Library & Archives Blog – West Cliff School Year 5’s discover their Whitby!

On Tuesday June 21st we had a visit from Year 5 pupils from West Cliff School. The pupils arrived at 10 am and after completing an orienteering task, to familiarise themselves with the library, they were then organised into groups and rotated three activities. This included searching family members on the Digital Whitby Gazette, a tour in the archives with Charles looking at old newspapers that featured the school and discovering bugs, and learning with Rob the book cleaning procedure on the Down Draught Bench and why it is important we monitor bugs.

Prior to the visit I had done a small bit of research on West Cliff School and discovered the school had its official opening in June 1936 known as the Whitby West Cliff Council Senior school Sir William Worsley, Chairman of the North Riding Education Committee performed the opening ceremony and afterwards addressed a large audience in the school hall that included dignitaries from local councils and school committees. The school was a new development fulfilling the requirements of the Hadow Report – providing a school to meet the needs of education in the modern world incorporating a space where seniors can be together in a ‘purpose built’ learning environment benefiting from other skills including “woodwork, cookery, crafts, science and physical training” and “to get rid of the deadly boredom of the school bench which drives the older child to find reality somewhere else than in the school.”

Full article available on our Digital Whitby Gazette – 26th June 1936 Page 1

West Cliff became a Primary School in April 1963. Mount and Cliff Street Schools closed (two of the oldest schools in Whitby) meaning the boys and girls were joining together in their new school at West Cliff whilst the Senior School moved to Airy Hill – West County Modern School. Miss Margaret Smithson, who was the current Headmistress of Cliff Street Primary School led the new school with her deputy Miss Audrey Rayment.

Full article available on Digital Whitby Gazette – 11th April 1963 Page 7

Back to the visit…

The pupils have completed some amazing feedback poetry which is available to read in the folder in the library but here is a taste of what they wrote:

If you are interested in arranging a school visit contact Claire Marris –

Claire Marris Archive Development Officer

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