Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham

About the Early Postcards



NB Since first posting this item, a copy document "They're Closing the Old School Down" has come to light. This seems very authoritative on the date of construction and "Pupil Teachers". See pages 4 & 6 of They're Closing the Old School Down



The site has two postcards dating form the very early days of the school. They have been dated by their postmarks, which perversely put them in the wrong chronological order. The coloured '1907' card is franked Jan 25th 1907 and is probably contemporary with that date. The narrative on the reverse unfortunately is unconnected with the school


1907 Card 1911 Card


The '1911' image above is an edited scan of a "collectable" postcard currently owned by Jenny Winter (nee Bee). It is the earliest image of the Greenhill School buildings known to the site. The narrative on this card does concern the school, and supports a probable earlier date of printing.


The reverse side is divided for address and message, which was not legal before 1902. It also states that a half penny stamp is required. The postage for cards went up to one penny in 1918. The message on the reverse is (verbatim):-


This post card is rather soiled but you must excuse it because it is about five or six years old and when I found it I thought you would like to see a picture of my school whether it was dirty or not n' est-ce pas?
Love Bella.


The original indicates that it was posted in 1911. The original title of the card was "Waterloo Junior Council School Oldham" which has been struck out and replaced by the correspondent as shown.


In our view, the postcard is consistent with a fairly new building (why else would they commission a post card?) being erected around 1900*. It was originally opened as a Junior, or Elementary School, up to age 12. During the upheavals of setting up the local Oldham Education Committee around 1904, and onwards, the usage and name appear to have changed several times in quick succession. Including the "Municiple Secondary School" shown in manuscript.


Roger Worthington has one other reference to the school being used specifically as a Pupil Teacher School (our "Pupil Teacher's Centre"). This presumably indicates teacher training, and is not inconsistent with the rapid expansion of the education system going on at the time. We think it probable that the card was sent by a trainee teacher during her time at the school. It could equaly have been a teacher on the permanent staff, of course, but the general opinion is that it is by a member of staff rather than a pupil.


Kevin Dronsfield & Jenny Winter
July 2006 (Following original work by R Worthington)


* The school is red brick construction, probably using slow setting lime mortar. In a substantial building like this, the lower brickwork would have to be well set and matured before it could take the weight of the subsequent courses. It could therefore take some years to complete, regardless of how many bricklayers could be employed.