King Edward's School Home

Old Edwardians

1939-1945: The Second World War

By the time war was announced, the new girls' school was built up to the second storey and some of it had been roofed. The girls were evacuated to Pates Grammar School in Cheltenham, where they were given rations of chocolate and corned beef upon arrival. Here, lessons for KEHS took place in the afternoons as Pates occupied the school in the mornings. Girls remember the corridors being frosted over in the winter, and spending a glorious summer picking berries in the nearby countryside.

They returned to Birmingham during the Autumn of 1940, at the same time as the Battle of Britain. The girls returned to a school full of the iconic yellow ‘blackboards' and blue chalk, and used bicycle sheds for shelters.
It was difficult to find replacement teachers during the war effort, as war work made fewer women available. Miss Barrie requested that married teachers be permitted to sign permanent contracts to fill the deficit. Sadly, the Chief Education Officer turned her down.

This and the many other stresses of teaching during the war took its toll on Miss Barrie's health and she retired during 1941. She had held the school together through challenging times. Miss Jaques took charge interregnum.