Headteacher’s blog: Local History

History – is what you need to know about the past to help inform the present and to understand the future. History can be personal, local, national and international.

May is Local and Community History month.

The school has existed in different guises since 1882 – but Urmston Grammar was born in 1923 – so in five years we will be celebrating the centenary of the school – not a celebration of the bricks and mortar; it’s a celebration of our students who have made this school such a special place .

Last year we launched our alumni website and facebook page – over 500 have subscribed to the website and nearly 2000 are part of our facebook group. It is great to hear how our ex-students are progressing and how they valued their time at our school.

And we are getting more and more of our ex-students to come back into their school – to share their personal histories with our current students.

Many of you will be familiar with Trafford General Hospital, or as it was called at the time – Park Hospital. On 5 July 1948, it became the first hospital in the world to offer free healthcare to all and this year we are celebrating 70 years since the start of the NHS. Students from Year 12 and the main school have been making history by contributing to the “Urmston in Bloom” scheme by creating 2 panels for a mural on Higher Road, in Urmston.

They are using waterproof paints and plywood panels to recreate two photos taken by local photographer (Neil Roland). The school’s work will be credited on a sponsorship plaque, mounted next to the mural, as part of the celebrations.

But sometimes our history is one of tragedy. Last year in our city – on the 22 May, at the end of the concert by Ariana Grande, there was a terrorist attack.

22 people were killed and 250 were injured. Whilst this is a part of our history that is upsetting for those personally involved and for the wider community – much good has come from the aftermath of that dreadful night which epitomised Manchester’s spirit of togetherness. On Tuesday afternoon, Urmston Grammar fell silent in a minute’s tribute to the people who died and to remember those who were injured.

Last year Tony Walsh performed the ‘This is The Place’ poem at the vigil at Manchester Town Hall, in front of thousands of people gathered in Albert Square and millions of people across the world on TV. I am sure many of you have seen or heard him reading the poem.

I would like share his words, as for me, they capture the feelings of sadness, shared history and pride that we have for our city and  the pride we feel for our communities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWMOl2_viYo


Tony Walsh

This is the place in the North West of England

It’s ace, it’s the best and the songs that we sing

From the stands, from our bands set the whole planet shaking

Our inventions are legends! There’s now’t we can’t make and

So we make brilliant music. We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands


And we make things from steel and we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten

And we make you at home and we make you feel welcome

And we make summat happen, we can’t seem to help it


And if you’re looking for history then yes, we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself


And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love. Go on!

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe it


that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And that this the place where a Manchester girl

Name of Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side

Led a Suffragette City with sisterhood pride


And this is the place with appliance of science

We’re on it, atomic, we strut with defiance

In the face of a challenge we always stand tall

Mancunians in union delivered it all


Such as housing and libraries, and health, education

And unions and co-ops, the first railway station

So we’re sorry! Bear with us! We invented commuters!

But we hope you forgive us – we invented computers!


And this is the place Henry Royce strolled with Rolls

And we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own Northern Soul

And so this is the place to do business, then dance

Where go-getters and goal setters know they’ve a chance

And this is the place where we first played as kids

And me Mam lived and died here, she loved it she did


And this is the place where our folks came to work

Where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt

And they built us a city. They built us these towns

And they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound

Of the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves

They were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves


And they left us a spirit, they left us a vibe

The Mancunian Way to survive and to thrive

And to work and to build, to connect and create and

Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great


And so this is the place now we’ve kids of our own

Some are born here, some drawn here but we all call it home

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat

All the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets


Because this is a place that has been through some hard times

Oppressions, recessions, depressions and dark times

But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit

Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics


And there’s hard times again in these streets of our city

But we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity

Because this a place where we stand strong together

With a smile on our face, Mancunians Forever


Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes

Because this is the place that’s a part of our bones

‘Cos Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact

That this is the place. We should give something back.


Always remember. Never forget.  Forever Manchester.




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