St Joseph’s school appeals for pictures of the past
STAFF at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, in Devizes, are appealing for old photographs for an event to celebrate the school’s 150th anniversary.
Past pupils and staff are invited to attend the celebrations on Thursday, February 27.
The day will start at 9am with coffee in the school hall, followed by a look back at the school’s past at 9.30am and Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception next door at 10.30am.
Declan Lang, the Bishop of Clifton will be attending, and will be staying on for a buffet lunch at noon, to which the community are also invited.
Tekla Mainwaring, the school’s communications officer, said: “We are having a marquee in the grounds of our school and the day will be open to our whole parish.
“We would like former staff and pupils to come along and join in and share their memories. We plan to have an exhibition and are looking to borrow old photos of the school.
“When I was the school secretary we had people in their eighties and nineties coming in and saying they used to go to the school or bought a brick.
She said St Joseph’s is held in high esteem by many people in Devizes.
She said: “People still come and take photos of the school because they used to go there and it’s nice to have such history.
“We would be grateful if people have old photos that they would let us have for the day.
“They will need to write their name and address on the back of their photos so we can return them. It would also be helpful if people who wish to attend could call the school office on (01380) 723084.”
Pupils at the school are heavily involved in the celebration event and they will be playing music, doing readings and saying prayers during the service.
Afterwards they will have a picnic.
The school’s history dates back to 1864 when the Sisters of the teaching order of St Joseph of Annecy opened a Roman Catholic ‘poor school’ in an improvised Roman Catholic chapel in Monday Market Street.
Early in 1865 the school, with 14 pupils, moved to the new church at St Joseph’s Place and continued to be held in the church until 1868.
In that year a one-class schoolroom was provided to the west of the church.
The school has been called St Joseph’s since at least 1886 and by 1893 it had 96 pupils.
In 1901 an infants’ room was built and from 1904 there was a separate infants’ department under a separate headteacher.
In 1930 a new school for 240 children was built alongside the existing one and by 1950 there were 92 infants and 183 juniors.
In 1952 Aided status was granted and in 1970 the buildings were further enlarged. In 2003 the old and new school buildings were joined together to form one large unit.