The Stoke Damerel Secondary School for Girls was founded in August 1926, when the Plymouth Local Education Authority transferred the girls from Regent Street Central School to join the girls at Keppel Place Central School, Stoke.  The boys combined to create Sutton Secondary School for Boys in the Regent Street building.

When the School opened in the September there were 349 pupils on the register but within the first twelve months this fell to 329, largely because of the distance of the School from Plymouth.  The Headmistress was Miss E M Bence, BA (London), and she was supported by 19 full-time staff and two visiting teachers.

There was an official inspection by the Board of Education between February 7th and 10th 1928.  Their report recorded that there were three classes in the first form; two in the second; three each in the third and fourth; two in the fifth; and there were nine sixth form pupils of an average age of 16 years 5 months.

It was elevated to the status of a High School in 1935.


  • Christine Curley nee Horsham, February 19, 2022 @ 23:05

    I attended SDHS 1947-1953 Dr Simpson was head then I remember mrs Miller as deputy head miss Smith- Latin miss Fernside- French mr Arnnold-music many other teachers I remember that have been mentioned but no fellow classmates

  • Kathleen Gall, January 27, 2022 @ 22:12

    I was known as Kathleen Gilchrist when I attended the school from August 57 to December 58 when we moved to Scotland. I was in 1 and 2A Fry house and still have very clear memories of the school. Unusually we had elocution lessons, italic handwriting lessons and in 2A we started to learn Latin by acting out the words Ambulo then sedeo. ( I walk I sit) . It was as quite a shock when I started at Stranraer High School to find that in first year in their first term classes were taught all the verb declensions.
    It was also a mixed sex school so very different from SDHS whose ethos seemed more like the kind of boarding school for girls written about in novels of the period. I have enjoyed reading many of these entries as it brought back so many memories.

  • Margaret Morrison, February 19, 2021 @ 14:26

    Margaret Morrison (nee Mountford) March 2021 “Lockdown” has its benefits. More time at home than usual knowing this is the moment to get down to sorting through piles of papers and memorabilia put aside over the years with the intention of doing something about them one day. Hence my trip down Memory Lane, particularly my Stoke Damerel High School Speech Day programmes including my last in 1960 signed up with warm and sound messages for the future by Miss Squire (Isaiah 40.v.31) and various good wishes and bits of artwork from students in V1th form. I wonder what became of us all?

    My start at SDHS was in 1953, aged eleven years. Form 1C with Miss Reid as Form Teacher. She married and became Mrs Fraser and taught Domestic Science. I remember her as being very approachable and non scary. A nice introduction for us . Miss Sybil Peatfield was Head Mistress.
    Margaret Mountford (myself) and best friend Sandra Brookes for some reason became known as Mugs and Bugs. We did not mind in the least and these nicknames stuck for a very considerable time until in our more mature years we both seemed to have become rather respectable and they faded out, apart from occasional lapses.

    I trained as a nurse at Guy’s Hospital form 1961-1965. Apart from enjoying (mostly) the work and the ambience of a big hospital I fell in love with London and after all these years I still find it wonderful and have missed it this last year. After some general nursing I found my way into Occupational Health Nursing which interested me and I enjoyed the aspect of keeping people healthy as well as treating them when ill.
    A great part of my professional life was spent with British Airways Health Services in various capacities and for the last ten years of working life was Head of Nursing Services.
    I am ever grateful to SDHS for the early foundation it provided in offering a starting point for exploring other interests. It is when looking back that I realise how good it was. And how patient and tolerant the staff were especially with girls (like me) who were not necessarily showing strong signs of lifting “the bounding heart, the teeming brain” despite opportunities offered. It was a fundamentally decent and well behaved school starting our day with everybody present for morning assembly at he end of which Mr Grant Arnold played us out with lovely music. That was a good start to a school day, and one sadly few students enjoy now.

    Additionally SDHS was a source of life long friendships. Sandy French (nee Brookes) and I have always been in touch. We’ve shared our mutual churchwarden experiences and queries from time to time, visit each other in Devon, Richmond and Yorkshire and recently (last March) spent a few days in Wales at a Welsh National Opera festival. We know each others families and I am godmother to Sandy’s daughter which is a lovely connection.
    Another close friend, Jean Williams, (nee Pritchard) lives in Australia. We see each other now and then and exchange letters to keep up with news. Jean’s son can’t believe anybody actually writes letters these days! It is not the way of the young but I think they are missing out.
    So much to be grateful for. My very warmest wishes to anybody who recollects any of this.
    Margaret Morrison (Mountford)

  • Alison Langford (nee Tuckett), October 30, 2020 @ 19:50

    I went to this school between 1963 and 1967, not a good scholar and was kept down a year!! Not done to badly though in my working life. I have lost touch with nearly everyone I knew there, Linda Parker, Anne Wilkins, Sue Metcalfe who I knew from primary school. I did used to see Judy Spiers for a while. I was in Marie Curie (White) and loved playing netball on the roof, hated the berets. I now live on the Isle of Wight and love it here, my partner of 44 years passed away 3 months ago so adjusting to single life at 68.

  • David, July 27, 2020 @ 10:11

    Incredibly moving photos. I’m a boy, so I never went to SDHS, but I did go on the bus from Southway into Plymouth every day from 1971-1978, and I remember seeing a few SDHS girls and wondering where it was they were going. it would be great to get in touch with anyone back from that time.

  • Iris (nee Anderson) Wood, July 20, 2020 @ 11:38

    I was at Stoke damerel in 1951 just been reading all the messages I remember all the teachers mentioned my best friend was Anne Brockingham who sadly is not here does anyone remember me Iris Anderson class 1B

  • Sandra Hailstone (nee Broome), April 13, 2020 @ 10:59

    We’re in lockdown because of Covid-19 and what better to do than remember my old school! I was at SDHS from 1973 -80. I have such great memories – mostly good! I remember all the teachers already mentioned – Mr Screech stood out as he was so young and seemed to have friendships with all the 6 formers when we were all the first year. Did he really go to night clubs with them! Rumour better than reality probably. I particularly liked Mrs Leeworthy – PE (she also ran Swallows a gymnastics club). I remember Mr Blatt – Maths (avoid the chalk flying from the blackboard); our French teacher who inspired me to do my language degree. Hated walking to the slopey hockey pitch – always seemed to be -10C when we played hockey. Didn’t appreciate it at the time but look back now at such a quirky school and building. I was in 1C and am still in touch with Caroline Goddard (1B) who now lives in Australia. A very long time ago I saw Judith Sobey, Anthea Stonely, Angela Plank and Julie Tuft. I still remember Suzanne (from Canada who joined in the 4th from I think). Debbie Sampson (gymnastics), Karen Ollereanshaw (sp?), Clare, Helen Snowden, Julia (1A).
    I’ve only just come across this site so sorry I missed the reunion a few years ago. If there’s another one…please let me know.

