Matthew Holland School – The Early Days



NEW SCHOOL FOR SELSTON. Newspaper Article .

It is now possible to give interesting details concerning the new school for Selston parish, which is in course of erection on a plot of land covering 6½ acres, and situated just off the main road leading from Alfreton to Nottingham, and only a few hundred yards distant from the Church Day School.

The school is planned for 48 senior pupils in seven classrooms and six practical rooms, and also includes a gymnasium, assembly hall, dinning room, staff rooms, and the usual conveniences. The school is of the single storey type, the boys’ Department being on the south-west and the Girls’ Department on the north-east.
The ordinary classrooms are placed in the south-east block, the practical rooms in the north-east and south-west blocks, the north-west or front block being composed entirely of entrance, staff rooms, cloakrooms, and conveniences, the whole assemblage of the above forming a square ideal for convenience and general economy. The assembly all, complete with stage and ante-room adjoining, also the gymnasium, changing rooms, and instructors’ rooms form a central feature of the plan, and are placed diagonally within the square, and pen out on to paved or turfed quadrangles.
Part of the 6½ acre site is given over to playgrounds, situated all round the building and tar-paved. North-east of the building is a large playing field.
In the changing room, however, the floor is of asphalt tiles. Heating is by low pressure accelerated hot water with radiators. Natural ventilation is provided to all rooms, with cross ventilation to classrooms. Electric lighting and power installation is included in the scheme.
The architect is Mr. E. W. Roberts, A.R.I.B.A. (county architect), by whose permission this report is made possible.

Selston New Secondary School Official Opening 1946

High tribute to the work in the educational life of the county by one of Selston’s best – known figures – Ald. M. Holland J.P. who is Chairman of the Notts. Education Committee – was paid by all the speakers at the official opening on Friday afternoon of Selston’s new Secondary School by Mr. James Griffiths Minister of National Insurance.
Known as the Matthew Holland School it was originally planned as a senior school for the Selston district in accordance with the Hadow Scheme for reorganisation. It was on the point of completion at the outbreak of war, and was taken over for use as a hospital. The building was released from hospital use at the end of September last year and after the readaptation of the premises for school purposes, was brought into use as a secondary modern school under The 1944 Education Act.

Planned for 480 Pupils
Serving the Selston and Brinsley, the areas the school is deigned to provide for a sound general education for children of secondary school age, and other special facilities for practical instruction, physical education, art, games, etc. Originally built on 6½ acres of land, the school site, when negotiations, which are now preceeding, are concluded, will occupy 17½ acres. The building itself occupies 1¼ acres, and is designed to accommodate 480 pupils. The remainder of the area consists of playing fields. Planned on one floor of the quadrangular principle the school has an assembly hall (with a full-size stage and designed to seat an audience of 450) and a gymnasium placed diagonally across the two quadrangles.
There are seven classrooms and the hall at present being used as a dinning-room with direct access from the temporary kitchen, which will eventually form a second domestic science room when the proposed new kitchen and dining room have been completed. Practice rooms will include accommodation for science, woodwork, needlework, domestic science, and handicrafts and the work of equipping and furnishing these is proceeding as rapidly as the continuing difficulties of labour and supply will permit.
The furnishing is principally of oak and teak. The requisite facilities for wireless are available in the classrooms and practical rooms, and it is proposed to install modern theatre lighting in the assembly hall. The total cost of the building was £33,600, excluding the cost of the site and the internal equipment.

Opening Ceremony
Ald. W. Baylise (Chairman of the County Council) presided at the opening ceremony and also present in addition to Mr. Griffiths were Mr. H. B. Taylor, M.P. for Mansfield Division and Private Parliamentary Secretary to Mr. Griffiths

Mr. F. Seymour Cocks M.P. for the Broxtowe Division, Ald. M. Holland Messrs J. H. Hankin (Vice-Chairman of school managers) J. Edward Mason (Director of Education for the County) K. Tweedale Meaby (Clark to the County Council), E. W. Roberts (County Architect, who was responsible for the design of the school and Mr. K. Laycock (Headmaster).
If there was one cause that had stood out in the life of Matthew Holland, remarked Ald. Baylis, it was the education and in the establishment of that school they were placing on record the degree of appreciation the members of the County Education Committee, and the whole County Council felt for the work of Mr. Holland.

