Thoughts from the Headteacher’s office

Woodcote is 60

On 6th July 1957 John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met as teenagers at a garden fete in Liverpool, the 1957 football season ended with Stanley Matthews playing his final game for England at the age of 41 and earlier that year the TV series “The Sky at Night” with Patrick Moore was first broadcast.

Amongst all of this, a new high school was being constructed in Coulsdon by Surrey County Council. Woodcote High School was built as a state-of-the-art 1950’s brick built structure and designed by the prestigious architectural department of Surrey County Council.

This was the space-age! Just a few months after the official opening of Woodcote High School the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth. There was a post-war excitement and expectation that technology could solve all our problems.

Such technology was very much on display at Woodcote and the Guest of Honour Alderman Sir Cyril Black JP, MP, was shown the very latest typewriter which sprung majestically out of a desk!

Woodcote can, of course, trace its roots back further – a school has been in the area since 1908 when it opened as Smitham Bottom School, now the Adult Education Centre.

Over many years thousands of local students have benefitted from a dedicated team of teachers and support staff at Woodcote. During the last 60 years the school has grown from just a few hundred students to nearly 1200 and, over the years, has become increasingly oversubscribed.

The future looks bright for Woodcote. It remains one of the top performing schools in Croydon and continues to offer a huge range of extra-curricular activities. I’m sure that the next 60 years will be as successful as the last as Woodcote goes from strength to strength.

Woodcote High School was opened on 5th July 1957 on this Meadow Rise site by Sir Cyril Wilson Black.

Sir Cyril served as a Justice of the Peace and Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Greater London. He was Chairman of Surrey County Council from 1950 to 1964 during which time he opened Woodcote High School. He served as Mayor of Merton from 1966 to 1967. And was knighted in 1959.

Sir Cyril was elected as a Conservative Party Member of the House of Commons at the 1950 General Election for the Wimbledon constituency. He held the seat until his retirement at the 1970 general election.

During his life he was Chairman of Beaumont Properties Ltd, Chairman of the Temperance Permanent Building Society, Chairman of M. F. North and Chairman of the London Shop Property Trust.

He was President of Wimbledon F.C. now AFC Wimbledon and his brother Sidney was the chairman of the club.

He died 29 October 1991. Sir Cyril Black Way in Wimbledon is named after him.