  • Christine Avery, April 8, 2020 @ 15:26

    I was at SDHS from 1951 to 1959 when I left to go to Oxford (Somerville College). I remember the school with great affection. It was generally known as a “friendly school” and I think it lived up to its reputation. The first year was divided according to age into 1A, 1B and 1C, according to age, and I went into 1C where Cynthia White became my ‘best friend’ – and later Marjorie Horswell, who is still my friend, though she lives in Australia. As someone whose favourite subject was always English I well remember Mrs. Quartermayne, Miss Penhale, Mrs Bullock and later Miss Mary Smith, with whom I corresponded for some years – until I (sadly) lost touch fairly recently. The roof playground was a special feature of school life – you could see Plymouth Sound, Cornwall and Dartmoor from this vantage point – quite beautiful and mind-expanding. Some of the teaching was rather eccentric – I remember a lesson called “0” which consisted of whatever the teacher saw fit to teach us at the time – but this wide-ranging, eclectic class certainly engaged my interest. Miss Fearnside (Mayor of Saltash in her spare time) taught us French – or rather, was supposed to – but most of the time she told us about her chickens and also about her spare time ‘career’ as Mayor. (You could call that “Civics” I suppose!) Miss Peatfield was a formidable headmistress who did not scruple to march into a classroom and rebuke the teacher for not teaching us well enough. I shall always be glad that I went to SDHS even though it was supposed to be a poor third to Plymouth High and Devonport High. (Two of my best friends at the present stage of my life went to Plymouth High, and my daughter-in-law went to Devonport High. But I don’t think I’m inferior in educational background to these dear people!). SDHS was – unfortunately – abolished, soon after I returned to Plymouth. I am still extremely grateful for the knowledge, attitudes and friendships with which it provided me. Christine Avery

  • Margaret Anton, July 26, 2019 @ 17:57

    See a message from Viv Jackson nee Snell. I remember you very well. I was Margaret Wilson then and Mavis Perry was my best friend. Also ‘Kirky’ and Christine Peters

  • Phyll Harris, April 28, 2018 @ 14:54

    Phyll Harris. ( nee SHEARD)
    Just found the web site about SDHS I was a pupil from 1946- 50, Dr Stimpson was the head , Miss Deacon (French) Miss Godfrey (English) Miss Cowie, and quite a few more mentioned in your web site, also many girls in my year.
    I remember speech days at Central Hall Plymouth ,going to school by train from St Budeaux.
    I would love to hear if anyone remembers me,,!,

  • Viv Jackson ( nee Snell), March 27, 2018 @ 16:21

    Viv Jackson ( nee Snell) circa 52 -58.
    I was very happy and proud to be a pupil at SDHS and have vivid memories of school dinners in the basement and netball on the roof. Art with Mrs Millar was my favourite subject and I also loved music with Mr. Arnold. Does anyone remember ‘Hansel and Gretel’? Mention of Mavis Perry, Margaret Kirkpatrick … my year.

  • Denise Davies, November 20, 2017 @ 20:32

    I was there from about 1958 – 1964 approx. I hated every minute except sports, biology and French, and of course my friends – in particular Lesley Kirton and Pamela Warden. Haven’t turned out too badly in spite of that though – degree, post grad qualification, professional qualifications and respected in my field nationally and internationally. Denise Davies (nee Westlake). Anyone know what happened to Rachel Brown who was extremely clever? I recall her having Greek and Russian language lessons from Miss Dixon.

  • Anne Lane ( nee Burden), March 23, 2017 @ 12:22

    I came upon this site when I was trying to remember the names of the ‘houses’ Unusually, there were five ! I was in Fry – red badge.
    How sad to see how the building is now , especially poignant , the shot of Mr Arnold’s trusty upright piano.
    I was there from 1964 – 1968. Joined at the end of the 3rd year , by which time , friendships had been forged and I was the ‘new girl’ in the class, trying to fit in. Coming from an Army school in Singapore, wet, drizzly and damp old Plymouth took a bit of adjusting to!
    However , form teacher was Mr Heighway and he was very kind and helped me settle in. Have lovely memories of him reading aloud to us at the end of the day. Has been a big influence on my love of books.
    I also remember lots of the teachers. Yes , Mrs Bullock , with her stylish ‘wings’ of silvery hair and elegant specs. Mr Rowe, Mrs Beale and Mr Montague – think he taught Biology. Miss Causley- Art. Miss Dixon – Ancient History from her as I wasn’t good enough for Latin. Mrs Grose , who was the best teacher of Maths I’d ever had. Even though she was strict and a little terrifying , really got me back on course in this my least favourite subject.
    Mrs Lindsey – PE. She just about made it bearable. I see the dreaded wall bars have survived.
    A few girls names I remember Gillian Byrne, Pamela Hambly. Anthea Way. We all struggled through Human Anatomy together. Funny – I didn’t do very well in the exam, but managed to become a nurse anyway. Cheryl Anderson , the ‘detention queen’ ! Sorry Cheryl if you ever read this , but you did get rather a lot. You were in Austen house I think.
    Mrs Domar – domestic science. She was sweet and only got cross when it took girls sometimes several terms to complete their cookery aprons.
    Miss Wacem, history. I was scared of her. Poor lady – it was rumoured she’d lost a fiancé in the war. Rowan Fuller, you had long straight hair, blonde. And we all wanted to look like you. Your family owned a pub down on the Barbican .
    What a lot of memories have come back to me. Things I hated about the school ; all that trekking to the field to play hockey on a pitch that badly sloped. The freezing open air swimming pool at Mount wise The school dinners in the draughty basement and the awkward job of being a ‘Table Mother’.
    The revolting big bowls of semolina, rice and tapioca which had a huge lump of jam in the middle and you had to not mix it all up if you could help it.
    Things I liked; singing with Mr Arnold , each speech day the different years learned a new song, I can only remember’ Sky boat song now. All my English lessons, especially with Mr Heighway. I’d better stop — it’s amazing the detail that comes back after all these years. My fellow classmates are sixty six now ! We never gave much thought to Today, but here it is , we’re surviving. We’re still going strong

  • Daniela, March 7, 2017 @ 14:19

    Hi I was wondering if anyone know someone or where I could get the floor plans for this site? I have been on Plymouth Planning portal but no luck there.
    Many thanks.

