A large full-length Burwood Park School display noticeboard with gilt lettering showed the list of Head Boys, Captains of Football, Captains of Cricket and Victor Ludorum holders of the title from 1955/56 to 1987/88. It came to the Deaf Museum with a large number of other materials when the school closed in 1991. The Board is doubly used as an exhibit as well as a means of partitioning in the Museum.
What was Burwood Park School?
The Burwood Park School for boys was opened in 1955. It came about when Lady Patricia Lennox-Boyd heard from a friend that her sister, Mrs. Heather Long, had a deaf son Michael who was home tutored as a place could not be found for him in a suitable secondary school. Lady Patricia Lennox-Boyd then realised that there would be many other boys in a similar position so she consulted Professor and Lady Ewing of Manchester University, who advised on the preparations of founding a deaf school. The Guinness Family Trust owned the mansion in Burwood Park, Walton – on-Thames, Surrey, which was then occupied by the Eagle Star Insurance Company. This building and its grounds were thought suitable for conversion into a Secondary School for the Deaf. The school opened on 19th September 1955, with an intake of 35 boys aged from 11 to 16 from across the British Isles. Mr William E. Wood was the first Headmaster.
In 1959 the number of pupils rose to 45 boys. Over the years attempts were made to include girls, but until Woodford School closed in 1991 the Ministry of Education felt that this was not appropriate. When Mr Wood retired in 1976, Mr Paul Green succeeded him. Then in 1981 Mr Desmond Thomas, who was then the Deputy Head, became Headmaster.
Mr Thomas retired in the summer of 1986 and Mr Michael Kell became Headmaster. He introduced a new plan for the school which involved bringing in girls. The Ministry of Education finally allowed the school to take in girls when Sir Winston Churchill School for the Deaf [formerly Woodford Green School] closed in 1991 and the number of pupils rose to 57, the highest ever. When the school suddenly closed in December 1996 without or with very little notice, the number of pupils at school was 44 with 14 girls.