in the Hall is of boards on concrete. The floors of the corridors and entrances have been finished off in marble terrazzo paving The building has been faced with sand-stock bricks, and the roof has been covered with "Paragon" tiles"'. The general contractor was Mr A. Russell of Hinckley and the overall cost, £6,838.

1930 Some carved stones were found in a heap of rubbish at the corner of the field by a Grammar School boy named Alien Mawby. Alien took them to Mr G.E.S. Coxhead (father of Elizabeth Coxhead), who was the Headmaster at the time the report the find. The stones were later recognised by experts as a Roman Bust.

Mount Grace High School

Mount Grace Grammar School
Grammar School from Butt Lane c.1915

1963 The buildings became the home of Mount Grace High School when the Grammar School moved to a new site in nearby Butt Lane, but on a site adjacent to Forest View, already owned by the Foundation. Formerly a Girls School, boys were admitted for the first time. before this Mount Grace was situated in Holliers Walk (now Albert Road School).

Many add-ons to the building were added in the late 70's and 80's. This included kitchens added to the side of the school Hall. (before then the dining room and kitchen was above the woodwork and metalwork shops) A new Art block was also added which then freed space back at Albert Road school which Mount Grace had continued to use as the Art Annexe which also taught needlework and cookery.

Now the whole school operated on one site which meant no more time with pupils walking between the Leicester Road Site and Holliers Walk.

The school Office was in those days situated in the old house section with a square bay window, with The head mistress office right next door. There was a small kitchen next to the staff room and then the deputy headmistress office that had a big bow bay window. However this was in later years replaced making a new school reception and entrance. Fire doors were also added to close off the top main corridor with the labs. Upstairs the corridor was closed off to make extra storage space for the classrooms. There is no official direct route on this floor but access through the classrooms exists. The old dining room above the woodwork and metalwork shops served as a drama area and is now split into two with a hard wood partition and proper door replacing the flimsy folding partition that was errected in the 1970's.

The Maths Block or New Block still stands and like other areas of the school has been modified for easy access for wheel chairs etc.

Mount Grace Grammar School
Mount Grace Grammar School, late 1920s/early 1930s

The Quad which was surrounded on three sides by arches and been built into and only a couple of arches remain 'open' the rest being closed up to make enclosed cover for the design area and what they call domestic science. The old girl's loo's made way for access to this new area. Many members of this group would remember the heated coat rails in the boys and girls cloakrooms. The boys loo's still remain but the cloakrooms being converted to a classroom long ago. The gym now looks totally different from what many former pupils would remember with its climbing ropes, beams and wall bars. These have all been removed and the ceiling lowered. Only basket ball nets hang on the wall. Maybe the horse, the box trampets and other equipment were in a storeroom. The 'top quad' which had the science labs on one side the hall on the east side and gym on the west was built on to accommodate the new library on the ground floor. The original library above the gym becoming the new music room. The quad now has outdoor table tennis tables. Unlike when pupils of the 70's used to balance on the coke delivery pipe which snaked its way to the boiler house!

Many pupils from the 60's and 70's will also remember the school garden which had several bee hives. A range of vegetables was grown here and efforts to bring this area back into use has been made. Also the tennis courts that still stand have been renovated for use. Round in Butt Lane the lawned area was totally out of bounds to pupils back in the day when a small putting course was installed. Also 'speech' day took place here with school prizes being awarded.

A final decision what will happen to the site is yet to be made but it does look likely that a new school may take over the site rather than it be lost to development as of October 2014).

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