Scope and Content

Comprising: governors' minutes 1905-1937; correspondence 1906-1938; admission registers 1904-1942; examination results 1908-1951; headmasters' records 1955-1980; financial records 1906-1944; statistical returns 1905-1930

Administrative / Biographical History

Mexborough and District Secondary School opened in temporary rented accommodation in September 1904. From this date the school was under the administration of the West Riding County Council, until local government reorganisation in March 1974 brought it under the control of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council's Education Department [see MB/EDUC/3]. Initially, because it had no permanent accommodation, the school was approved only as a pupil-teacher centre, and commenced with 80 pupils [see SD8/1, 5]. In October 1904 Thomas Wilson Ireland was appointed as headmaster, and Miss Jane E. Crowther as senior mistress. Until 1906, they were in charge of all teaching. The school's College Road premises were finished in January 1910 and it was finally approved by the Board of Education as a secondary school in January 1911. It was the first mixed secondary school in the West Riding, and its success led to the opening of other co-educational schools. For descriptions of the early history of the school by teachers and ex-pupils, see the school magazines SR34/8/1/1, /11 and /14.

The College Road building had been designed to cater for 350-400 pupils, but by the early 1920s, pupil numbers had increased to 600. Overcrowding remained a perennial problem, even after the west wing extensions were finally completed in 1931. Further building took place in 1938. Plans of the school and its extensions can be found amongst the records of Mexborough Urban District Council, at UDMEX/P258 (1907) and UDMEX/P742 (1927), and descriptions of the extensions are in SR34/8/1/2 and /3. The school also lacked its own playing fields until the acquisition of 15 acres of land to the north of the school in 1925.

In 1931 following the recommendations of the 1926 Hadow report on education, the school became Mexborough Grammar School, and from then, entry was limited to those who had passed the 11-plus examination, or a later transfer examination. Thomas Ireland retired in 1931, and was replaced by Hugh Leslie Watkinson, who held the position until 1955. Photographs of Mr Ireland and Mr Watkinson are to be found at SR34/21/1 and /2 respectively. The Senior Mistress, Miss Crowther, stayed on at the school until retirement in 1943. She appears in the school photograph taken in 1925 [see SR34/21/3]. During the second world war, air raid shelters were constructed in the school grounds and students and staff became involved in war-related activities [see SR34/8/1/10].

In 1955 George Shield was appointed as headmaster. During his 24 years at the school, two major changes in secondary education occurred. In 1964, the first sixth form college in England began at the school's new premises at Maple Road. This building, officially opened in October 1965, accommodated all except the youngest pupils, who initially remained at College Road. SR34/9/27-/28 relates to the school's opening ceremony. Details of the history and development of the sixth form college are found in SR34/8/3/1-2, SR34/14/2 and /5.

In September 1975, with the advent of comprehensive education, Mexborough Grammar School amalgamated with Mexborough County Secondary [Modern] School to form Mexborough School. Records of Mexborough County Secondary School are to be found at SR146. In 1979, on the retirement of George Shield, Mr K. Pickering was appointed headmaster of Mexborough School.

For other records relating to Mexborough School, see Mexborough Education District Subcommittee [SD/8], Mexborough Divisional Executive of the West Riding County Council [SE/3] and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, Directorate of Education: Governors Section [MB/EDUC/3].

Mexborough Grammar School's best known pupil was the poet laureate, Edward James (Ted) Hughes, who attended the school between 1941 and 1948. References relating to his period at the school and his later success are to be found in the admission register [SR34/3/14], school magazines [SR34/8/1/11 and /17], speech day programmes [SR34/9/1: 1948, 1949 and 1955] and the senate minute book [SR34/12/5/1]. His pupil record file is still held at Mexborough School.


The collection consists of twenty-two series as follows:

SR34/1: School Governors

SR34/2: School Secretary

SR34/3: Admissions

SR34/4: Examinations and Curriculum

SR34/5: Inspections and Returns

SR34/6: Headteacher

SR34/7: Visitors

SR34/8: Literature and Publicity

SR34/9: School Occasions and Sporting Activities

SR34/10: Furniture and Equipment

SR34/11: Financial

SR34/12: Pupils

SR34/13: Staff

SR34/14: Mexborough Grammar and Sixth Form College, Maple Road

SR34/15: Punishment Books

SR34/16: School Charities, Clubs and Societies

SR34/17: Student Excursions and Exchange Schemes

SR34/18: Local Education Authorities

SR34/19: Parent Teachers Association

SR34/20: Education Research Projects

SR34/21: Photographs

SR34/22: Other Records

Access Information



Access will be granted to any member of Doncaster Libraries

Related Material

A History of Mexborough School, 1900-1944 [ a copy is at DZMZ/93]

Mexborough Grammar School, part 1, Yesterday Today 27, December 1998

Mexborough Grammar School, part 2, Yesterday Today 28, April 1999