1905 – 1957

The decision to establish a High School for Girls at Ely was made on 24th July, 1904, at a meeting of the Ely Sub-Committee of the County Education Committee.

The Sub-Committee met in a house now occupied by the Bishop and at the meeting it was agreed not only to establish the school but also to purchase premises which until 19th July, 1957, served to accommodate the pupils.

The buildings purchased for school use were formerly the Old Fen Offices, the Headquarters of the Bedford Level Corporation.

The school was formally opened on 18th May, 1905, with forty-two children and since that date has expanded to its present size with nearly 400 pupils on roll.

Grammar School accommodation for Ely and the surrounding area is provided under special arrangements made by the Isle of Ely and Cambridgeshire Local Education Authorities; for boys at the Cambridgeshire Grammar School at Soham and for girls at the Isle of Ely High School at Ely.

Ely High School therefore serves not only the southern parts of the Isle of Ely but also the northern parts of the administrative County of Cambridgeshire.

The new buildings have been designed as a two form entry Secondary Grammar School for 360 girls, sixty of them being sixth form pupils.

The accommodation provided, which is based on the regulations of the Ministry of Education, includes nine classrooms, seven practical rooms comprising needlework, housecraft, craft and art rooms and biology, physics and chemistry laboratories, library, assembly hall with stage, gymnasium, dining area, kitchen, medical inspection room and staff accommodation.

The general teaching and practical rooms are planned compactly in a two-storey block. The spacious main entrance hall gives direct access to the assembly hall, but has a dual purpose, serving also as additional dining accommodation.

A sliding folding screen is provided between it and the dining hall. The assembly hall and the gymnasium with its ancillary accommodation are situated in a single storey block at the back of the school away from the classrooms and practical rooms to obviate any interference by noise to these latter rooms, and are so planned that the changing rooms can also be used in conjunction with the stage and assembly hall. There is also direct access to the changing rooms from the playing fields.

Housecraft Room

Dining Room

The school is generally of steel-framed construction with the external framework encased in concrete. Some load-bearing brick walls are provided. The first floor decking of the two storey block is mainly precast, prestressed concrete beams. The roof of the school is of wood. wool slabs, all supported on the steel framework. Roofs are covered with bituminous roofing felt finished with Derbyshire white spar chippings. Walls internally on the ground floor are of brickwork and on the first floor of lightweight hollow clinker concrete blocks all plastered and painted. Floors in the teaching and practical rooms and staff rooms and circulation areas on first floor are thermoplastic tiles, the main entrance hall, dining hall and staircases terrazzo paving, and elsewhere coloured concrete tiling. The assembly hall, stage and gymnasium floors are maple hardwood. Ceilings are generally insulating fibre board, the remainder are plastered.

Large metal windows are provided supplemented by roof lights where necessary to achieve even lighting.

Heating is by low pressure hot water in radiators, heater cabinets and pipes, supplied from oil-fired boilers fitted with fully automatic
thermostatic controls. Hot water is provided to all wash-hand basins and showers from an independent boiler.

Power and Artificial Lighting
In the classrooms and library the electric light fittings are fluorescent tubes. Elsewhere tungsten lamps are used with glass shades which have been carefully selected to give the best diffusion and to harmonize with the character of the building.

A fully equipped stage lighting system is provided complete with colour mixing and dimmer control. The main lighting of the assembly hall is also controlled by dimmers. Secondary lighting is provided in the assembly hall, stage and entrance hall in case of the failure of the public supply.

Wireless is transmitted to loudspeakers in all classrooms, assembly hall and gymnasium from a central radio and sound equipment panel in the secretary's office. This panel also has attachments for a microphone and microphone points are provided on the stage.

Electric clocks operated through a master clock are provided at suitable points in the school. The physics laboratory is fitted with an electric low-voltage apparatus having socket outlets to benches for experimental purposes both in A.C. and D.C. currents.

The housecraft room is fully equipped with four electric and four gas cookers, electric wash boiler, washing machine and a refrigerator.

The kitchen where the school meals are prepared is mainly operated with gas cooking equipment and gas points are provided in all laboratories.

The decorating scheme throughout has been carefully chosen to give a bright and enlivening atmosphere.

Playing Fields
Extensive playing fields adjoin the school.

The Gymnasium