The school has been operating from two sites since it went comprehensive in 1967. From 1967 to 2010 the Upper School on the Great Cambridge Road occupied the former Grammar School site opened in 1931 and accommodated years 10 and 11 (4th and 5th Years) plus years 12 and 13 (6th Form). The building was designed by W.T. Curtis and is said to have been 'much altered' in 1962 and extended in 1968. From September 2010 the school accommodates pupils from all years and is known as the Cambridge Campus.
I attended the school from 1977 to 1981 and have had to write using my somewhat hazy recollections as a starting point. For this page 'was' will refer to the school buildings as they were during that time with any previous differences highlighted (subject to someone supplying the information). A 'new' building could really have been built any time from my time onwards, though it seems the most obvious one actually dates from about 1999.
The main buildings have a pretty much symmetrical layout (see this aerial view). The west side is dominated by the school hall with the bell tower above it. The central entrance was only ever used for special occasions and led into a single storey corridor alongside the hall.
To the south and north were staircases and alongside them were entrances for staff and sixth formers. At the north end there were the girls' cloakroom and toilets and above them the offices and staff rooms for female staff, the first aid room and the room for registers, plus the office of the head of the Upper School. At the south end there were the offices and staff rooms for male staff, the administrative offices and the Headmaster's office. The entrances used by the pupils were on the ends of the building and all pupils would first assemble in the respective cloakrooms before being released to their classrooms for registration.
The two front entrances mentioned above and shown in the photos have been changed in recent years (c. 2008). The north entrance now sports a glazed lobby area and the south door has been completely blocked off.
Running east from the southern stairway on the ground floor was a corridor running alongside the Geography department which comprised one small classroom, a small office and then a large classroom (which was used by the Railway Club for their weekly meetings). A room between the office and the corridor was used as a darkroom. Upstairs were three or four standard sized classrooms and also the entrances to the gallery of the hall where the Sixth Form sat during assembly.
The gallery was due to be converted to teaching space and a lighting technical area in the Summer of 2005. I assume this happened.
The corresponding block at the north end is not one I had too much contact with but I seem to remember that the classroom nearest the stairs on the ground floor was the music room and I think that there was a needlework room on the ground floor and a cookery room on the first floor (or vice versa). Helen is confident that the typing room was up there too.
Linking these two blocks at the east end was a corridor with stairwells at each end. On the ground floor there was a line of classrooms facing onto the playground. On the first floor there were at least two classrooms at the north end and then the Biology lab. There may have been a second Biology lab next to it (it would make sense if there was)
Across the centre of the building between the hall and the east corridor was the Library. A rather bouncy floor suggested this was originally a gymnasium (and indeed it was, though it was also used as a dining hall until the new one opened in the early 1960s). Above it, reached by stairs from the upper corridor, was a room used for art. A hazy recollection suggests this had a balcony and a slightly less hazy one suggests that this was used as a common room by the Lower Sixth up until 1979 (which may or may not suggest that the art room was somewhere else at the time). Two small courtyards thus existed in the centre of the main buildings. I seem to recall that one had a pond in it.
As of May 2009, there are plans for the two courtyards to be built on to provide much needed extra space for the still expanding school. I'm not sure of the timescales for this.
On the south side of the site adjoining the boys' entrance were the workshops (two of them?) with the technical drawing office alongside. Between them and the main building was another courtyard that had no real use with the fourth side being formed by the corridor alongside the changing rooms. The changing rooms led on to the gymasium which dominated the south side of the playground.
The workshops, changing room and gymnasium were all built as part of the major alterations and extensions to the school which came into use in 1962 or thereabouts (one can imagine they might have been in use prior to their "official" opening). Presumably there must have been workshops in existence prior to this.
Over on the north side of the site was the science block which again dates from 1962. Entrance to the ground floor was in the middle of the south side and on the right was the dining hall. On the left side a corridor served the staff dining room on one side and on the other the Applied Physics lab. This housed some of the more substantial equipment but despite doing A-Level Physics I can't recall it being used very much. There must have been a fairly large room behind the dining room too but quite what that was for is lost in time (it was possibly something that was still considered a girls only subject). On the first floor, reached by the central stairway or via a walkway from the first floor of the main building, were the two Physics labs and the two Chemistry labs and the associated stores and offices. One Physics lab had a room at the rear that could be blacked out and one Chemistry lab had a room with more sensitive weighing equipment.
The school buildings were completed with two prefabricated huts. Extensions to the school are recorded in 1968 so perhaps this could date them? The smaller one near the tennis courts was commonly called the 'Richmond Hut' as it housed the Lower Sixth Richmond pupils but when I got to the Lower Sixth things were reorganised and Bedford occupied it (Richmond ending up in a Chemistry lab). The larger one alongside the playground had the Sixth Form common room and three small classrooms exclusively for Sixth Form use. Presumably the substantial three storey building that now stands where these huts once did is used for Sixth form teaching as the number of pupils entering the Sixth Form has approximately doubled since 1994. Apparently it also has rooms for art and business studies and dates from around 1999.
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