top of page

Knowle and Totterdown Local History Society

Cleve House School Research

2018 saw Cleve House School's 80th birthday and through the popular local community news paper, South Bristol Voice, invited local people to join their celebrations. Shirley and I, as past pupils and intrigued to see how things had changed, reserved places at their birthday party which was to include a tour round the school.


We were met by the new Head, Craig Wardle, and soon allotted to our host for the afternoon, Freddy, a fine young man from year 6. We’d hardly started when we bumped into Peter Cleave, another of our K&T crowd with Cleve House School links so we joined forces and followed Freddy in a wonderful tour of the school.


Although much had changed:  extended; modernised; rebuilt and incorporated, so much of the soul of the school that we remembered lingered. The rooms were totally changed from the stark front facing layout of our past but the little desks, in pairs with inkwell holes, were still useful places for the current scholars to use. So nice that one small part of my history has been saved!

CHS Old school desks

Freddy gave us a marvellous tour – his parents must be rightly proud.


After the tour there was a concert given by the entire school – singing  a song written especially for the school which told us how proud and inspired they were to be part of Cleve House.

CHS hall

Head teacher, Craig Wardle joined us and we shared our memories with him. He was interested in hearing about our experiences at the school (yes: good AND bad!) and is keen to document the school’s history for the benefit of both the pupils and for the local community.  Well! Red Rags and Bulls come to mind!


So Peter, Shirley & Jan agreed that we’d be interested in helping to research and document the school’s history.  A recent committee meeting agreed that it was a valuable project to run, and since we had volunteers in place (we “three”) ....  we were given the go-ahead kick things off.

The school hall was laid out for a banquet for the children – long tables with places set.  The three of us enjoyed tea in the summer sun and as the pupils finished their sandwiches and cake, we found ourselves surrounded by football matches, skipping and all sorts.

We know that a lot of our members have had some involvement with Cleve House School over the years: Peter Read, and Gary & Hilary, for instance, sent their children there and so we will have access to some more recent memories. Margaret Scott was a teacher there for a while and so will hopefully bring information from her perspective.


We’re hoping to collect memories and information about the school to build a picture of the people involved in its life: teachers, pupils and any other people connected such as the “Rose bus driver” and office staff.  We’ll be looking for local people to donate copies of photos with as much supporting information as they can remember. Most people will remember teachers' names and some playmates too. Often that can be linked to a “class year” with which can start to build a view of the structure of the school, especially in its early years, while people are still around to share their memories.


So, if you have any photos you can let us copy, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us on   Make sure you let us know who you are in the photo and any of the friends that you remember and recognise....even part, or guessed names will be helpful to piece things together if that’s all you remember. The school does have a very old register with lists of past pupils indexed by surname and without dates of enrolment so we can search through that to find matches.


Please ask you family and friends if they have photos – the more, the better.  Any memories you’d like to share would be brilliant. Thank you.



copyright 2018 Knowle & Totterdown Local History Society

bottom of page