  • john doyle, March 1, 2017 @ 20:18

    I was one of the boys from sutton high who joined the girls of Stoke Damerel for my final year..not much to choose between either school buildings then, however, Sutton has now been converted into flats…..such a shame for the Stoke building..

  • suzanne Phillips nee Fice, January 16, 2017 @ 21:33

    I last posted here in 2010. How the years roll by so quickly!
    I have now found links on Facebook and Twitter. Still looking to find and connect with old friends I was at school with from 1974. I remember with great fondness Susan Brewer and Tina Davis but unfortunately lost touch a very long time ago. I would love to get in touch. If anyone can help please email me at

  • L Hart, October 13, 2016 @ 22:53

    Hi anyone remember me!!! Lorraine Haydon now Hart recently met up with Anita Trehane was at SDHS 1978 with Jackie Gill, Sally Marshall, and Tracey Lines

  • Iris Ellen Amy Clark, March 6, 2016 @ 22:14

    My mother Iris Ellen Amy Clark told me today (6 March 2016) she was Stoke Damerel High School For Girls for the early part of her secondary education before moving to Plympton . She was probably there around 1935/36 on. She says she recalls the pupil name for the head was Daisy – presumably her first name, the Deputy was called Bunny Williams because of her diminutive and cuddly appearance. She does not recall using the roof as a playground either because she doesn’t recall, or arrangements were different then.

  • a, January 18, 2016 @ 19:00

    Havent looked at this site for a while. Great to see P. Grant Arnold mentioned and Winifred Marion Fearnside the french mistress who I loved and admired. Miss Thornton was the sewing mistress and she could be terrifying. My first form mistress was Miss Cowie.I am 76 now but I was Margaret Wilson then, best friends were Mavis Perry and Margaret Kirkpatrick,Kirky. Happy, happy days

  • Joanne Mingay, December 26, 2015 @ 18:46

    Hello this is a message for Sheila nee Cooke, my mother Olwyn nee Stuttard and her sister Molly Stuttard attended from 1945 through to 1951 and has fond memories. Can remember be told off in assembly for playing the piano and had to report to doctor Simpson. Friends were Rita Matta, Eileen Cowan, Bunty Kemp and June Wills. If anybody remembers me or was there at the same time would love to hear from you.

  • Sheila (nee Cooke), October 30, 2015 @ 12:25

    Yes there are still some oldies left!!!!! I attended Stoke Damerel between 1944-1948 and my sister, Sylvia, was there two years later. I was born in 1932
    I have very happy memories of the school. Dr Stimpson was the head mistress and when attending a reunion in 1978 she was present -as a little old lady in a shawl.I went to the reunion with Norma May Williams (maiden name). Would love to hear from anyone else still with us. Can remember additional names – Sheila Couch, Sheila Carter, Sheila Brown, Ann Mennadew (spelling?) who poured acid over her head – caused a ‘to do’ throughout the school. Staff names – Miss Walcott, Mrs Jefferies (latin)

  • emma weeks, September 6, 2015 @ 19:45

    Hi, who owns this building now please?

  • Janet Anne Coombes, August 18, 2015 @ 19:02

    Attended the school between 1967 & 1972. My name then was Archer. Agree with many Mrs Bullock was not someone to mess with. Only fifth form class whose form room was situated next to the staff room haha!

  • mary holdaway, June 21, 2015 @ 17:52

    I was at Stoke Damerel High School from 1945 and would like to know how many of us
    are still around – my name then was Mary Smithfield

  • mary holdaway, June 21, 2015 @ 17:40

    I was at Stoke Damerel High School after the war from 1945 and I am now 80 years old.
    It would be interesting to know how many of us are still around

  • Julie Matthews(nee Mabin), April 25, 2015 @ 15:45

    To Jeannette Gagg, don’t know if you remember me but I was in your class. I was left wing in the hockey team with you and Nancy. Loved hockey and I think about the good old days at school alot. Spoke to Mrs Leeworthy a few weeks ago which was nice. How is your brother Ian, I remember he used to come to watch our matches sometimes. I also worked at Phoenix Assurance where he worked. Time goes by so fast but good memories always stay. I bumped into Caroline Kemp years ago and we had a good natter. Anyway, hope you are well. Take care. Love from Julie Mabin

  • Julie Light, April 11, 2015 @ 12:06

    It was lovely to see your response Lynn and to know you are still in touch with Anne. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Maybe we’ll see some other former beret-wearing schoolmates on here in future too!

  • Lynn Lees nee Spry, February 26, 2015 @ 22:43

    I was at Stoke Damerel from 1963 – 1970
    Lovely to see Julie Wright’s comments and to hear that she is in touch with Kristina Romanski. I hear from Anne Weeks now Makin every Christmas – she lives in Scotland.
    I was in Edith Cavell House and remember our 1st year form teacher was Mrs Grose.
    Happy Days!

  • joyce Hare, January 30, 2015 @ 16:16

    hello M – I went to SDH the same time as you did and remember Sybil Peatfield who signed a Passport for me to travel. Also remember MS Morgan teacher.
    Do hope life went well for you after the happy times we had there and the friends we made. Maureen Macdonald. Kaye Barnett and so many more.

  • Judith Tooley ( nee Statton), December 28, 2014 @ 22:14

    I attended SDHS between 1965 – 1972. I must admit I do not have great memories of my time there but would be interested to know if anybody remembers me as I have found it difficult to find and old friends. Not sure if it is possible to make contact but thought it worth giving it a try at least.

