A Stretton school is marking two landmark occasions. William Shrewsbury School is celebrating 50 years of its Church Road site and 175 years since the first school in Bridge Street opened.
The old Bridge Street site was finally demolished in 1997 having stood empty for several years following an amalgamation between the two school sites.
While the anniversary marks the official formation of education in the village in 1842, it’s believed some form of schooling in Stretton dates back to around 1818.
Historians have found records showing the village had three day schools by 1833 but the total number of pupils was less than 30.
The greatest changes therefore came about in 1842 with the formation of the National School and the donation of land by the Marquess of Anglesey for "the conveyance and endowment of schools".
Schooling in the village soon became a victim of its own success and the Stretton National School of 1842 was too small to cope with growing demand.
By 1874 a new school had been built but again this was not built to cope with demand and as a result it had to be extended – firstly in 1876 and then in 1907.
Perhaps the greatest enhancement to education in Stretton came about in October 1879 with the appointment of the parish council clerk to the role of head teacher.
This new head was William Shrewsbury – a man with education at his heart. Mr Shrewsbury was born in Heanor and began his teaching career in the Derbyshire town.
He then moved to Saltley College in Birmingham before moving two years later to Burton. In October 1879 he was given the top job at the Stretton National School and remained in position until December 1919.
The Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal of December 1919 reported his statutory retirement at the age of 65.
The report read: "The breaking up of the school for the Christmas vacation terminated the scholastic career of Mr William Shrewsbury as headmaster.
"Sixteen thousand children have passed through the school during his tenure of the office and Mr Shrewsbury has taken an active part in social and religious work. The old scholars of the school have presented him with a purse of £50 to testify to their esteem."
Despite officially retiring in 1919, Mr Shrewsbury remained an active part of the school until 1937 – by which time he was in his 80s.
With the retired head teacher being held in such strong affection by the school and villagers as a whole, Stretton National School was renamed in Mr Shrewsbury’s honour in 1958.
The building of the current Church Road school began a few years later in the mid-1960s with the site opening to pupils in 1967.
In September 2017 – 50 years since the site officially opened – the school celebrated. For many years, the new Church Road school ran conjunctively with the old Bridge Street school with the Bridge Street site predominantly used for infant classes.
It would be many years before classes finally ceased at the original Bridge Street premises. In July 1989, an official open day was held to mark the transfer of the infants to the Church Road school.
At the event, the then head teacher Tony Towne said he received excellent feedback from the community which had donated articles of interest including Second World War gas masks.
The open day commemorated the opening of the new infant wing with the them being the changes in Stretton since 1874 when the main Bridge Street school was built.
Different periods in time were covered by different class at the school together with a display of present schoolwork. The open day was officially opened by Burton mayor and mayoress, George and Carol Callister.
To mark the anniversaries this month, the Church Road school will be holding an open day on Saturday, October 14 between 10am and 4pm.