Letters to the Editor

Our Vice Chairman and Archivist, Alan Green was sufficiently incensed at a misreported recent Chichester Observer article, to send a correction. This duly appeared as a “Correction”

School buildings gone – but not forgotten

Your report “Former school buildings gone” (Chichester Observer 7 April) contains undoubtedly reliable information about the District Council’s moribund Southern Gateway development, but in regards to the demolished buildings themselves is a little wide of the mark.  They were not, and never had been, a ‘block of Chichester High School’.

The buildings were actually those of the former Chichester High School for Boys (CHSB). It opened in 1928 in Kingsham Road as one of the city’s two county grammar schools, the other being Chichester High School for Girls in Stockbridge Road which dated from 1909. The school buildings were extended in the 1930s, 40s and 60s to accommodate the expanding roll which peaked at 702. In 1971 it amalgamated with the Lancastrian Boys’ School to become a 1400-pupil comprehensive, with the Chichester High School for Boys name and famous emerald green blazer perpetuated. Both the school sites were used but as the Lancastrian buildings were some distance away across playing fields, a concrete pathway had to be constructed to link the two, later to be replaced by the present roadway. Naturally, operating on a split site was far from ideal and over the years new buildings were added to the Lancastrian site superseding most of the outlying former grammar school buildings which were progressively removed, leaving just the original core buildings in use.

These buildings were finally abandoned in 2014 and CHSB then operated entirely from the Lancastrian site. The buildings in Kingsham Road were left to await their fate, and for six years presented an increasingly forlorn sight.

Chichester High School for Boys ceased to be in July 2016 after 88 years of service to the area, and it was amalgamated with the former Girl’s High School to become the present Chichester High School which opened in September of that year.

The Old Cicestrians is the alumni organisation of Chichester High School for Boys which aims to keep memories of CHSB alive and keep old boys and staff in touch. They have a good website (www. oldcicrestrians.co.uk ) which carries news articles, old photographs, details of activities and even a virtual tour of the now-vanished buildings. There is also a comprehensive archive of the school which can be viewed at West Sussex Record Office. Membership of the Old Cicestrians is open to all old boys and former members of staff and new members are assured of a warm welcome.

The old CHSB buildings may now be gone – but they will not be forgotten by the some 14,000 boys who passed through its doors over the course of those 88 years.

Alan Green

10 Stockbridge Road, Chichester

Archivist to the Old Cicestrians