  • Linda Lowerson, December 28, 2014 @ 22:07

    Watched ‘That Day We Sang’ on Boxing day. Re Manchester Children’s Choir singing Nymphs & Sheperds. Wonderful! So nostalgic as my late sister, Irene Worth, went to SDHS in the mid 50s. She sang it at school and used to sing it to me.
    I hope other SDHS girls from her era watched it and remembered too.
    Happy New Year one and all. x

  • Julie Light - nee Wright, December 1, 2014 @ 21:39

    It’s December 1, 2014 and I am sitting at home in Leesburg, Virginia, USA, with my friend (and everyone’s friend), Krysia Fox – nee Romanski. Stoke Damerel brought us together as friends 51 years ago and the friendship is as strong now as it was then. We have spent the last 10 days reminiscing about everyone and everything in Plymouth and tonight Krysia is headed back to England while I continue living in America. We loved our time together playing netball and hockey and wonder where Marilyn Stewart, Wendy Elliott and Caroline Pym are. If you see this, please let them know we are thinking of them and would love to be in touch.
    Julie and Krysia.

  • m, November 3, 2014 @ 18:35

    I was at sdhs from 1950 to 56.the first head was dr margaret stimpson then we had sybil peatfield. The only male on the staff was P Grant Arnold who took us for music. I loved every minute of my time there

  • pam spenceley, October 28, 2014 @ 18:50

    I was deputy head girl in 1971 and just received newspaper clippings from my mum who still lives in Plymouth. What a heart wrenching but fabulous jerk of my memories. Such fond times and I still remember lots of the staff in that photo published in the Herald.Our head mistress at the time was Miss Doris Dixon or Diddy Doris as we fondly called her. I wish I had known of the reunion , I would have certainly been there. Hope there is another in the not too distant future.

  • Iris wood. (Anderson), October 4, 2014 @ 18:00

    Would like to have attended left it too late to get a ticket was there 1951 still have school photo

  • tumbles, September 15, 2014 @ 13:30

    I’m pretty sure someone on this thread mentioned knew the owner a few years back.

  • louise, September 11, 2014 @ 22:44

    Does anyone know who the owner is now? And a contact email or number please. Thanks.

  • Val Grice (nee White) 1972-78, September 2, 2014 @ 09:55

    Austen was green. I know because that was the house I was in.

  • Val Grice (nee White) 1972-78, September 2, 2014 @ 09:53

    Stoke Damerel High School for Girls

    Stoke Damerel High School for Girls Reunion
    Time:Saturday 4th October 2014 at 7.30pm
    Location:Devonport High School for Boys


    I have organised a reunion for anyone who attended Stoke Damerel High School for Girls. There will be approximately 20 teachers attending too. Tickets cost £10.00 with all of the proceeds going to charity. This includes a light buffet, but bring your own drinks. If you would like to buy a ticket, please send a cheque, payable to Beverley Kinsella and a SAE, with details of your maiden name and year you started to: Number One 1, Windsor Villas Lockyer St The Hoe Plymouth PL1 2QD. Please note that this is not my address so please direct any enquiries to me on here or call 01752 773323 or 07725 500589. There is a Stoke Damerel High School Facebook group too which has all the details and peoples photographs. Best wishes, Beverley Kinsella (nee Paull)

  • jan, August 7, 2014 @ 18:29

    The other house when I was there was Marie Curie – white. I think Austen was turquoise and was the newest house.. I think Cavell blue, Weston yellow, Fry red, were the otiginal three for the school colours.

  • Jane Summers (Bidwell), July 22, 2014 @ 16:21

    Does anyone know anything about a reunion in October 2014. Any information would be good.

  • Susan. Murkin, July 3, 2014 @ 18:47

    Can anyone name the houses. Were they Edith Cavel, jane Austen. Aggie Weston. Elizabeth Fry

  • tumbles, May 6, 2014 @ 16:36

    It’s out towards Devonport. But its much more secure & emptied inside these days.

  • Ashley, May 4, 2014 @ 18:08

    Where is this? Obviously in Plymouth but I couldn’t figure out where it is? If someone has the postcode, I can google map it, many thanks

  • Lydia, January 3, 2014 @ 13:35

    One of the more recent (maybe the last?) thing this building was used for was the Plymouth College of Further Education (now City College Plymouth) Kids Club in the 90s. It provided after school and holiday care for the children of employees of the college. The nursery was on the ground floor (I think in the separate building next to the main one) and the older children were on the top floor, meaning we got to use the playground on the roof. I’m not sure if the other floors were being used for anything else at the time. I have a feeling that there may have been offices but I might be wrong. I renember there being hairdresser type pictures on the ground floor but I’m not sure what that was from, maybe the college also used it for some if their classes? The kids club eventually moved to its own new building at the Kings Road site of the college. I don’t know of it being used for anything since then, other than mobile phone masts being put on the playground.

  • Liz Day (Jones at school), June 23, 2013 @ 17:21

    Hi, just did a bit of research about my old school to put forward our school hymn for our Songs of Praise service at my church and found this website. Just thinking it would be nice to get as many ex SDHS pupils together for a commemorative service for its 90th anniversary of being founded. Perhaps St Andrews would host the service. Just some thoughts, what do people think? Email me at It could take a while for word to get around and maybe for those who can’t attend maybe a video link/recorded interview could be put together. Offers of support gratefully received.

  • Wendy Pointer (Douglas), April 21, 2013 @ 01:05

    Was there 1969-1974
    I remember all the names mentioned above of the staff – even recalled which subjects they taught.
    Lots of mixed memories – sad to see the building in such a state.

  • Yvonne, March 20, 2013 @ 18:52

    Aw such sad photos 🙁 I have such fond memories of SDHS and to see it look in such a state of disrepair makes me feel so sad 🙁 x

  • Jeanette gagg, January 6, 2013 @ 20:38

    I was there from 70 to 75, remember everything from the posts above.’ The Utmost for the Highest’ is on my work wall. so sad to see the pics,have fond memories of the place. Nicola Burton, nancy jennings, Caroline Kemp, Sandra Newman. In fear of Mrs.Bullock. Work for HM Prison Service in West Yorkshire but that school was the best. An up and down stairwell. haha. oh Yes..

