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Strutts Community Centre

STRUTTS - A Short History

After 18 months of bureaucratic wrangling with the educational authorities, Herbert Strutt was finally given the go-ahead to provide a school for the town in March 1907, for which designs were drawn up by Hunter and Woodhouse. The site he chose for the new school was opposite the town‘s workhouse, Babington House and it was created in a style which would compliment this older building.

By the spring of 1909 the work was complete, and the school, named after its creator, was officially opened on May 7th. The Duke of Devonshire carried out the opening ceremony.

The school cost some £20,000. It was decided some five years later that an extension was needed, costing Alderman Strutt a further £10,000. The original headmaster was Mr W W Tunnicliffe,  who was appointed in February 1909 and served in that post until his retirement in 1936.

Some of the photographs seen here from the first years of the Herbert Strutt School were part of a photographic album presented to the school by students J and B Snow in 1911, and now in the possession of Belper Historical Society. Amongst them is one  of the original staff. With headmaster Mr W W Tunnicliffe (centre) are Mrs B M Davenport, Miss E M Barker, Miss N Symons, Mr H G Wright, Mr J W Raistrick, Mr H B Snow and Mr S E House. Below is the school football team for the 1910/11 season.

Mr House prepares a slide projector for a geography lesson.

In the school hall sat the bust of George Herbert Strutt,  presented to the founder of the school in January 1910 in appreciation of his paying for the building of the school, and providing the land. About 1,500 people from the surrounding areas had donated money towards the bust, which Mr Strutt decided should remain at the school. The sculptor had been given a number of photographs to work from, including this one.

The weather station, being studied by boys from the school.

There was a very clear distinction between boys' and girls' subjects at the time these photographs were taken at Herbert Strutt School in 1911. While the boys had woodwork lessons in the south block (later to become the gymnasium) , the girls were taking domestic science in the north block.

The school football team of 1910/11.

A later class from the 1930s.

Herbert Strutt School‘s first prep form in February 1936.

Herbert Strutt School after the iron railings were removed from the boundary wall for the war effort in the 1940s. In August of that year, the school was told that about 90 schoolboys would shortly be evacuated to Belper from a coastal district. In the end, about 200 boys from Westcliff High School were found homes in the town, and shared the school with local children, Westcliff in the mornings and Belper students in the afternoon.

Herbert Strutt School became a primary school following a shake-up in education brought in by the Government in 1971. It remained a primary school until its closure in February 2007, when children moved to a new school, taking the Herbert Strutt name with them.