How UCTC has grown in 60 years

The first students to attend what is now Uckfield Community Technology College were taught on what was effectively a building site.UCTC logo 1

Building took place in austerity Britain with the country still struggling to overcome the effects of World War II.

Construction took place in 1951 and 1952 with the school officially opened on October 15, 1953, by Lord Rupert Nevill.

He lived at Uckfield House (at the top of what is now the Manor Park Estate in the vicinity of the water tower) and the school and House shared the same entrance road – Lime Tree Avenue.

In contrast to the relatively relaxed re-dedication ceremony 60 years-to-the-day later, the opening appears to have been a much more formal occasion – fitting of the times.

The programme for the opening of Uckfield County Secondary School  showed: “Mrs J. Gow, J.P., the Chairman of the East Sussex Education Committee, in the Chair.”

Songs by the School were Flocks May Graze in Tranquil Safety, Come You Not from Newcastle and I Vow to Thee My Country.

The dedicatory prayer was given by the Archdeacon of Lewes, the Ven J. H., Morrell.

In another indication of the formality of the occasion, “Admiral R.B. Darke, C.B., D.S.O., vice-chairman of the Uckfield Rural District Council to propose a vote of thanks to the chairman for presiding.”

God Save The Queen was sung at the end.

Uckfield secondary school, and Heathfield, were the first secondary modern schools purpose-built by East Sussex County Council under the requirements of the 1944 Education Act.

Uckfield was designed along the lines of a village college (the population of Uckfield was 4,000 at this time) and the plan was to educate about 450 students. This was achieved by the beginning of the 1960s. It now caters for 1,700.

The first headmaster was Harold Pearmain, supported by Senior Master Brian Edwards and Senior Mistress, Tania Modrak. The uniform was a brown colour.

The first school governors  were chaired by Mr C. F. Markham, a former school inspector, and included Lord Rupert Nevill, on whose estate the school was built, and the Rector of Uckfield, the Rev Philip Hayllar.

Students came to the school from Uckfield and surrounding villages, just as they do today.

In the first 60 years there have been just five headteachers (now called principals): Harold Pearmain was followed by Malcolm Elliman, David Rebbitt, Craig Pamphilon and the current principal, Hugh Hennebry.

*Uckfield House has long disappeared and its grounds and estate became the Manor Park Estate which was given planning permission in 1964.

The Queen was a regular visitor to Uckfield House in a private capacity.

The Manor Park Estate contains hints of the past in its street names: Queen’s Approach, for example.

Much of the information for this article was taken from the Uckfield Community Technology College programme for the re-dedication ceremony, whose copyright is acknowledged.

See also:

Lord Abergavenny at UCTC re-dedication ceremony

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