  • Janet West (nee Loader), September 11, 2012 @ 22:12

    I was at SDHS from 1969-1976 and was happy there. Looking at the photos made me feel really sad as the school was unique for the playground on the roof and basement dining room-I still enjoy telling friends that my high school had it’s playground on the roof and we played netball up there. Miss Strange-I remember you as my PE teacher,along with Mr Blatt,maths,Mr Screech, Mr Howard,Mr Rowe,Mrs Warne,Mrs Hough (biology I think) Miss Waycott,Miss Cann, Mr Liddicoat for music, although I went to DHS for boys to do my music O and A levels as I was taking piano lessons from the music master there.Miss Dixon was Headmistress. I was in Fry house and remember hearing the history of the various women who the houses were named after in assembly.Does anyone remember the little study rooms on the 3rd staircase?I always thought they were neat.Don’t live locally now but drove past the building recently to show my high school son where I went to school-it is a sad sight but you can’t take away the good memories : )

  • Carole Bond, July 1, 2012 @ 21:54

    I was here in the late 60’s/early 70’s and it was the happiest time of my school life. The freedom to be me in a single sex school was wonderful after co-ed boarding school and a short time at a sec.mod.

    In1991 I returned to education and took further ‘A’s as a mature student at the CFE. Part of our history course was taken in a building opposite SDHS and our meals were taken in the old school dining room. Being the only old SDHSer present, I couldn’t resist winding up some of my fellow students – it’s amazing how easily people can be put off their meal just thinking about the idea that the room they were eating in MIGHT once have been a mortuary! I took my husband around as far as I was able. Much of the building was off-limits due to the state of stairs etc, dangerous was not the word for it by then. I’d dearly wanted to show him the L6thA Form Room, no joy though, it was in part of the building barricaded off.

    Remembering teachers and former pupils can be a joy or a hell. I remember well how we 6th formers towered over Miss Dixon, but each one of us held her in high esteem. Mrs Bullock was our form mistress who also taught English and L6thA’s Russian. The male English teacher so many of you fondly remember was my 2nd cousin by marriage! Fond memories of Mr Liddicoat, Miss Squire and many others.

    Jennifer Spear became Head Girl in 1970/71 lives very near me in Plymstock. Lorraine Holtom sadly passed away a few years ago. It was lovely to meet her again and I was so sorry when she passed away. Others have spread across the globe.

    Looking at the pictures of my beloved school makes me want to cry. Whoever this building now belongs to needs keel-hauling. What a horrible end to such a proud building. I imagine the majority of the girls who were lucky enough to be schooled there have wonderful memories and have had cause to be thankful to the teaching we received, setting up on our life’s paths.

  • heather Pilcher, June 25, 2012 @ 16:18

    The playground was on the roof, no one ever jumped or was pushed, the walls and fence up there are too high, although we did loose a couple of netballs over the top, there was a court up there, and the Loo’s. The school was closed due to funding issues in the 1990’s, now it’s a holder for cell phone antenas n such..

  • Karen Dawe, June 24, 2012 @ 17:01

    I was at SDHS from 1971 to 1975 I cant say I was madly happy there but I really enjoyed my first year in 1A. I am so sad to see the pictures of what is left. I did go around in 1989 when the CFE were using it. I remember the lower playground toilets – yuk! I always tried to use the roof ones! We were always told there was a cholera pit under the lower playground where the pig swill bins were!

  • Ann Parker ( Strange/Boon), May 24, 2012 @ 17:35

    Have just come back to visit Plymouth after leaving 41years ago! I taught P.E. and remember the terrible facilities. Am so sad to see the pictures of the old place but it brings back a lot of memories. What happened to the girls who went on to teach P.E. about 1971/2/3? Caroline Pym, Wendy Elliot Krysia Romanska and others who I remember fondly. I now live in Lincolnshire,have 2grown up children and grandchildren and retired 11 years ago.

  • Joyce Hughes, May 7, 2012 @ 03:47

    Miss Sybil Peatfield was the headmistress that had an office on the third staircase.
    MrsMillar was the Art teacher. Mr Arnold was the Music teacher.
    the 6th Form went to Switzerland in 1954 or 1953. I was unable to go.
    Valerie Pritchard went. A lovely girl called Skinner. Kaye Barnett. Maureen Macdonald.
    Who later worked in the main post office. I have a rolled photo of the whole school and teachers taken class 1951 to 1952 although I graduated 1954 and 1955.
    miss Peatfield signed a passport application for me as i went soon after overseas.
    Beth snow was a prefect. yes i am in my seventies. anyone out there from my time.

  • Jacqui Fraser, May 1, 2012 @ 18:02

    I was a pupil in the late 60’s early 70’s. It is so sad to see the school looking like this. I left Plymouth aged 19 and have not been back but have such fond memories. Miss Dixon, Mr.Screech, so young,Miss Cann, so formidable, Miss Warne, what did she make of our spoken English. Do teachers like them still exist?

  • Anne Burnett, February 3, 2012 @ 20:55

    I went there for a brief period in 1967-8. Miss Dixon was head, Mrs Grose taught maths I think. My form teacher was Miss Causley – art. I remember the up and down staircases and the playground on the roof. I don’t remember the third staircase. But liked the school and wish I could have stayed.

  • Lesley Sibley nee Phillips, January 3, 2012 @ 09:59

    I was there, with a break, between 1970 and 1975. Miss Dixon was Head and I remember Mr Liddicote (Music), Mr Montague (Biology), Mr Screech (English), Miss Squires. i was in Caville House. I remember that there were 3 sets of stairs, one ‘up’, one ‘down’ and one for staff and prefects. This meant there was a one way system for moving around between lessons.

  • janice, May 3, 2011 @ 12:47

    Dreadful place, awful facilities, poor teaching, pull it down! Where you went in the 70’s if you weren’t bright enough to go to Plymouth or Devonport High!

