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110: Albert Street
The Albert Street School

The Albert Street School, centre right, taken about 1970.

The school in Albert Street was established in 1880 by the Bridgwater School board. The buildings were extended in 1897 and the name changed to Friarn School in 1958.

The aim was for around 716 pupils. In 1907 average attendance, with 847 children on the books, was 718. In 1938 attendance was just 436, in 1947 562. The junior pupils moved to the Westover School site in 1978, leaving just the infants. In 1981 they followed and the old school building was demolished. It's a surprise the buildings lasted that long. In July 1960, when the wider West Street developments were being planned, Alderman R. Biddiscombe was adamant that the Albert Street and West Street Schools should be demolished as well as they were 'wretched monstrosities' and very costly to heat in the winter (Taunton COurier, 9 July 1960).

Although the school is gone, its boundary wall on Albert Street survives. If you look closely you can see a large number of initials inscribed in the brick, left by the former pupils.

Bob Dunning, The Victoria County History of the County of Somerset, Volume 6 (Oxford, 1992)

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