All posts by Christine Chapman

Closure of The Newcastle upon Tyne Church High School, 4th July 2014

Although there was an administrative presence on site until Thursday 10th when the answerphone was switched over to Eskdale Terrace, on Friday July 4th at approximately 1.30 pm the very last girls in green uniform left the Church High building for St George’s Church, Jesmond, to celebrate the End of Year Service.

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This last emotional service began with the traditional procession lead by the Head Girl carrying the cross.  Behind her on this special occasion, however, were younger girls carrying the four House Bears, an old school hat and the school bell; all were laid on the altar.

2014 Church Service_House Bears

Everyone present will have their own personal memories of that day, looking back on the past and anticipating the new school post-merger, but the end of The Newcastle upon Tyne Church High School was recorded for posterity in a Wikipedia entry as follows:

‘Newcastle upon Tyne Church High School (also known locally as “Church High”) was an independent day school for girls in Jesmond, less than a mile north of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  Until 2014 it was the oldest continuously operating girls’ school established in the city.

CH School Signage

“Church High”, as the school is commonly known, was founded in 1885 by the Church Schools Company (now known as the United Church Schools’ Trust).  It left the company in the 1920 and has been independent since, but retained ties with the Diocese of Newcastle and St Nicholas’ Cathedral.

Church High was one of the North East’s top performing independent schools in GCSEs and A Levels.  In the 2010 GCSE league table, it was ranked joint third with Central Newcastle High School out of 100 schools in the North East.  98% of its candidates scored 5 or more A*-C grades that year.

On 29 January 2013 it was announced that Church High would merge with the nearby Central Newcastle High School to form Newcastle High School for Girls in 2014.  The schools merged in 2014.’

Church High’s Tankerville Terrace site was chosen as the home of the Newcastle High School for Girls Senior School and Central High’s Chapman House as the home of the new Junior School.  However, in order to accommodate an enlarged and extended Senior School of 700 girls on the Tankerville site, Church High’s Junior & Infant School built in 1975 was earmarked for demolition.

Whilst planning permission for the new-build was sought and the building and renovation works carried out, Church High girls and staff going forward to the new school moved into Central High’s Eskdale Terrace building in September 2014 for the first two years of the Newcastle High School for Girls.

The Newcastle upon Tyne Church High Senior School buildings.
Newcastle upon Tyne Church High Senior and Junior School buildings as we remember them on Tankerville Terrace.

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Church High Heritage Open Day, 21st June 2014

Saturday 21st June 2014 marked the culmination of a series of celebratory events to say goodbye to Church High.  The familiar dark green front door, festooned with blue and green balloons (blue for the sky and green for the forest) was thrown open from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm to welcome back friends and Alumnae, many travelling long distances to enjoy one last look around a much-loved building and share happy memories with teaching staff past and present.

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Blessed with beautiful sunny weather, the leafy grounds of the Junior School played host to a vibrant Family Fun Day complete with circus workshops, face painting and welcome refreshments.

Newcastle Church High Junior School.

The focus of attention for the majority of visitors to school, however, was the fascinating Heritage Display mounted in the Senior School Hall by Alumnae Co-ordinator, Mrs Sarah Timney.

Church High History Timeline.
Church High History Timeline including Alumnae artefacts..

Against the atmospheric backdrop of oak beams, wood panelling and Honours Boards steeped in tradition, a comprehensive time-line of the school’s history took pride of place down the centre of the Hall.  Facts and dates were brought to life by carefully curated items from the school’s archives boosted by a ‘Memory Wall’ and old uniform items loaned to us especially for the occasion.

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The final port-of-call for many was Room 6, a treasure-trove of excess archive materials and anything-and-everything-bottle-green boasting the school badge, all destined to become the prized centre pieces of countless personal archives celebrating very special memories of ‘The Old Church High’.

Hall Honours Boards (North and South end) and The Four Virtues House Plinths.
Hall Honours Boards (North End, top image and South End, below) & The Four Virtues House Plinths with House Bears.

Hall Honours Boards (North and South end) and The Four Virtues House Plinths.