  • Judith Edmonson (Nee Lindsay), March 2, 2011 @ 21:33

    I was at Stoke Damerel in the late 1950s/early 1960s. I remember Miss Peatfield as Head Mistress. I also recall several mistresses – Miss Labrie who came over from New England for a year and taught English. I well remember Miss Fearnside, Miss Smith, Miss Greening, Miss Latham (who dragged my hair back with a piece of string during needlework once) and Mrs. Grose. I vividly recall the roof where we played netball and where the lavatories were and also, pinning my beret on the back of my head and getting caught by the prefects at the doors, on leaving school in the afternoon. I also have vivid memories of blue aertex blouses and navy skirts for games and having to walk to the playing fields. I find it extremely sad to see the school in such a state of disrepair.

  • Ted Murphy, February 27, 2011 @ 15:41

    That looks awesome, full of history and narrative, I’m going 🙂

  • Rachel Kendall, January 19, 2011 @ 18:23

    I attended in the mid sixties for a couple of years before moving to Torquay. I remember Mrs Grose and Mr Heighway as form teachers. If I remember correctly Mr Heighway was also a newsreader on the local evening news. Miss Dixon was Head. Mrs Jago and Miss Reeve ( I think) for French and an amazing history teacher who often had me laughing uncontrollably in class, I think her name was Miss Chapman. Some classmates I remember; Julie Hrydziuszko, Susan Jones, Lynette Jones, Claire Maxwell- Jones, Paulette Martin, We had to catch a bus to Central Park for tennis lessons and walk down to Brickfields for hockey. I also remember Christine Ruse and Elizabeth Charley among others. A great shame that the building has fallen into ruin.

  • Christine Corey (Gant), January 19, 2011 @ 06:01

    I took my Australia husband to look at the old school 9 1963-1970). He couldn’t believe that we had played netball on the roof!
    I remember Percy Grant Arnold finally retiring as the music teacher and his wonderful carol services in St Andrews.
    I appeared in The Merchant of Venice school play with Mrs Warne as the producer.

  • Karey Parsons, January 12, 2011 @ 00:10

    I was there from 78-85 and have some lovely memories. These photos are incredibly poignant and beautiful but it’s so sad to see it abandoned. It’s still an incredibly imposing and unique building. I remember the never ending stairs, the massive corridors, the library and the loos outside – below street level! I was just randomly thinking about it so googled and found this – thanks so much for posting the photos!

  • Elizabeth Williams (Venning), January 10, 2011 @ 21:33

    I attended SDHS from 1957 to 1963. Gosh, my legacy from SDHS was a good pair of legs (all those stairs) and an undying sense of ‘The Utmost for the Highest’.
    At that time the school was virtually unique in that monitors and prefects were elected. The whole school were able to vote on changes/additions to the school rules and changes to the uniform. The heat was on, while I was there, to abandon the beret. No such luck!
    It was a small school where you were never just ‘one of the crowd’, where girls of all faiths were catered for and where I met the most fantastic teacher (and personality) that I have ever known – Miss Winifred Fearnside. A force to be reckoned with, a former Lord Mayor of Saltash and one of the first lady motorcyclists that Plymouth had ever seen! She would read Georges Simenon to us using instantaneous translation. Super!
    The building is now virtually derelict. It is probably now beyond recovery and is a danger to those who live close to it. It is a criminal waste of resources, but the building probably contravenes every health and safety rule relating to public access in the book!.
    What ever became of the library books? – SDHS had a finer collection of foreign language books than Plymouth Public Library.
    I longed to see my name on the Roll of Honour in the Assembly Hall. Won my degree in 2000 from the Open University – too late, alas!
    ‘The Utmost for the Highest’ has always stood me in good stead.

  • Wendy (nee Rickard), December 19, 2010 @ 14:57

    I was a pupil 1979-1984 ish. What fond memories of this school! So sad to see it so run down.
    (Some people may remember me as the girl that cracked her head open by running into a lampost whilst we were going down to the sports field to play hockey)
    I also remember slapping on the coconut oil whilst sunbathing on the roof and posing for the panoramic photos. The boys school joined us in my last year but it was very exciting. There are still smells that remind me of the school. My favourite smell was the book store cupboard near Miss Rashbrooks classroom. I remember the pride of moving into the portakabin as a sixth former and the prestige that came with that.
    I have still got the cassettes of our carol service in St Andrews.

  • Julie nee Turner, November 29, 2010 @ 18:39

    I have very fond memories of my old school. I even remember “Lift up you heart” our school song. Miss “Doris” Dixon was a force to be reckoned with and I am a Headteacher myself but will never command that kind of respect! I remember Mr Liddicoate and still sing the Towers of Ten Tarling. Other fond memories :Mr Rowe’s lefthanded cream horns (you had to be there), Mr Howard’s clarinet at Christmas, Mrs L Smith who taught maths , Mrs M Smith who taught Latin and Miss Bullock’s amazing hair. At this time of year I remember the carol concert in St Andrew’s church and the procession “Once in Royal David’s City”. We were then trusted to get back to school!!!!

  • Steven Williams, October 5, 2010 @ 21:14

    Hello Richard Johnson! Twenty something years later! Don’t remeber the girls being the only ones wanting to throw you off the roof! Just joking!

  • Sheila Higdon( Robinson), September 16, 2010 @ 23:11

    So sad.Always wanted to return to the school.Too late now.Despite poor PE facilities I still managed to play Netball for Plymouth for 3 years whilst at school.1954– 1961 attendance.

  • Jennifer Merrett, September 11, 2010 @ 16:24

    My sister Jill, and myself were pupils during the 50’s and early 60’s. I can still remember the lay-out of the school, and most of the teachers – plus the numerous school friends I met from 1B to the Upper Sixth. Playground on the roof, outdoor toilets etc, just part of the school, that was acceptable then – but I did receive a good education, discipline, and integrity.

