Binley Park History, Part 3

The Binley Park Years

This page is based on a series of articles in the Coventry Evening Telegraph and memories of former pupils.. Thanks go to Eva Swap (formerly Stephenson/Cheung) for visiting the CET office and Coventry Central Library Archive.

The second phase of building took place in the early 1960’s. This compromised the addition of two more house blocks, namely Bardsley/Hunt and Whittle/Robson, High Block, Music Block and a Teachers Staff Room. Further additions later in the School’s life were another House block – Cheshire/Constantine, a Sixth Form Block, and a Sports Hall.

In the early years of the Schools life, an attempt was made by Mr. Rumble and his Staff to rename the Binley to Coombe Park Secondary Comprehensive School, feeling it appropriate to the area and land upon which it was built. However, the Education Committee led by Alderman Stringer disagreed, feeling “It is a complete mistake to name a school in Binley by any other name”

Other significant events to happen in those early years were the visit by some of the people after whom the houses were named. John Hunt, Flora Robson and Gladys Aylward amongst them.  Robson introduced a Christmas concert and read Bible passages, whilst Hunt spoke to pupils about the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ Gold award scheme.
Binley also played host to the Art Council’s “Opera for all”, when a performance of ‘La Boheme’ was performed in front of 400 guests. Quite a feat considering the only music was provided by a single pianist. The performers stayed overnight with members of staff.

1975 saw Binley’s first Headmaster William Rumble retire, handing over to the imposing figure of Richard Harris. See the Page ‘House Heads’ for more details.

In 1976, BPCS played host to Cliff Richard, who came to Binley to talk about his work with the Gospel. There was much excitement amongst pupils, members of the Sixth Form (myself included) lined the entrance hall as he was escorted to the stage. The fifth form weren’t allowed to attend, allegedly for fear of mis-behaving. The ‘performance’ took the form of an Interview by Mr. Williams, and a couple of Gospel songs by Cliff.

Who can forget the numerous skirmishes with Caludon Castle school, who would send a legion of lads up to Binley’s field for a scrap, many of you recall Mr. Bale intervening, and also Mr. Harris driving his Rover on to the field in an attempt to get between the rival groups. I seem to recall similar occurrences between Binley Girls and Lyng Hall.

In September 1989, just one year before the closure, fire swept through the Sports Hall. Firemen fought to contain the blaze, so it would not spread to the remainder of the School. The changing rooms were also damaged, and the cost was placed in hundreds of Thousands. It is believed to have been an Arson attack, youths having been seen running from the site. It was the second serious fire in under a year, following a blaze in one of the house blocks