As Dudley Council was shutting the doors on the former Cradley County Secondary School, former pupils Derek Hill and Richard Moore were thinking about organising a reunion for the year group that attended 1956 - 1960.
Their efforts were rewarded on 1st October 2010 when the reunion of the pupils who left in 1960, and some of the teachers from that era, took place.
The Reunion was held at 'The Laurels', Windmill Hill. It was attended and enjoyed by over 80 past pupils and partners and four teachers and their partners. A surplus of £120 was donated to the Mary Stevens Hospice.
The teachers that attended were John Wheeler (who taught PE and games) and his wife Iris, Geoffrey Smith (who taught Art) and his wife Gloria, Barbara Drew (who taught Biology) and her husband Cecil and Geoffrey Hodgetts (who taught some of us at Colley Lane) and his wife Gretta.
One sobering fact that came to light was of the 82 ex-pupils traced 16 had died.
Thanks to Richard Moore, one of the organisers of the reunion event, we are able to publish below eight of the old photos they displayed at the reunion. The first picture of all the staff is probably from 1954, which was before the class of 1956-1960 started at the school, but most of the teachers were still there for the whole of their time at the school. The remainder of the photos are of the reunion event itself.
Cradley High School
Homer Hill Secondary Modern School was built to serve Cradley in 1939, and the first term started just before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1972, a reorganisation of education in Halesowen saw 5-7 infant, 7-11 junior and 11-16/18 secondary schools replaced by 5-9 first, 9-13 middle and 13-16/18 secondary schools. The school closed and the buildings were re-occupied by Homer Hill Middle School.
This system was scrapped in September 1982 on the reintroduction of the traditional age ranges in Halesowen. Homer Hill Middle School was consequently closed and reorganised into Cradley High School, an 11-16 comprehensive school. The school was rebuilt between 1987 and 1992, with the fully completed new school being opened on 5 June 1992.
But Cradley High was to be shortlived. In 2004 an education report said there were no spare places in Halesowen and that Halesowen schools were over subscribed. The future of Cradley High School seemed secure. Moreover, in July 2006 Dudley Council re-assured Cradley people at a meeting of Halesowen Area Committee that a proposal to close Cradley High due to falling pupil numbers is not "a done deal". That was the death knell!
Two years later, after a hard-fought campaign by the Save Cradley High Action Group to keep it open, Homer Hill High School closed in July 2008.
The school gained one of the top GCSE results in the borough in the year 2005-06 and children from all three primary schools in Cradley now have to travel elsewhere for their secondary education.
The Rose and The Ring, a satirical work ('A Fireside Pantomime') written by William Makepeace Thackeray (1854), set in the fictional countries of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary. The story revolves around the lives and fortunes of four young royal cousins. It criticises the attitudes of the monarchy and those at the top of society and challenges their ideals of beauty and marriage.