  • Jennifer (nee) Merrett, September 11, 2010 @ 16:08

    My sister Jill, and myself were pupils during the 50’s and early 60’s. I can still remember the lay-out of the classrooms and most of the teachers, plus the numerous friends met from year 1B to the Upper Sixth. I never thought about the lack of facilities, – looking back now I fondly remember a school that gave me a good education, discipline, and, hopefuly, integrity

  • Heather Pilcher, August 27, 2010 @ 02:27

    1973-1978ish.. I remember Miss Dixon, (ancient history) Miss Squire, (Geography and RK) Mr Liddicoat,(music) Miss Slack (French), Mr Montague. The Science teacher was also ran the chess club, but cant remember his name.
    People in my era..
    Anne Ware, Vanessa Searle, Jennifer Quayle, Karen Mccuey (Sp. sorry), Janice, Susan Tolcher. We all went to the YMCA each friday for thier teen dances.
    The school was basement, Ground, first, second and thrid floor to the room.
    We ate in the cafe in the basement.
    The Gym/Assembly was on the second floor. Library and staff room was at the end of the building on that floor. There was also a staff room on the ground floor and an office by the stairs and cloakroom opposite it.
    The home room for cooking was on the third floor, with the science labs.
    Staircases at each end of the building. The annex had a long corridor, two rooms at the end, the bathrooms were outside of the basement. and on the roof.
    There was a third staircase for just staff, Miss Dixon’s room was on the second floor of it.
    Playground on the roof. Does anyone remember getting those long panoramic pictures done each year up there of the entire school ensemble?
    My email is: Kaibluecreations/at/ if you’d like to keep in touch. Thanks for sharing these fab photos.

  • Teresa Turner, August 9, 2010 @ 12:37

    I was one of the last intake too. These pictures actually brought a tear to my eye to see the building in such a state…….Mrs Green was Head Teacher when we first joined the school and Miss Squire took over when she left and Suttn High School for boys joined us.

    I remember the toilets on the roof and the back yard. I remember hot sunny days sun bathing on the roof with our socks rolled down and lots of coconut oil! They were good times and great fun.

    I may not have worked very hard at school but we did have a laugh and I must admit catching up with old school friends recently has been great 🙂

  • Karen Gibbard (nee Chetcuti), August 9, 2010 @ 12:32

    I joined Stoke Damerel High School for Girls in 1981 and we were the last intake of pupils. In 1984 Sutton High School for Boys joined us in this building and in 1986 we pretty much turned off the lights and closed the door behind us for good.

    It’s a real shame to see the building in this state – I only hope that it will once again be restored to its former glory. Our dining room was in the basement, we played netball on the roof and sunbathed up there in our lunch time and we had outdoor toilets in the courtyard. It all sounds very Victorian but I have very fond memories of the School, the teachers and school friends – it was a great place to be and to be educated.

    The Class of 1981 are holding a reunion in September 2011 – date, time and venue to be confirmed. Anyone who joined SDHS or SHS in 1981 and is interested in attending can contact me directly or through the Groups Facebook Page.

  • Shirley Bowden (nee Tonkin), May 13, 2010 @ 21:16

    I know that Jane Austen house came into existence between 1957 and 1964 but I don’t know about the other houses.

  • LYNNE EDWARDS, April 26, 2010 @ 07:23

    Thank you for the info, forgot to mention that she was there in the 30’s, do you think they would have been the same?

  • Shirley Bowden (nee Tonkin), April 20, 2010 @ 20:19

    The houses were:
    Turquoise – Jane Austin
    Blue – Edith Cavell
    Red – Elizabeth Fry
    Yellow – Agnes Weston
    White – Marie Curie

  • LYNNE EDWARDS, April 20, 2010 @ 13:55

    Hope someone can help. My Mother is an ex Stoke Damerel pupil and is trying to remember the names of the schools houses?

  • Sue Phillips nee Fice, March 17, 2010 @ 11:36

    I attended between 74 and 79.Often wondered what happened to the school.I have chanced upon this website looking for the schools awarding bodies for O levels back then.Grateful if anyone can remember.
    I also remember some teachers.Playing netball on the roof and walking to Central Park for other physical activities, hockey at Brickfields where much to my embarrasment,the local dockyard workers would watch and wolf whistle as we played in our long thick socks and short pleated skirts……….ooh.
    I was bullied a little back then as I was so painfully shy and didnt say too much, but I do remember a couple of really good friends who kept me going, thanks Susan and Tina….I wonder how you are??

  • Shirley Bowden (nee Tonkin), March 16, 2010 @ 16:47

    I attended the school between

    I too was very disappointed to see how SDHS had been allowed to fall into disrepair. I, like many other girls from Plymouth, have very fond memories of my time spent at Stoke Damerel and am still proud of ?my school ? even after all these years.

    It is therefore very disappointing to discover that the Council appears to have lost any sense of Plymothian history. Would I be right in supposing that many of the local councillors were not in fact born and bred in Plymouth and are therefore not aware of the history of such buildings and the emotions they can generate?

    It would be sad, but the demolition of the building may well be preferable to seeing it languishing in such a state. I feel that it is insulting to the Old Girls and staff to whom Stoke Damerel was a special place and which holds happy memories for many.

  • Julie (nee Kiver), January 22, 2010 @ 12:27

    I attended SDHS from 1971-1978 – they were incredibly happy days!
    I felt so sad to see the school in it’s present state; it’s such a shame and such a waste. All the staff really wanted the best for us and without it I doubt I would have got where I am today. I could reel off the names of most of the staff – mainly female – now. I lived on the opposite side of Plymouth but it was never a chore to go there. As a small school it had a close community feel to it and although it was an all girl school there was very little bitchiness, etc.
    When we needed boys for drama productions we used to team up with Devonport High School for boys – did that send a wave of excitement through the school when they came for rehearsals; we also went there every year for our spoken english competitions – hours were spent in front of those cold toilet mirrors putting on make-up before we left to walk down there. In fact we walked everywhere because our sport facilities were so bad – down to Devonport field for hockey, Mount Wise swimming pool (horrible!) for swimming gala and into town for the Carol Service practice. And that playgound on the roof! We survived – as we did those hard stone up and down staircases- now- a- days health and safety wouldn’t allow it!
    I wore my uniform with pride- didn’t particularly like the beret though; used to be terrified of getting told off by sixth formers if they caught us eating at the bus stop in uniform. HAPPY DAYS
    As you can tell could go on for ages!
    Will certainly try to get to the reunion.

  • Sue Shepherd(Nee Thompson), January 20, 2010 @ 21:59

    I attended SDHS from 1972 – 1975 – left to move to s.Wales.
    Head Teacher was Miss Dixon, also remember Mr.Montague, Mr Liddicote, Mrs Bullock to name but a few.
    I loved wearing my red and Navy uniform and Blazer with the brading.
    Also took part in school production of Trial by Jury. I remember the Flat roof on top and going downstairs to assembly every morning. Sad to see the building in such a state.

