Soham Grammar School / Beechurst

Soham Grammar School

1878 AD Soham Grammar School is Founded

The all boys Grammar School had its origins in the Soham Free School founded in 1686. It became Soham Grammar school in 1878 and occupied premises on Churchgate Street. The existing Churchgate Street building dates from around 1880 and is built on an area called the Hempland and on the site of the original school.

1925 AD The Grammar School at Beechurst

In 1925 the Grammar School had moved into the former private mansion, Beechurst, built in 1900 by Charles Morbey. Beechurst was the finest house in Soham with beautiful grounds, an arboretum and an orangery.

1958 AD Soham Village College Established

The Village College was officially opened on 16th October 1958 on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council by Sir Edward Boyle, Bart., M.P. It was built on a seventeen acre site next to Soham Lode known as the Moat Fields. When first opened it was a four form entry school with some 460 pupils aged from 11-15. The Warden was Mr. S.W.Percival, with eighteen assistant teachers, Edward Lang, a full time Tutor for Further Education and a full time Assistant Tutor and Youth leader. The school buildings incorporated a branch of the County Library and a Youth Club. Housing for the Warden, caretaker and some staff was provided on the site. Mr Riggulsford succeeded Mr Percival as Warden in September 1963 and the College continued to grow and had a very active community and arts programme under Adult Tutor, Norman Sykes.

1972 AD The Grammar School Closes

The biggest change, however, was in 1972 when the school leaving age was raised to 16 and a new comprehensive school was formed by merging the College with the ancient Soham Grammar School which occupied an adjoining site on Sand Street and whose playing fields were next to the College fields. Mr Riggulsford left Soham for a new Headship in Bristol and Mr A.E.Lawrance, a former Head of Mathematics at the Grammar School was appointed Warden.

Under Mr Lawrance the College gained a strong academic and sporting reputation. Over the years the County Library moved to new premises in the town, the Youth Club too had its own purpose built Lode Centre opened in 1991 next to a new community sports hall built on College land in 1984, and with the exception of housing for the caretaker, the staff houses were sold.
In 1985 after the retirement of Mr A.E.Lawrance, Dr. A.W.Bullock, as the new Principal master-minded an extensive building programme. This created a new Science block, Resource Centre, Staff Room and Music block helping to fill the space between the two former schools.

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