High School, Hern's Lane

1956 to 1968

By Steve Johnson

Taken from the front gate of the school - 1961.

High School, Hern’s Lane was set to provide grammar school education for the new and expanding housing estate on the East and North-West side of Welwyn Garden City. The school site was officially opened in 1958, though the school students were temporarily accommodated at Heronswood School. The headmaster was Mr C. L. V. Gilbey. 

The High School remained open until 1968 when it amalgamated with Attimore Hall Secondary Modern School to become Sir Frederic Osborn School on the same site.


This page was added on 28/02/2016.

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  • Strange. I was there from 59′ until leaving to live in Cornwall in ’63 and I have no recollection of Mr Dover. I do remember Mr Edwards. After swimming each week, he made us jump off the next level board. I remember the top one and thinking, ‘thank God that’s over’ and the next week he made us dive off the lower board. Aaaarrrgghhhhh!

    I remember friends Dave Course, David Bryant, Rob (?) Brewerton and my desperate, unrequited love for Anne Hudson from Hatfield who was a year lower than me. I also remember being an early Mod and going to Ludwick hops.

    I remember Mr Gilbey blowing a gasket when girls turned up in school with knee length boots. He ranted at them about us not having won the war so Nazi jackboots could be paraded around HIS school.

    I was useless academically, but enjoyed French with Mr Hill and Maths. I improved at my new school in Bude, Cornwall and, today, am a science fiction author with some success. Anyone who remembers me can make contact for a free book.

    All the best to everyone.

    By Tony Harmsworth (14/11/2021)
  • Hi Janet R (?)
    Yes along with many others Ludwick on a Friday night was the place to be!

    By Mike Rush (08/11/2018)
  • I was a ‘late entry’ to the High School having moved from Pinner when my parents moved to Hertford. I remember Carolyn and Mike Rush and Jez and some of the other names mentioned. I remember going to
    Ludwick Youth club as my friend was playing in the band that was supporting act to Tony Rivers and the Castaways. Was anyone there?

    By Janet R (29/10/2018)
  • Hi
    Message to Ivan Dover.
    I was one of the pupils from 1956 when it first started when lodging at Heronswood Secondary Modern School.
    There definitely no Mr Dover and it was 1958 when we moved to our new school building in Herns Lane.
    He may have been a Heronswood teacher we used when lodging at Heronswood Secondary Modern School.

    By Margaret Yeomans new Mandall (25/10/2018)
  • I attended the High School from September 1958 until 1963, I certainly remember Mr Bull, Mr Croft ,Miss Fowler, Mr Weston,Mr Blenkin, who had I believe an Austin A40 , Mr Swallow who used to ride a scooter, until one day a pupil, who’d been a pain to Mr Swallow, decided to put sugar in his fuel tank on the day he left, not me, but I’m afraid the name has disappeared in the mists of time. I was in class 1W in 1958, does anyone remember Paul Freestone, Harry Batchelor, Dave Young,Rodney Peters, to name a few.

    By Rod Slade (25/09/2018)
  • 24.08.18
    have just read the comments with great interest.I attended the school from 1960 through to lower sixth.Have no recollection of Mr Dover for games though I remember Mick Rush as a goalie in the school team. I was a very active sportsman playing football for the county. I remember all the teachers mentioned particularly Kilbey Edwards who also played for Hitchin Town. His replacement was Mr Hill who, as mentioned, introduced rugby. The school was great and I have so many happy memories of both my fellow students and the teaching staff. Now retired and living in York.

    By Ron Chalkley (24/08/2018)
  • I was at The High Scool from 1956-1962 and don’t remember a teacher called Dover. There were four teachers at the start, Fletcher, Windass, Hill and Mackean, plus The Headmaster Gilbey. We shared Heronswood school for the first two years and the boys had games and PE with a Heronswood teacher called Mr. James who was fearsome. Check out and contribute to my High School Web Site.

    By Paul Griggs (15/07/2018)
  • Hi,interesting, I don’t remember a Reginald Dover as a P.E teacher(?). I was at The High School 58-65 and played for the school at most sports during that time. Kilbey Edwards was the main man supported by other members of staff i.e Mr Swallow-Basketball. Around ’63’a new Welsh guy joined the P.E dept and introduced Rugby for the first time. 

    If you refer to Paul Griggs website there is no reference to Reg or Ivan Dover……..strange?

    Regards to Carolyn Ward….the last time I heard your name was at Wall Hall College( 65/66?) I was a regular visitor from my college for dances and “extra curricular” activities.

    By Mike Rush (23/11/2016)
  • I remember all the staff that Susan mentions (it brings back memories of people I had forgotten). I attended the High School from 1961-66. What about Mr Hill who taught us French?  I remember Mr Jameson our Latin teacher. He used to stride across the quad with his black robe billowing like a big black crow – always rather fierce!  Mr Gilbey always had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth (wouldn’t do nowaday!). 

