THANKS to Terry Gale for bringing in his extensive collection of Weymouth College photos.

The images give a wonderful view of what the college was like at the beginning of the 20th century, once having two campuses, one in Newstead Road and the other where the college is now, in Cranford Avenue. There even used to be a farmhouse on the site!

Terry worked at Weymouth College for 33 years, beginning work on September 14 1970. He started off as a boilerman and then became a maintenance assistant.

These photos show that there were once dormitories at Weymouth College, with boarders coming from all over to be taught. As part of his role Mr Gale even had to deliver milk up Dorchester Road to people associated with the college.

He acquired this wonderful collection of photos from the reverend of the college chapel.

Terry has also laid his hands upon the college records from the early years which make for fascinating reading and provide us with a detailed history of the institution.

The origins of the college go back to 1863. Its first classroom was the building close by Westham Bridge in Weymouth.

The college's founders stipulated three things - students should be well born, should cheerfully submit to being instructed in 'all branches of education' that are 'of general and acknowledge utility' and that they 'should read their Bibles by the light of the established church'.

Back then the college was known as the Weymouth Grammar School and it began on April 14 1863 with just 35 students.

Plans for expansion began early on and new buildings were designed and a site secured.

In the Christmas term 1864 a boarding house was opened at 2 Wellington Place, Weymouth.

In 1869 a branch establishment was opened at the original school premises and was designated Melcombe Regis School.

The college soon added a lecture room and two new dormitories. French was rapidly added to the curriculum, followed by science and German.

In 1872 the cricket field behind the buildings was acquired.

But by 1876 things weren't so rosy, the school's name began to tarnish and the number of students halved.

A new headmaster was found in the autumn of 1879. It was at this point that the name 'college' was adapted. Years later the college was on to its third headmaster and it was built up step by step once again. It was back to 100 students in 1888.

The dining room was enlarged and a new Matron's Room was built beneath the lecture room.

The next year saw the completion of the new gymnasium and in 1890 the 'new buildings', with several classrooms, masters' rooms and sick quarters were ready for use. The Chapel Fund began this year.

In 1892 the Engineers Corps came into being.

In 1894 the freehold of the cricket field was bought and on Speech Day 1895 the foundation stone of the chapel was laid by the then Lord Bishop of Salisbury.

There was an unsettled period again at the turn of the century - in 1902 another chief took up the reins at the college.

A junior school of 50 boys was established at Boscobel in 1903 and in 1907 the numbers in the school reached 100. In 1908 the college leased a new football ground lying to the north west of the cricket ground.

In 1911 the library and reading room were transferred to the new buildings and the old dormitories were reconstructed; in 1912 the new laboratory and carpenters' shop were adapted and built.

It was in the summer of 1913 when the Jubilee of the Foundation of the School was celebrated.

The college records provide us with a fascinating history - they also include names of the early headmasters, lists of boys who won scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge and captains of the school.

*See next week for more old photos of Weymouth College.


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