We were all quite nervous, welcoming children from three primary schools to help share in our 110th anniversary celebrations. Our teachers and gap students were all in costumes, ranging from Edwardian starch to funky neon legwarmers (Mrs Cooke) – to help give our guests a flavour of school life through the ages here at Adcote.
After a short welcome from Diane Browne, it was over to Lower School teacher Mrs Weymss, who was dressed up as our founder Amy Gough; her costumes and props were kindly provided by Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
Mrs Weymss introduced children to the Adcote ‘rules’ from the beginning of the 20th century and (subjected) treated children to a slate boards session in the Great Hall, learning the capitals of the world by rote.
We have recently learned from visiting old girls that a favourite punishment from Adcote of yesteryear was being made to recite textbooks backwards!
Our guests then moved through the centuries, enjoying tile making with Art teacher Mrs Wrobel; pupils were inspired by designs of our stunning Coalbrookedale tiles, still on view around the gorgeous fireplaces here at Adcote. They were designed by 19th Century English potter William de Morgan, a lifelong friend of William Morris. From there, it was on to prawn cocktail making in the style of 1950s cook Fanny Cradock and then into our dedicated drama studio for a 1980s dance studio workshop with Mrs Cooke – in the style of 1980s Pineapple Dance Studios and Fame. Finally, Mr Chris Farmer had prepared a Robotics workshop, to finish with 21st century technology, given that STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are now a key focus here in school.
Rachel Harvey, Year 6 class teacher at St George’s Primary School in Shrewsbury, said: “Thank you so much for inviting us to join you in your celebrations. The pupils have thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of practical and engaging activities on offer. We have had a truly wonderful day.”
Carol Beard, a teaching assistant with Baschurch Primary School, added, “It has been superb. They have all had an amazing day and made and created and tried things they have never done before.”
One of her pupils Lily Hall, 11, said: “I really liked the dancing. It was upbeat and different.”
Fellow pupil Kyle Thomson, 10, particularly liked the prawn cocktail flavoured with tabasco sauce: “I’m going to go home and tell my parents I tried fish. I don’t like fish.”
Mrs Browne said: “This has been a wonderful day for all involved. Our staff certainly had a lot of fun planning it, and it was clear from all the smiley faces that our pupils and their guests loved every minute. One hundred and ten years is quite a milestone for us here at Adcote and we would like to thank those schools who have helped us celebrate today.
“We are also very grateful to Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust for their support. Our school building was built by Rebecca Darby, widow of Alfred Darby of the Darby industrialist family of Coalbrookdale. We hope to deepen this connection with the Trust over this our anniversary year, and will be planning further celebratory events during 2017.”