A Short History of The Priory School

The Priory School as we currently know it came into existence in 1988, but the original school buildings were commissioned and opened in January 1955. Post-war Britain saw a number of changes to the school landscape of Hitchin.

Old Hale Way School, which was opened in June 1940, saw girls and boys housed at separate ends of the school. In 1955, Old Hale Way School became known as The Bessemer School for Boys, named after Sir Henry Bessemer (Inventor and Engineer born in Charlton). The girls moved to a brand new building, Hitchin High School for Girls, on the Bedford Road which is the current site of The Priory School.

In 1974, Bessemer School for Boys became Hitchin School, and The Hitchin High School for Girls became Bowes Lyon School, named after The Queen Mother who had opened the school on 29th March 1955. In 1976 the intake for both schools become co-educational.

In September 1988, Hitchin School and Bowes Lyon School amalgamated and became known as The Priory School. Hitchin School was not used again as an educational establishment and was demolished. Westbury Homes bought the land and built a new housing estate named Bessemer Close.

Hitchin High School for Girls


  • Miss Dorothy J. Gunn MBE: 1954–1961
  • Miss Margaret Beardsworth: 1961–1967
  • Miss Morrie Breckenridge: 1967–1975

Bowes Lyon School (Co-educational)


  • Mr Robert Annetts: 1976–1988

The Priory School


  • Mr J. Legg: 1988–2002
  • Mr Peter Loach: 2002– 2013
  • Mr Geraint Edwards: 2013–