By Tom Hegginbotham (Year 10)
Priestnall School has been a vital source of education and friendship in the Heaton Moor area since its beginnings as Fylde Lodge in as early as 1893. In 123 years the school has obviously formed a great deal of history around it, and I am sure there is still more to come.
The school started as a two-classroom building with a gymnasium. Soon more buildings were added to accommodate students flocking in from Cheshire, Lancashire and Manchester. By 1921 the school had an intake of 94 students.
The school had a change in the years following the outbreak of war in 1939, including the building of air raid shelters and the end of school fees to attend the grammar school. Students were taught the procedures of an air raid or gas attack. 1958 marked the year of a second building being built to unify the Dollis Hill building – used for some classes and school dinners – and the Priestnall Road Building – used for all other classes and sport.
It wasn’t until 1974 that ‘Priestnall’ was officially founded, merging Fylde Lodge High School and Stockport High School for Girls. The school was still all female at the time of the merge and stayed so until 1987.
In more recent years Priestnall has produced several world-class athletes. Tennis player Liam Broady attended Priestnall from 2005 to 2010 and his sister Naomi (who is currently ranked world number ninety) also attended from 2001 to 2006. Another notable ex-student from Priestnall is Kate Richardson-Walsh. Kate attended Priestnall from 1991 to 1996 and last year won gold in the Rio Olympics in field hockey.