In July, Jesse Gray Primary School celebrated its 70th anniversary. It opened fully in January 1952, although a few children attended from the previous September while the building was being completed. It served the area in the south of West Bridgford, west of the railway line. After the school was built, houses were later erected at the southern ends of Repton, Harrow and Musters Road, and so it was soon full.
The site at the south end of Musters Road was liable to subsidence so the school was built on concrete sections with ‘slip joint’ between them to lessen the effects of subsidence. Although there was some minor damage in later years, it was not as serious as it would have been without this construction.
The imposing entrance to the school led to the administrative area; opposite the entrance was the hall, which had a stage at the far end. Beyond was a dining room, which adjoined the kitchen, where mid-day meals were cooked. Two rows of classrooms were reached by corridors and each had access to an outside paved area. Cloakrooms were nearby. Above the entrance was a room originally named the ‘exhibition room’ which unsurprisingly soon became an extra classroom. Outside was a large tarmacadam playground and to the south of the building a large grass playing field.
Jesse Gray, after whom the school was named, was the headteacher of Trent Boulevard Junior School for 32 years and later of South County (Exchange Road, and now known as West Bridgford Junior) school. In 1929 he became a member of West Bridgford Urban District Council and served for 24 years.
The school was officially opened on 9th May 1953 by Martin Redmayne, then M.P. for Rushcliffe. The programme for the event named the school as Musters Road Primary but Mr Redmayne announced its new dedication to Jesse Gray, who was present at the ceremony. A photograph of Jesse Gray still hangs in the hall.
Over its 70 years the schools has earned a reputation for excellence and continues to provide education for the children in the area.
Written by West Bridgford & District History Society.
The West Bridgford and District Local History Society meets on Monday 5 December in the hall of the Musters Road Methodist Church. The meeting starts at 7.30pm and has a Christmas Theme with Ann Featherstone’s talk called “Season’s Greetings” after which there will be time to socialise over a mince pie. Visitors are welcome..