Monday, August 5, 2013

Manchester Central High School for Boys Leaves Legacy of Students

A letter from a Jay Parrino's The Mint Customer...

The note enclosed with a recent ebay purchase of a  photo titled ‘SCHOOL CLASSROOM Manchester Central School’  (drawer 3-3) contains a note asking for any known details.

The school in question is Manchester Central High School for Boys, located on Whitworth Street , Manchester, UK. , which I attended 1940-45. Robert Donat was indeed a student there in the 1930s. MCHS was the finest secondary school in Manchester, access being obtained by the passing of a strict academic entrance examination. The school had, if I recall, about 1500 boys drawn from every part of Manchester.
While Robert Donat was  a well-known ‘old boy’, the school produced many notables over the years. 

Some of these were:
  • Sir Arthur Whitton Brown, who, as co-pilot to Sir John Alcock, was one of  the first two men to fly the Atlantic in an aeroplane, several years before Lindberg.
  • Dr James Chadwick, director of research in Radio-Activity at Cambridge and discoverer of the particle  ‘neutron’, assistant to Ernest Rutherford, the ‘father of nuclear physics, ’ and Nobel Prize winner,
  • Another ‘old boy’ J L Gleave won first  prize over 450 architects  from 40 countries in a competition to design a symbolic memorial to Columbus to be erected on the island of Santa Domingo. 
The list of distinguished former students is long.

During the first World War, 49 old boys received gallantry medals, 9 others received foreign allies awards and another10 were ‘mentioned in despatches’, indicating meritorious service in a particular action or actions.
After WW2, the British system of  “11+”, whereby all children sat an examination to determine the level of secondary education he or she fitted into was abandoned. MCHS  was  closed in favour of a new system of education.

Charles M.

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