The Henry Fanshawe site on Green Lane was built in 1866; its walls hold many treasures, and many memories have been forged here. Take a look at our past - see old photos in the gallery and meet our Alumni...
During the Easter 2018 break, having been tasked with revamping our online Alumni area, our Website Technician went on a journey through the school archives to unearth the secrets of yesteryear. Armed with a notepad, camera, and sturdy door wedge, Miss Hooton headed towards the school's nostalgic roots, deep in a dusty corner of A-block.
The notepad and camera are self-explanatory, but why the door wedge? Well, if you've ever spent time in A-block over the school holidays when the lights aren't permanently on, and there isn't happy chatter and the sound of a hundred footsteps ambling between classrooms, and you've heard the stories about old Henry walking his rounds, and you've mistaken the bumps and gurglings of an old school building for whatever your imagination wants them to be, then a triangular chunk of wood becomes your best friend; Kicked under a heavy door that resists any angle wider than "slightly ajar", it provides the fastest route for escape, should the need arise.
But any initial fears were short-lived. It seems that the archive room is much more pleasant than first expected. Yes, there's a lot of dust (how could there not be), but site maintenance staff have done an excellent job of putting up new shelving, and the admin team have done sterling work keeping all the records ship-shape and Bristol fashion in neatly named files and storage boxes.
And so the relic hunt began...
The storage box naming conventions didn't disappoint; "Enrolments from the 1990s" here, "2000-10 Exam Results" there... And once the more recent and obvious chronological boxes were pulled aside, there was one labelled "Old Stuff". Bingo!
Old Stuff (early 1900s)
Inside this box were, amongst other things, a Spaven House athletics shield with engravings from 1924-1953 × , a Prestwich House shield dated 1931 × (the four shields at the top are engraved three times with Baggaley, and once with Spaven), and a dozen or so random photos from the early 1900s, including stage productions of 'The Merchant of Venice' from 1929 × , and 'The Rivals' from 1928 × , both of which show Capt. Norman S. Millican on the left, Headmaster from 1926-1953. So, aside from the traditional three Rs of reading, writing, and arithmetic, students at the school have clearly benefitted from a rich and varied education for at least the last hundred years. Good to know. It seems a far cry from the stuffy, regimented classroom life (of that time) that is frequently portrayed on TV, and a trend that has certainly continued to the present day.
Even Older Old Stuff (1800s)
But there were even older treasures to be found, and not in a cardboard box. Over the years, many artefacts have been moved into storage at Derbyshire County Council, but much of what remains at the school is locked in an old wooden cupboard, which is also in the archive room. It's a cupboard with a dull brass lock and a low, questioning creak that somehow seems to ask "what are you doing here?".
Rummaging carefully through the precariously stacked journals and registers - many of which are bound in crumbling leather jackets or held together by string - we descovered;
- A framed photo of Rev. John Faithfull Fanshawe × - Headmaster from 1862-1866.
- A photo of sombre-looking young boys dated 1886 × . Note the boy, second from the left in the middle row, who appears to be wearing his blazer backwards!
- A ledger showing students who passed science in May 1889 × - Reynolds and Swift are asterisked to show that they also passed 1st stage mathematics (left page). Easter holiday that year was from 17th-29th April (right page).
- Science results from July 1885 × . Also pictured are notes for a French reading and Latin exam.
- Charles Baggaley's well-worn and crumbling diary / journal × . "Chas", also known as "Boss Baggs", was the longest serving Headteacher of the school; 38 years, from 1888-1926. The page pictured shows details of a birth and a death;
"Baby born 5:30, Friday Evening, November 7th 1890"
"My Grandfather - Accident happened to funeral carriage going down from Owler Bar through slippery ground causing coach to slide. Coachman hurt."
We could have spent a week or more browsing through all the artefacts - there are just so many! True testament to our rich school history. If your interest has been piqued, head over to the gallery to see more.
More Modern Times (mid-1900s +)
Times were very different in the 1800s, but zap forward to the mid-1900s and things start to look more familiar... and colourful. This photo from the 70s, taken outside what is now the ICT Network office in A-block × , reminds us of some of the stylish fashions of the time. That hair... those collars... those flares!
Over To You
We invite you to do one better! If you have a photo from your heydays at Dronfield School, why not send it in! You could also tell us about your time at the school and share your memories in our Alumni area.
- Download the DHFS Alumni Profile - Sample Template (.pdf | 72kb)