Local History : Downend School’s early days

SOME fascinating photographs have shown us a glimpse of the formative years of what is now Downend School.

Local resident Adrian Ainsley found the pictures, from 1956/7, showing how the school looked when his mother Elizabeth attended in its early days. 

Back then, it had an outdoor swimming pool – can any readers shed a light on when and why that was closed?

The school arose out of several mergers, most recently between Page School for Girls and the co-educational Stockwell Hill School in 1982. 

Before that it had been Staple Hill Secondary Modern School, and had separate departments for boys and girls.

Voluntary history group Downend Community History and Art Project (CHAP) aims to gather memories like these and share them widely in the community. 

We are keen to learn about other readers’ memories of attending local primary and secondary schools, and recollections of how education has changed over the decades.  

If you have a photograph or a memory you would like to share, please contact CHAP by email at big.gin@talktalk.net or by letter at CHAP, 49 Overnhill Road, Downend, Bristol, BS16 5DS.

CHAP aims to create a coherent identity for Downend and Emersons Green, built around interesting or significant places, people and events from the past. 

Our goal is to build a sense of belonging and commitment to our area and an understanding of its character, residents, businesses and visitors. 

CHAP aims to run enjoyable and inclusive community activities that bring history to life through arts, publications, music and events.  The volunteer-run group has no premises or overheads. 

CHAP’s website is at

Helen Rana