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This the Bentham Grammar School digital archive.
Three BGS former pupils who met in form 2A Summer Term 1952 at around about 12 years old, initiated the development of this website to display the hundreds of photographs that have been collected over the years. At launch March 2021 they are in their early eighties.
Ian Crawshaw collected school related photos for years, Alan Bowdin proposed a photo web site and Joan nee Riding’s son Mike Lowndes was co-opted into web site development. With the help of various other contributions, including some twelve years of Crescent magazines from Jean nee Lonsdale, and much dedication from Alan we are at last able to share the results.
What period is covered?
It currently starts with the move to the Old Rectory site in Low Bentham, purchased on 9th July 1947 and continues up until 1962. Also included are photos of the same 1950s alumni at frequent reunions over the years, between 1964 and 2019 (so far!).
How have the entries been displayed?
Most years have a dedicated year in the navigaton menu, whence they are further divided into Crescent, Annual School Photographs, Prospectus and for want of a better expression, others.
For some years with low numbers of photographs, all have been grouped together.
Crescent magazines have been photographed in their entirety, including the advertisements, which in themselves form an interesting piece of history.
Annual school photographs are from 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956. We believe there was no 1952 annual school photograph.
These complete annual photos of 226 to 276 people per photo makes it difficult to identify individuals, so they have been sliced into sections. This has enabled optimum sizes, and three versions have been produced. The original, followed by one with identity labels, then a typed page of names simulating their position. You will notice that some just have a number for the person, so your help is requested to overcome our loss of memory. The system has ample capacity for later annual photos to be included, including1952 if we are wrong and it does exist.
Unfortunately in the Crescent magazine, hardly any names were applied to the photographs. To help visually, each photograph has been reproduced to a full page size and again followed by a page with names and numbers. The caption format: photo number, caption number (where a name is unkown), photo reference, date, description.Where there are fewer than five people the photo title includes their names.
Parallel with the web site there is a Visual Index (PDF), where every named entry is identified and shown in alpha surname order. It is followed by all those unnamed (just a number) and finally by all other photos where no names are required. The introduction to the Visual Index provides more details.
How to access?
There is no harm in browsing and seeing what turns up, or for the more methodical, a number of alternatives are available.
Name Index via the menu on the home page, shows everybody identified thus far in alpha surname order.
Visual Index provides all the entries at launch in alpha surname order.
Yearly into the main galleries: Crescent, Prospectus and others.
To help provide some logic, the photo number (the first part of the description) and the date are in chronological order. Provision has also been made for your welcomed additional entries to be fitted into their proper date order.
Crescent magazines were initially published at the end of the Spring term just before Good Friday. This means that activities could relate to the start of the previous Summer Term, but at least it attempts to provide a chronological order.
Identifying those not named
Annual school photographs and Crescent magazines did not name people, so your help here is vital.
Each unnamed person has been given a unique number on a yellow background to identify them. Boys in blue, girls red, Staff black and Visitors as adults also in black, but on a blue background.
We are relieved to have been able to name all the Staff!
If you recognise somebody with a number, or if you think someone has been incorrecctly identified, please use the comments box which you will find below every photograph, or email your comments to Joan (Riding) firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the person number if they are unknown.
All three instigators are approaching their 82nd birthdays so it is sensible for someone who started at BGS, say 1957 onward, to join the team with a view to continue the process. A modest knowledge of Excel is needed to run the background data and any help will be readily given: note that the Apple ‘Numbers’ spreadsheet app. is not able to cope with all the entries we already possess.
Click on Links in the 'About BGS' menu to see links to other information about BGS.
The school since living memory has a strong Old Scholars association with organised reunions on a regular basis (pandemics notwithstanding). It is as a result of this enthusiasm for reuniting with school friends, that we, the ex-pupils have accumulated a very large collection of photographs.
This is just the beginning of 'The Photographic Record of Bentham Grammar School' and we, the founders, hope it will develop until it is complete. Only another forty years to go.