WITH VIDEO: School's Out as Island institution closes its doors for the last time

Closure of Underhill School at Portland.

WITH VIDEO: School's Out as Island institution closes its doors for the final time

WITH VIDEO: School's Out as Island institution closes its doors for the final time

Eunice Malcolm at the Closure of Underhill School at Portland.

Don Phillips at the Closure of Underhill School at Portland.

First published in News
Last updated
Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

DOZENS of pupils young and old gathered to pay tribute to a 101-year-old Portland school, closing its doors for the final time.

Yesterday Isle of Portland Community Aldridge Academy (IPACA) students and VIPs gathered at Underhill School in Fortuneswell to pay tribute and say goodbye as it closed its doors.

See a video of pupils singing 'Goodbye Underhill' song

Ex-pupils returned to Underhill and spoke of their school memories.

Guests were treated to a talk on the history of the site by Wayne Day, who was governor of the school for 17 years.

Students used iPads to take pictures and video of the ceremony.

They interviewed guests about their memories, which will be used not only in lessons, but as a digital archive of the site.

Students took the older visitors on a tour of the school so they could see how it had changed.

IPACA principal Alison Appleyard said the day was a celebration of the history of the site, as well as looking forward to the new future.

She said: “Underhill has had a very proud and distinguished history. It’s more than 100 years of education – we need to celebrate that.”

A special song ‘Goodbye Underhill,’ to pay tribute and say goodbye, was sung by pupils, with the lyrics: “Goodbye Underhill, it’s not the end.”

Poppy Butcher, 85, said she had wonderful memories of the school and all her friends there.

Her mother also went to the school, as did Mrs Butcher’s three children. She said: “It’s just a friendly school.

“Everybody was local and everyone knew everyone else. It was lovely.”

She said the play-ground out the back used to be the boys’ playground and the one at the front was for the girls.

Don Phillips, 63, said: “I always remember learning to write with a pen and ink and being left-handed I remember I used to smudge it.”

He added: “It’s a very special place.”

Colin Price, 81, was an ex-pupil and also care-taker for 15 years, he said it felt ‘lovely’ to be back. His mother Alexandra Rose-Price, just celebrated her 100th birthday and used to go to Underhill as well.

Eunice Malcolm, 81, left Brackenbury School and should have gone on to St John’s in 1945, but because it had been bombed they went to Underhill.

She said: “I have lots of happy memories being here.”

She added that she remembered once being given the cane for talking in class.

On display in the hall were lots of old photos and books from Underhill’s history, including a punishments book, going back to 1908.

The sort of offences you could get the cane for included: rudeness to a teacher, taking in class, disobedience, eating orange peel in needlework lesson and making rude noises.

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