We begin this week’s journey into the past by returning to the latter part of the 17th century when Ralf Lowndes gave premises in Middlewich to serve as a Free Grammar School and School House.

The site was in the centre of the town, thought to be somewhere between Darlington Street and Tannery Road.

In 1710 Thomas Newall of Middlewich donated £20 to the great school specifically for the purpose of putting poor children through education.

In 1743 a church rate was levied so that the free school of the parish might be repaired by the churchwarden.

In 1796 Rev George Leigh, who was curate of the church, acted as master of the school.

During the 1800s the curate decided to withdraw from the school and during the following years Ralph and John Lowndes of Lea Hall, Wimboldsley, took it upon themselves to appoint school staff to any role in the school that became vacant.

There were a number of school buildings shown on old maps within Middlewich, at the junction of Newton Bank, on Lewin Street and as mentioned the Grammar School.

In 1853 a new two storied building was erected in front of the Old Hall in Cow Lane, off Kinderton Street. The upper floor was for girls, the lower for boys, and the infants were in the black and white building known then as the Old Hall.

Pupils were transferred to a temporary accommodation of the Old Swan on Kinderton Street while construction took place.

We move forward to 1904 when it was decided by the Winsford and Middlewich Administrative Sub-Committee that a new secondary school was required in Middlewich to support the expanding population.

Both the Salvation Army Barracks and the Wesleyan Sunday School had been used as temporary sites due to the present national school being entirely unsatisfactory in providing suitable premises.

The school was to accommodate 800 scholars on a site generally known as Warcroft, now King Edward Street, at a cost of around £12,000 (or today’s equivalent of more than £1 million).

The building was faced with red Accrington pressed brick and Thompsons’ grey terracotta dressings.

Internally there were 16 classrooms provided. Great thought went into the design of the building with four separate entrances and playgrounds for junior boys/girls and senior boys/girls.

The building was set back from the road and a garden of shrubs were planted by Boosey’s nursery, who won a commission of £9 to undertake the work.

The building was constructed by Messrs Birchall Brothers to the design of Northwich architect Joseph Cawley. The building was considered as most handsome, and one of the most up-to-date schools in the district.

The school was opened by benefactor, Sir John Brunner, on October 22, 1906. To celebrate the opening a grand luncheon was held at the town hall with over 170 attendees.

Following the luncheon Sir John was conveyed by carriage to the new school where he gave the following speech as he unlocked the front door: “I am very pleased indeed to be able to come to Middlewich to take part on this very pleasing occasion.

"I hope that many of those who are standing before me today will look back on this day October 22, 1906, as the beginning of a very happy time and a time which will be to the benefit of all.”

He then attended a ceremony in the central hall of the school marking the occasion in front of several hundred of the school children and parents who were assembled there.

The school has gone through many changes over recent years although a large part of the original structure remains in use, and it provides education for around 700 pupils. It has always had a good reputation in Mid Cheshire for producing well-educated young people.