    By Dawn Merry (was Barker) (28/08/2016)
  • My mum, Mrs McGovan, took Domestic Science at the High School on Hern’s Lane from Miss Salmon in 1966 and she taught the subject until the schools merged in 1968.   She did continue Domestic Science at Sir Fred’s School for another 10 years, and left in 1978.   Mum is still with us fortunately    -    she can remember having nothing but a blackboard and chalk to use when she taught her classes and she was thrilled to be using a properly built oven in her class when she joined the school in 1966.  

    By Neil McGovan (02/08/2016)
  • Does anyone remember Miss Pindard – Needlework and DS teacher, a proper old-fashioned lady with a grey bun hairdo?


    By Amanda Harper (27/07/2016)
  • I adored Miss Brittain, her joy for music was so infectious, and when we had hymn practice she used to play ‘For all the Saints’ and then say ‘POM!’ to indicate you should pause before the next line! As well as the teachers Carolyn recalls, there was Mr Windass (English), Mr Swallow, Mr Croft (Science), Mr Bull (History), Miss Butcher (French), Miss Fletcher, (Maths), Mr Smirthwaite (I think he took maths, but also metalwork & woodwork), Miss Salmon (Domestic Science) and when she left, I believe Miss Hodges took over. Mr Jameson also took French as well as Latin. I recall that Mr Swallow used to ride a motor scooter and on least one occasion the boys hid a potato in the exhaust.

    I was Susan Warne then, I spent quite a bit of time on crutches & was also away for in hospital for long periods.

    By Susan Brewer (19/05/2016)
  • It was ever so fascinating to read these comments on this article.   As I said above my father Reg was a teacher there and he wasn’t a person to get on the wrong side of either in school, but at home he was okay.

    Miss Fowler I had forgotten   -   I think I was taller than her by the time I was 13.  I remember also running along the corridor and bumping into her when she was exiting a classroom    -   I can safely say I did not enjoy the consequences.  She had a little Mini which I remember seeing her drive into school with each morning – she was really the definition of a dangerous driver!  It was said that she stayed on to teach the girls PE at Sir Fred’s but I don’t know.

    I do remember all the other teachers you name    -    Miss Brittain was the one for me when I was younger and I fell asleep every lesson in Latin  -  the memories are revived somehow!

    By Ivan Dover (06/05/2016)
  • I also attended the High School from the first year at the Herns Lane site, 1958, until 1965.  I recall Mr Edwards and remember one of the girls hurting herself (broken leg?) playing hockey and being carried off the field by Mr Edwards while the rest of us girls looked on in envy – he was considered quite a dish!  And who could forget Miss Fowler?  She may have been a tiny woman but no-one dared cross her!

    Other teachers there: – Miss Brittain (music); Mr Jameson (latin); Mr Maddox (maths); Mr Blenkinsop (chemistry); Mr Gough (art); Mr Mackean (of the ‘Introduction to Biology’ book fame); Mr Croydon (english); and many more whose faces I can see but whose names have slid into inaccessible cracks in my brain, partially peeping out, playing a frustrating game of hide and seek!

    There were strict rules about wearing uniform (a continual battle about the length of skirts – this was the beginning of the ’60s and the mini-skirt era).  We were not to be seen eating ice-creams, or allowed to remove our berets, when in school uniform outside of school.  The head, Mr Gilbey, also told us not to fraternise with the pupils attending Attimore Hall – the secondary school built next to The High School!  I believe he was very upset that they would be sharing ‘our’ swimming pool. Times were very different then.

    By Carolyn Ward (26/04/2016)
  • I was at the High School 1958-1965, but am sorry to say I don’t recall Reginald Dover; maybe he concentrated on boys sports, football etc? I remember Mr Edwards and Miss Fowler. Miss Fowler was our main sports teacher, for swiming, athletics, tennis etc.

    By Skylarksue (30/03/2016)
  • My dad Reginald Dover was a teacher of P.E. and Games at The High School, Hern’s Lane from when it opened in 1956 to when it amalgamated in 1968.   His main base was outside on the school fields with his classes, and he really did love it.   The High School was for grammar school students, so they did a hell of a lot of coursework as well. It was our options for GCE O Level really, and CSE when it was introduced in 1965.

    I failed my ‘Scholarship’ exam in 1959, but instead I bribed the school headmaster to admit me a place and I will achieve well and do a little deal, so it worked.   I did GCE O Level at the school in 1964, and then after that I stayed on for two years to take GCE A Level in 1966.  When I stayed on to do A Level  I did start part-time work to fund me as well, so I wasn’t exactly a financial burden on my mum and dad who weren’t very well off either.

    Sadly my sister Diane didn’t attend the High School.   She took her ‘Scholarship’ exam in 1967, and she ended up going to Attimore Hall Secondary Modern School for a year until the two schools amalgamated, and then she went to Monks Walk School and did her CSE before leaving school at age 15 in 1971.   She missed a lot of happy times at the school I attended, and we had such good fun!!!

    By Ivan Dover (06/03/2016)