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The story of our school

Miss Mary Cross

This is Mary Cross.  In 1890 she gave 1,000 to help 'deaf and dumb' children of Preston and district.  Then she gave another 5,000 to build a school.

Mary Cross died before the school was opened.

The foundation stone from the old school.

The foundation stone of The Cross Deaf and Dumb School was laid on October 1st 1892 by the Earl of Lathom.

From the Head's Log Book (28.7.1894)

28.7.94 Formal opening of the Cross Deaf + Dumb School by the Earl of Derby....

The Cross Deaf and Dumb School  
was opened on July 28th 1894 by the Earl of Derby. 

The school started with 16 pupils.  

The first headmaster was called Mr J G Shaw.  He was head for 28 years until 1922.

From the Head's Log Book (8.5.1897)

8.5.97 Permission received from Her Majesty the Queen to prefix the title "Royal" to the name of the school, which is henceforth to be called "The Royal Cross School for the Deaf".

In May 1897 Queen Victoria gave the school the title 'Royal'.  

A stamp showing Queen Victoria in 1837 and 1897

The new name was 
'The Royal Cross School for the Deaf'.

The old school building, Brockholes Brow, Preston

The Rawstorne family gave the school 8,500.  A big hall with 8 classrooms around it were built.  A hospital wing and dormitory were built. They bought more land.  The grounds and playing field were extended from 5 to 9 acres. The hall was called The Rawstorne Hall.  They were opened on 29 July 1899 by the Countess of Derby.

From the Head's Log Book (26.2.1904)

26.2.04 A school library containing 900 volumes (including teachers' reference books) was publically opened here yesterday by the rt. Rev. Bishop Thornton, as a memorial to the late Archdeacon Rawstone.  there is Reading room accommodation for 15 pupils, and the boys & girls will be allowed to use it in turn daily throughout the year, as well as being allowed to borrow books.

In 1904 a new library was opened.

Extract from a copy of a letter from The Royal Cross School for the Deaf 12th July 1946

...the school received a letter from the Ministry of Education from which this is an extract:-

Min. of Education, Ref:- M.586(1)/4 - Sept. 1945

".....the Minister.....hopes that the Managers of the Royal Cross School fro the Deaf, Preston,...will give immediate consideration to the question of providing immediate consideration to the question of providing additional accommodation to meet urgent needs.  It is suggested...provision should be made for some 50 - 60 extra children..."

In 1945 the Minister of Education asked Royal Cross School for the Deaf to take 50 -60 more children.  

The school bought Ribby Hall on the Preston-Blackpool Road on 1st July 1946. 

Ribby Hall was opened in 1948 when building alterations were finished. 

It started with a group of boys aged 9 to 11.

Extract from the Board of Management Report for the year 1948-49

"the increase in numbers is creating new problems for the Board, who are particularly concerned with the care and education of the very young children aged from 3 to 6 years, who are coming to the School, and the Board will probably now have to consider the formation of some special Infants School so as to provide for the special needs of the very young pupils"

In July 1951 Wilmar Lodge, Blackburn was bought.  It was a nursery school for 3-5 year olds.

Planned alterations to the school in Preston January 1963

The school planned to close Ribby Hall and Wilmar Lodge.

At the Preston school, Rawstorne Hall was pulled down.  Residential hostels, a nursery, gym, dining hall, kitchen, assembly hall and swimming pool were built.

Aerial photograph after building work completed

Work was finished in 1966.

The Royal Cross School for the Deaf School Magazine
Autumn 1968

'The Wilmar Lodge property was sold...We would like to pay a special tribute to all those connected with the Infant School during the seventeen years of its existence...'

Spring 1969
'News from Ribby Hall

Ribby Hall ahs been a Branch School since 1947, and over 300 pupils have passed through its doors during those 22 years......We shall miss the beautiful Ribby grounds...The time has come to say "Good bye" to Ribby Hall as a school.'

Wilmar Lodge closed in 1968.  The children moved to the new nursery called Wilmar House.

Ribby Hall closed in 1969.


Newsletter July 1990

"...In September 1990 the new school the Royal Cross Primary School will open in Lea."

Evening Post, Monday September 3, 1990

'...The senior pupils will attend a new unit at Ashton High School and the new royal Cross Primary School for the Deaf will cater for pupils aged three to 11...

In January, we will be opening a language disordered unit for hearing children... '


In 1990 the old residential school closed.  

A new primary school opened in Ashton.  It is a day school.  The oldest pupils are 11 years old.

The secondary aged children from Royal Cross School went to Ashton High School.

The name changed to
Royal Cross Primary School for Deaf Children

RCPS Newsletter October 1997

'The building alterations were just about completed over the summer break...The alterations have made a real difference...We now have a lot more storage space and can move around the school without interrupting neighbouring classes.  Its great!...'

July 1997

Building work.  A corridor is made through the school.  A new library, medical room and waiting area is built.  More storage areas are built.

Make a timeline.  


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Copyright Wendy Pallant 2001, 2002