Sixty-five years ago a school of two halves was opened in Southampton.

On one side of Glen Eyre School, the girls undertook their education, while on the other side were the boys.

The schools occupied a site of ten acres on Violet Road, Bassett and were the sixth and seventh to be opened by the Southampton Education Committee in its extensive post-war building programme.

The site was originally earmarked back in 1939 but building was postponed due to the Second World War. Budgets were forecasted at the time, but it cost more than originally expected because of the need to cater for the leaving age rising to 16.

The four-storey school was the first in Southampton to extend above three and took 20 months to build, costing nearly £182,000 with a further £18,000 used for furniture and equipment.

Although pupils began their education on the sight four months prior, Glen Eyre Boy’s School wasn’t officially opened until May 15, 1962. It was opened by Sir Reginald Biddle and was the first of the two brand new schools to undergo their official opening ceremony.

After meeting with several dignitaries, he was invited by the school’s head boy, Peter Noyce, to unveil a commemorative plaque.

Sir Biddle had a special message for the boys: “Always be civil, courteous and cheerful. Remember you carry with you the reputation and prestige of your school.”

After declaring the school open he wished good fortune to the headmaster and his staff, the boys and their parents.

One week later and local historian Elsie Sandell officially opened the girls’ school.

In a ceremony which strongly reflected that of the opening of the boys’ school, she was introduced to dignitaries before being invited to unveil a plaque by the head girl, Barbara Hunt.

Afterwards she delivered a speech, telling the girls about the local history of Glen Eyre and the first girls’ school to open in Southampton 200 years prior – a boarding school for young ladies at 79 High Street.

Mrs Sandell urged the girls to be loyal to the school, to the teachers and to the other girls, thinking of others and their needs.

In 1967 the two separate schools merged to become a co-ed centre for learning.

This re-envisioning of Glen Eyre Secondary school was seen as a step towards stamping out sexism and thought to be of good practice to the children.

Today Cantell Secondary School occupies the site and is an amalgamation of both Glen Eyre Secondary School and the once nearby Hampton Park Secondary


The merger took place in 1986 and saw places available for 1,200 pupils from around the local area.