THE rich and varied history of one of Bolton’s oldest schools can now been seen through the eyes one of its former pupils.
School books belonging to Nora Allsop, who at the time was one of only three pupils to have won a scholarship, have been donated to Bolton School archive by her family, which includes great-granddaughter and current pupil Ella Smyth.
Mrs Allsop died in 2011 at the age of 97.
She would have celebrated her 100th birthday on February 19.
The former deputy headteacher left her books to her daughter Kathleen Foster, who has donated them to Bolton School’s archive.
She visited the school with her daughter Nissa Smyth, Ella’s mum, to hand over the treasure trove of memories.
Mrs Allsop was a pupil from 1925 to 1932 and witnessed the move in 1928 from the girls’ division in Park Road to the present grand buildings on Chorley New Road. In the 1920s, pupils had to buy their own books even if they received a scholarship, so Mrs Allsop was able to keep hers.
The books, many of which have been stamped by the school, span a wide range of subjects — there are novels, plays and a set of poems but also science and maths textbooks. Her family say she took maths to A-Level and loved poetry and was an avid reader.
Mrs Allsop’s passion was for sport and she captained the lacrosse and netball squads and was on the cricket team.
Photographs, which the family have also donated, includes pictures of the 1930 sports teams and photographs from Sports Day 1931.
She gave up her post as a primary teacher when she married Albert Heath in 1939.
But she returned to teaching during the Second World War and continued long after its end. She retired from the post of deputy head at Lord Street Primary School in Horwich in 1974. Eric Fairweather, the school archivist, said: “The books are of particular interest because they date back to the mid-1920s when the new school on Chorley New Road was in course of construction thanks to the immense generosity of Lord Leverhulme.
“Gifts of this nature make history come alive for our pupils and helps them to appreciate better the school’s rich and varied past and how it has come to be where it is today.”
Ella, aged 12, added: “My great grandma knew that I’d applied to come to Bolton School, but sadly she passed away before I got in.
“I think she’d be pleased that I came here.
“I think she’d be pleased, as well, that she’s getting all this fuss over her books.”
Ella’s mum, Mrs Smyth, said: “After she looked after them for her whole life, they have now come back to the school.”