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Pilgrim Upper School Brickhill

Pilgrim School in 1962 [PY/PH13/3]
Pilgrim School in 1962 [PY/PH13/3]

Pilgrim Selective Secondary School opened in 1962. The Education Act of 1944 had established the principle of County Primary Schools for children up to the age of 11, at which time they took an examination to determine the nature of the secondary school they would attend until they were 15, the most academically able going to grammar schools, the rest to secondary or secondary modern schools. Pilgrim was, in effect, a grammar school, though never officially named one.

In the early 1970s education in Bedfordshire changed significantly to a new comprehensive education model did away with the 11+ examination and grammar schools and introduced a tier of school between the old County Primary and County Secondary Schools. Thus Lower Schools now taught children aged 4 to 9, Middle Schools from 9 to 13 and Upper Schools from 13 onwards. Pilgrim duly became a non-selective upper school.

In 1986 Pilgrim merged with John Howard Upper School in Biddenham to form the new Biddenham Upper School, the former Pilgrim campus being known as Biddenham Upper School Brickhill Site. However the site closed completely in 1988 and was used for a number of different purposes. At the time of writing [2017] the site contains the offices of the registrar of births, marriages and deaths as well as Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory school, a private school for children up to the age of seven run by the Harpur Trust.

The following list gives all the sources relating to Pilgrim School held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service. Due to the terms of the Data Protection Act records containing personal details of living individuals will be closed in total, or in part, depending on the nature of the information. Note: Bedfordshire Archive and Record Service used to hold extensive records from Pilgrim [SDBedfordPilgrim], including many pupil records, but these were permanently withdrawn by Biddenham Upper School in 1990 and their whereabouts are now unknown.

  • CA2/76: building contract: 1960-1962;
  • CA2/113: school building file: 1960-1967;
  • PY/PH13/1-13: exterior and interior photographs during construction and after completion: 1960-1963;
  • CA7/9: tree-planting scheme: 1963-1964;
  • CA8/243: building maintenance file: 1965-1975;
  • E/CU1/1/1: Pilgrim School report on proposed school curriculum: 1967;
  • CA7/16L extensions file: 1969-1971;
  • EBGM6: Bedford Borough school governors’ minutes: 1970-1974;
  • CA2/605: school extension file: 1970-1975;
  • CA8/189: building maintenance file: 1972;
  • Z160/467-468: programme and ticket for prize-giving and tenth anniversary celebrations: 1972;
  • Z160/45: programme for autumn fair: 1973;
  • E/CU4/1/2: correspondence file on school choir: 1974-1977;
  • SGM46/1: school governors’ minutes: 1974-1984;
  • X494/64/23: profile of George Randall, retiring headmaster: 1975;
  • Z912/9(7): programme for performance of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion: 1975;
  • CA8/378: building maintenance file: 1975-1978;
  • E/CU4/1/3: school choir giving concert in aid of blindness prevention: 1977;
  • CA8/525: building maintenance file: 1978-1979;
  • E/OL1/1/4: report on headteacher’s link visit to Cyprus: 1979;
  • CA8/790: buildings maintenance file: 1979-1982;
  • CA10/8: maintenance contract for replacement boiler house: 1980;
  • CA10/18-19: heating files: 1980;
  • E/TE3/2: return of teaching staff: 1981;
  • E/OL1/1/5: financial accounts of exchange visit to Paphos on Cyprus : 1981;
  • E/SA2/4/1: file on school buildings and closure of school premises: 1982-1988;
  • E/SC/B-Pil1-7: closure of the school: 1982-1987;
  • SGM46/3: school governors’ minutes: 1984-1986;
  • E/TE3/7: return of teaching staff: 1986;
  • X494/41/10: Labour Party opposition to school closure: 1986;
  • CC/HS3/4/1: health and safety matters: 1986;
  • SGM46/5: school governors’ minutes: 1986-1988;
  • E/CU4/5/3: discussion of the use of school buildings by Bedfordshire Youth Theatre and Bedfordshire Youth Opera Group: 1988;
  • SGM59/2: petition requesting the continuing use of the Pilgrim rather than the John Howard Upper School site: 1988;
  • SGM59/3: refusal of parents to send their children to Biddenham Upper School: 1988;
  • X337/54/1: photographs and letters regarding school rowing club: 1989-1990.