A CHOIR has performed a long-forgotten hymn for its school’s 80th anniversary celebrations.

Manningtree High School has marked its birthday with an afternoon tea, which saw special guests, including former staff and students, gather in the school hall.

In the build-up to the event, staff have researched the history of the school back to when the land was bought by Essex County Council in May 1931, for £850.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

The Manningtree Senior School was eventually opened to 335 children and 15 teachers on Monday, September 13, 1937, at a cost of £20,700.  But at least 50 fifty Mistley children did not turn up on the first day due to a dispute over transport provision. The Mistley School Strike continued until April 1938.

Led by headteacher Jesse Cranswick, the school had flags flying on the outside of the main hall, lined rose gardens at the front, and advanced facilities for a school of the time including electric lighting with secondary gas lighting.

Though the school was mixed, children had different areas for recreation including separate boys and girls playgrounds.  There were even separate male and female staff rooms.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • Ex pupils Francis Coulter looking at old pictures.

After starting with just 11 classrooms and the main hall, extensions were built in the late 1940s as well as temporary Horsa wings – one of which was refurbished in the 1990s and is still in use today as a drama studio and workshop area.

ICT technician Brett Coley, who has been researching the school’s history, said: “The school hymn was introduced in the late 1940s/early 50s along with the school motto ‘go with him twain’, school badge and original house system.

“The school hymn, Go With Him Twain, sung regularly seems to have fallen out of use in the early 70s, but having rediscovered the actual music recently, we are also pleased that our school choir were able to perform it at the event – the first time in many years.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • Ann Sargeant and Joy Rolfe look at old pictures from their time as students at the school.

Mr Coley added: “Many of the former students, teachers and staff at Wednesdays 80th anniversary afternoon tea, have assisted over the years with the school history research.

“Back in 2015, I managed to track down the daughter of our very first headteacher, Mr Cranwsick. “I’ve been to meet her and talk about her fathers’ recollections of his early days as head at a brand new school.

“Mr Cranswick was also awarded the military cross for bravery on the western front during WWI.”

The school is still appealing for photographs, memories and interesting items, for its small archive.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • From left - waiters for the day, current students Adam, Howis, Jack Enevor, Ben Cordery and Adam Bearder, all 15.

Headteacher Sally Morris, said: “It was delightful to welcome ex-students and some ex-staff back to Manningtree High School.

“Our guests were able to enjoy finding their younger selves in the photos and mentioned in the original school registers and to revisit their old classrooms.

“Their afternoon tea was prepared and served by students and the choir gave a wonderful performance of the old school hymn. This lovely event demonstrated that Manningtree students have and retain a great affection for their school.”