Fairfield Grammar School

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Fairfield Grammar School
Fairfield School, Montpelier, Bristol. - geograph.org.uk - 198016.jpg
Fairlawn Road, Montpelier


Coordinates51°28′09″N 2°34′57″W / 51.46916°N 2.58244°W / 51.46916; -2.58244Coordinates: 51°28′09″N 2°34′57″W / 51.46916°N 2.58244°W / 51.46916; -2.58244
MottoQuanti est Sapere
Local authorityBristol
Age11 to 18
ArchitectWilliam Larkins Bernard
AlumniOld Fosterians

Fairfield Grammar School was a secondary school in Bristol, England, founded in 1898 as Fairfield Secondary and Higher Grade School. It became a grammar school in 1945 and closed in 2000, to be replaced by a new comprehensive, Fairfield High School, at first on the same site, but now located in Stottbury Road, Bristol. BHES (Bristol Hospital Education Service), is now based in half of the old school, the other half is used by a similar service for under 13s.


The school began its life under the name of Fairfield Secondary and Higher Grade School, in an imposing new building by the architect William Larkins Bernard which was described as having a "towering collection of gables". Coeducational from the beginning, it was intended for children who would stay at school until the age of sixteen or seventeen.[1] Its aim was stated as being to give

When the Higher Grade School opened in 1898, it had one hundred and eighty pupils. There were fees of £1 per term, but a quarter of the places in the school were available to non-fee-paying students, who were selected by an annual competition.[1]

In March 1918, the school's most notable son, Archie Leach, was expelled at the age of fourteen for sneaking into the girls' lavatories.[2][3][4] He went on to become the film star Cary Grant, and reported that Fairfield had given him "a sketchy education". His contemporary at the school, Sir Archibald Russell, was deputy to the French designer of the supersonic airliner Concorde.[5]

In 1945, the school became a grammar school.[1][6]

The school occupied a triangular site in Montpelier, Bristol, being bounded by Fairlawn Road to the west, Fairfield Road to the south east, and Falkland Road to the north west. To the north was an area of railway land. There were no on-site playing fields, but there was a hard-surfaced playground to the north of the main school. This building was listed Grade II in January 2002, at a time when the local education authority was planning to move the new Fairfield High School to a new site.[7]

To mark the school's centenary in 1998, Ross Gilkes, a former Fairfield history master, wrote a school history which was published by the Old Fairfieldians Society.[8]

In 2000, against a background of opposition by Bristol City Council to selective education and declining academic results,[9] Fairfield closed as a grammar school and reopened as a comprehensive, being renamed Fairfield High School. In 2006, the new school moved to new purpose-designed buildings at Stottbury Road, Bristol.[10] One reason for the move was that the existing site had room for only some five hundred pupils, a number which was considered to be too low.[11]

In 2007, the former Fairfield Grammar School buildings in Fairlawn Road were used by the new Redland Green comprehensive school, after more than £20 million was spent on upgrading them,[12] but in September 2007 this was reported to be a "temporary home",[13] and by 2008 the school was no longer on site and was located at Redland.[14]

Notable Old Fairfieldians[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Gilkes, Ross, Fairfield — The Life of a School (Bristol, Old Fairfieldians Society, ISBN 0-9534403-0-3)[8]
  • Stiles, Sharon, Fairfield, the First 100 Years (video, Applecart Television Facilities, 1999)[21]


  1. ^ a b c d About Bristol Suburbs Montpelier Fairfield School at about-bristol.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  2. ^ a b Fight to save Cary Grant's school dated Tuesday, 23 October 2001, at bbc.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  3. ^ CG TRIVIA: IMPORTANT DATES at carygrant.net, accessed 25 November 2008
  4. ^ The Frenchay connection at dial.pipex.com, accessed 25 November 2008
  5. ^ a b Sir Archibald Russell, Aircraft Engineer (1904-1995) Archived October 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine at rpec.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  6. ^ Stiles, Sharon, Fairfield, the First 100 Years (video, Applecart Television Facilities, 1999) at oldfairfieldians.org.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  7. ^ Report on planning application 02/01233/FB/C to Development Control (Central) committee meeting on 10 July 2002 at bristol.gov.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  8. ^ a b FAIRFIELD - The Life of a School at oldfairfieldians.org.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  9. ^ Education: School League Tables 1998 Fairfield Grammar School at bbc.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  10. ^ The new Fairfield High School at oldfairfieldians.org.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  11. ^ ST5974 : Fairfield School, Montpelier, Bristol at geograph.org.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  12. ^ New schools' costs 'keep rising' / Three school-building projects in Bristol have gone £2m over budget, story at bbc.co.uk, dated Monday, 13 November 2006, accessed 25 November 2008
  13. ^ Flagship schools on the horizon Two new secondary schools have opened in Bristol this month[dead link], article dated September 11, 2007, from Western Daily Press at highbeam.com, accessed 25 November 2008
  14. ^ Redland Green School, Bristol, Contact Details at redlandgreen.bristol.sch.uk, accessed 25 November 2008: "Please note that we are no longer located at Fairlawn Road, Montpelier, Bristol BS6 5JW"
  15. ^ 'Frome, Sir Norman Frederick CIE DFC', in Who's Who 1982 (London: A. & C. Black, 1982)
  16. ^ Burrell, Ian, Bristol finally unveils statue to its most famous son: Archie Leach in The Independent dated 8 December 2001, at independent.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  17. ^ "Ben Green CV" (PDF). University of Oxford. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  18. ^ Robert Lang(obituary), 17 November 2004, at telegraph.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008
  19. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth (2001). The International Who's Who of Women 2002. Psychology Press. p. 303. ISBN 9781857431223.
  20. ^ "Dame Mary Perkins DBE – Co-Founder and Senior Executive, Specsavers". Palgrave. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  21. ^ Centenary Video at bristolindex.co.uk, accessed 25 November 2008

External links[edit]