November update

32 Elisabeth Bowden - Amber Valley Camp 2

Our thanks go to Mr.Barrie Sheard who sent us the following contribution……

I noticed the request on your website for anything that might be of interest to the ALRS.
May I introduce myself, I am the archivist of the Old Derbeian Society which was formed for all former pupils for the Derby Grammar School in 1911.

The picture here is from the archives of The Old Derbeian Society, and was taken in 1940.
You may not know this but on 2nd September 1939 a good proportion of the pupils and masters (a term used in those days for teachers) were evacuated first to Overton Hall and then in June 1940 to the newly built Amber Valley Camp. This remained for the whole of WWII as the school including dormitories, classrooms, dining room, kitchen for all the pupils at Derby Grammar School at that time. You can imagine every time a train went by all the pupils turned their heads and watched from the classrooms down below the camp, much to the annoyance of the masters!
The actual narrow gauge railway lines were outside the boundary of the school land but could be easily viewed from some of the classrooms.
They remained there until WWII came to its conclusion and that term ended in July 1945. The whole school returned to Derby and started at St. Helen’s House in King Street in Derby.
The reason I am writing is to enclose a colour photograph (sadly very much out of focus) for your attention. From records it appears to have been taken sometime from September 1939 to December 1940.
The reason we can date it is that we also have a colour movie film taken by one of the masters during those dates and on it there are a few separate movie shots for a few seconds showing the engine and wagons. Again not clearly but certainly better than nothing.

Mr Sheard goes on to mention ;

Derby Grammar School as a Boarding School was at Amber Valley Camp as evacuees for the whole of WWII and that the whole of the valley where the railway line and camp was situated are now all covered by the Ogston Reservoir built in the 1970’s by Severn Trent Water. The only building left that is still in place was the School Dining Room, Masters’ Common Room and Sweet Shop (now the Clubhouse of Ogston Sailing Club). All the dormitories, classrooms, stores having been demolished.

An interesting aside is that the school was evacuated on Friday and Saturday 1st and 2nd September 1939, WWII wasn’t declared until Sunday 3rd September 1939 at 11 a.m.

Regards Barrie Sheard – archivist to Old Derbeian Society and at Derby School from 1945 to 1950.


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