  • tumbles, December 8, 2009 @ 18:57

    Yes the school is looking yet more worse for wear. Another arson attack on it in recent months. I believe vodafone have removed there comms gear from the roof due to the building being insecure. The council have issued compulsary works orders against the owner too. Thanks to all for all the comments, never would have imagined this site would stir so up so many memories! Thanks all.

  • Jo Hillman, December 8, 2009 @ 18:23

    Richard – can’t believe you weren’t allowed on the roof – we used to spend every lunchtime up there in the summer and even played Netball – when you think of it, one of those balls falling off the roof could have done a passing pedestrian some real damage! Mind you, this was in the 1970s, when things were very different!

    Chase – looked at additional photos you took recently – fascinating but really sad 🙁

  • Richard Johnson, December 1, 2009 @ 22:15

    Ah, Mr Williams. Hello there. Actually I remember a few girls who wanted to throw me off the roof, but we weren’t allowed up there.

  • Steven Williams, November 8, 2009 @ 19:11

    What a waste for a great school and a great building. Joined the girls at Stoke Damerell when we moved over from Sutton High, Regent Street in 1985. Spent 2 years at SDHS and many happy memories.

  • Chase, November 7, 2009 @ 09:42

    I recently visited here (November 2009) photos can be found here

  • Pamela Gosling (Cooper), October 11, 2009 @ 10:29

    It was great to see the photographs in the Evening Heralds dated April 10th& Sept:12th 2009 they brought back so many memories, seeing the picture of the teachers & remembering them all. I was there in the 1950’s when Miss Peatfield & Dr Stimpson were head teachers, I did enjoy my time at Stoke Dameral so much.So sad to see the state of the school now.have a great re-union.

  • Ann Dooley ( Wakeham), October 7, 2009 @ 04:23

    I was there from 1952, with Miss Peatfield as the Head. I have lots of happy memories of SDHS. The pictures are so sad. Seeing the piano just thrown aside, Mr Arnold would have cried, he made each year into a choir for speachday, and each year had its favourite signature tune. Ours was The Dam Busters.
    I live in SA so cant join the reunion, but to those that attend Enjoy.

  • Carole Scott (Edgecombe), October 6, 2009 @ 21:04

    I was at SDHS from 1952 when Miss Peatefield was head and I remember when Miss Squire started her career as a geography teacher. What ever happenned to all the Miss Smiths ? We seemed to have so many. It is so sad to see the building in such a sorry state. It was such a vibrant place in its time. We were all so fit we had to walk everywhere to play hockey,to swim and of course the clamber up the several flights of stairs to play netball. Those were the days.

  • Jo Hillman, October 6, 2009 @ 19:37

    Looking at these pics sent a shiver down my spine! I was at SDHS from 1972 to 1979. I last went inside the building in 1989 when it was closed as a school but had become part of the College of FE. The Music Room on the ground floor was being used for flower arranging and upstairs the staffroom had been converted into a shower/sauna area – next to this was a big white bare room where they practised massage – I was one of the guinea pigs! I could NOT remember what that room used to be while I was… it was in fact the Library! I still dream about Stoke Damerel – the rooms, the teachers, friends… sad to see the building in such a state of decay. RIP SDHS and all the good memories

  • liz chiddicks(johns), October 6, 2009 @ 18:01

    What a shame, the state of the place.I was there from 1961-1966 with Miss Dixon.

  • Heather McIsaac, September 30, 2009 @ 18:17

    I was there from 1974-1981. Miss Dixon was the Headmistress followed by Mrs Green. I remember the playground on the roof and how long the climb was from the ground floor to reach it. We used to try and hide from the dinner ladies to try and avoid the long climb. The tiolets up there were freezing! Great view from the roof and it was fantastic for sunbathing in the summer. Many many happy memories of Stoke Damerel. There is a reunion of all old girls on October 10th 2010 call 01752 773323.

  • Elaine Thomas, August 31, 2009 @ 17:49

    I was there from 1966-1971. Miss Dixon was headmistress and my first form mistress was Mrs Grose.
    The playground was on the roof but the walls and railings were so high that there was no fear of anyone falling off!
    I am so sad to see the school in this state. I’ve often thought I would love to walk down the corridors again and see the classrooms and hall.
    Does anyone know what is to become of it?

  • Joanna (Clay), August 20, 2009 @ 16:42

    I was in the last intake of girls in 1981 till 1986. The school was closed due to the Council’s plans to close the Grammar Schools in Plymouth. We were joined by Sutton Boys in 1984 as they were closing too.
    Our head was Miss Squire and we used to loose our netballs of the roof frequently. There were lots of stairs and we had a system where you went up one set & down the others. The toilets were outside in the coutyard- cold & rats!
    Sad to see this building in such a state!

  • Di, August 2, 2009 @ 19:08

    I was there from 1964-1970. I remember it being a draughty old place. The playground was on the roof – breaks were spent there too.It was freezing up there sometimes! We’d often ‘accidently’ loose netballs over the roof and spend the rest of the lesson looking for them!The headmistress was called Doris Dixon (‘Miss’ of course) who was follwed by Miss Squire who was the geography teacher. Happy days!!

  • Melanie Ide, July 16, 2009 @ 16:48

    I attended the school from September 1980 to July 1985. I’m really sad to see what has happened to the building – even in it’s state of disrepair it brought back alot of happy memories!

  • Heather P., June 25, 2009 @ 14:39

    I attended this school in the 1970’s..
    Judging from your pic’s it’s gone
    I think it was lack of funding that closed the old gal. “Doris” and I can’t remember her last name was the head mistress , Miss squire was the second one.
    long time ago.. but it’s neat to see it now.. Thanks..

  • Rae, May 22, 2009 @ 18:12

    I live about 500 yards from this building, I’ve alwasy wanted to sneak in have a look, though I’m terrorfied of running into squatters or homeless people, or being arrested.

    I’ve never been able to find out why this school was shut down; I’ve heard it was because the play ground is on the roof and that a girl jumped (or was pushed) off. You can just see what might be a court yard on the roof from ground level. Info on this would be very helpfull.

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