Passion for Education
Declaring the school open Mr. Griffiths referred to Mr. Holland as a fine colleague and congratulated the Education Committee on calling the school after him. Of Mr. Holland Mr. Griffiths remarked: “He belongs to a generation that I know very well,  a generation that developed something I hope we shall always keep passion for education because they were denied the chance of it.
Speaking of the time when the scholars would have completed their education at the school, Mr. Griffiths said there was nothing more important than the decision as to what a boy or girl was going to do in life. The essential foundation for a happy life was satisfactory work. He believed that no one could be happy in life unless they were happy in their job. He believed that every child that came into the world was a combination of personality that had never been here before; that each child had some distinctive gift to give; and that society’s job was to give every boy and girl the chance to develop that instinctive gift of work in service to the community.

At the Cross Roads
We were at the cross roads living in a changing world a world disturbed by war in which people were seeking out new fields, new opportunities and a new life. The speaker thought it was going to be grand to see these great changes. We were not only going to see enormous changes but take part in them. He believed we were entering into a stage in which the economic life, both of nations and of the world, was going to be planned. He did not think it could be avoided, but could they do that and at the same time retain all their essential domestic freedoms?
Democracy, in its essential spirit, was a society in which everything took second place to man. If therefore, in the new age they were to retain essential democratic freedoms, they had to find a place in which man was in the centre. Mr. Griffiths thought that as a country we could do this, because we had developed in the course of our history this great right of democracy;”I believe that in the next five years you are going to have the privilege of living in a country which has got the greatest chance of all of doing what this world needs so much, and that is to plan its life so that everybody gets a fair chance and to do that while at the same time retaining all freedom of the human life and soul without which life loses its savour.”
That school would have its part to play and its influence would be felt from boys and girls who came out of it generation after generation concluded the speaker.
In token of the surrender of the school to the managing body which consists of Messrs J. H. Hankin, W. Green, F. Pendleton, H. Kitson, M. R. Higton, F. G. C. Marsall and F. Cooke J.P. and Mrs. H. Flintoff.  Mr. Holland then presented the keys to Mr. Hankin and said the school not the building itself had been in the making for more than 40 years. Men whose names would never be forgotten, he hoped, took a great part in it when he was a younger-man like Rawson, Green and Gill and who made their contribution in difficult days, in face of strong and sometimes fierce opposition.
In reminiscent and humorous mood, Mr. Holland recalled that 20 years ago when he first stood for the County Council,  his election address had said that he was going to advocate a free secondary education for all.
“When we started to build this school”, he commented “that wasn’t envisaged. We were going to build a good modern senior school for Selston. We built it, but between it being built and occupied today there have been some years pass, and those years have brought about change. And now today this school is opened as a modern secondary school”.
Not all boys and girls in Selston would attend the new school. Some 20 per cent who have had special lines of development would go to either a grammar or a technical school, but the bulk would come to the new school.
The secondary school was a stage in the system of education, it was not the end. There had to be further education.
Mr. Hankin briefly replied.

“True Sense of Values”
Mr. Laycock the headmaster, said on behalf of the whole staff of the school that they were intending to do all in their power to give the children who came to the school such a full education that they would have in due course a true sense of values.
Ralph Clews one of the scholars presented a cigarette-box made of ash from an old desk with a veneer of ash from the old Waterloo Bridge in London and a base of walnut from scrap furniture to Mr. Griffiths and Marjorie Bramley presented a book-rack made by Mr. Osborne the school handicrafts teacher from one of the desks at the burned-out Church of England school to Mr. Holland.
A vote of thanks to Mr. Griffiths was proposed by Mr. Mason, seconded by Mr. Seymour Cocks and supported by Mr. Taylor.
The ceremony commenced with the singing of “Song of Liberty” by the School Choir and closed with the Choir singing “Jerusalem.”



Thanks go to Terry Tomlinson & John Hales for sourcing, scanning and improving these images. Rumour has it, that they will be shortly publishing a short book about the history of The Matthew Holland School ( now re-named Selston High School). Thank you also to Selston High School for kindly loaning photos for this project.