Ardwick Central School

1942 - 1952

The last 3 years of the war created staffing problems for the school. There were only 6 men left on staff. Miss Greer joined the staff in 1942 (staying for 34 years), Miss C. B. Pearson came in April 1945. In 1946 Mr. Holding resumed after his R. A. F. service.

There were some building changes during the war. The room in the basement known as the Music Room was converted into a kitchen and meals were served in the Gymnasium in two sittings, each of 150-200 children.

"Many of the official school holidays continued to be affected by the war. The Christmas holiday of 1942-1943 saw each member of staff, in company with all Manchester teachers, doing a one day duty at one of the schools (not Ardwick) kept open for the children of working mothers.

In 1944, the Butler Education Act was passed. It raised the school leaving age and once again resulted in school re-organizations. Ardwick Central School became a County Secondary School but was for the present time to keep its name. 


On March 1, 1946, the Minister of Education Miss Ellen (Nellie) Wilkinson, visited the school, her old school. She was said to have enthralled the children with the tales of her escapades and how she was often sent out of her class to stand by the right hand pillar outside the Headmaster's room. As a punishment she was often sent to join a boys' class which she regarded more of a pleasure than a punishment. Sadly on February 6, 1947, Ellen "Red Nellie" Wilkinson, from Coral Street in Ardwick, died at the age of 56.

The winter of 1946/47 was very severe and the combination of bad weather and industrial problems emphasized the need for an intense fuel economy in lighting and heating. By 13 February 1947, no electricity or gas could be used except for cooking at midday in school. In June 1947 Mr. Peake was awarded an O. B. E. in the Birthday Honours List.

Mr. Peake and the prefects in 1948

Mr. Peake and the prefects 1948

In 1948 a refrigerator and potato peeler were installed in the kitchen.

In March 1948 the Director General of Education for New South Wales sent a gift to the school. It was a photograph of Sydney Cricket Club autographed by famous Australian cricketers. The gift was delivered to the school by Don Bradman, captain of the Australian touring team (see left). Flanking Bradman in the photograph are Ray Ayres and Brenda Waterhouse senior prefects.

In 1949 the school was painted inside and out and a new floor laid in the hall at Whitsuntide, 1950. That year Room 7, the classroom adjacent to the Head's office was selected to be a library but it was some time before the work was carried out.

In 1950 another gift arrived from Australia. This time it was a large stuffed albino Koala bear mounted in a glass case. On April 20, 1950, eleven cases of apples, another gift, this time from the Commonwealth Gift Centre in London arrived and all present received two each. Sufficient remained to give all present on the next day one more.

Mr. Mercer, former Headmaster, died in April 1951.

On May 24, 1951 it was announced that Mr. Peake was to receive an honorary degree of Master of Arts of the University of Manchester and it was to be conferred on him by Lord Woolton. Mr. Peake decided to retire at the end of the school year in 1951 and the school continued throughout the 1951-52 year under the leadership of Mr. H. E. Marchington until a new Headmaster was appointed.

At the end of the 1951-52 school year, changes were once again in the wind. The Ardwick Central School was to become the Ardwick Secondary Technical School in the coming September.