Sedgehill School

Sedgehill Secondary School is a large mixed gender school in south-east London in England.


The site was originally ear-marked as for a T.B. hospital, due to the clear, bracing air of its location on a hillside at the top corner site of Sedgehill Road, Bellingham in south east London.


The school was built by the then London County Council. It opened in September 1957 and its first headmaster was Mr. J. E. Brown, BA

Original Building

The new building had four gynasia; ten labs for Science, Physics and Chemistry; six art rooms with provision for pottery; six practical rooms for Housecraft/Cooking and rooms specially equipped for Needlework, Woodwork and Metalwork in a Technology block. There were also areas for Engineering Drawing, commerce and music teaching.

Facilities included purpose-built outdoor tennis courts which could be converted for netball, and sandpits for long-jumping. There was also an outdoor amphitheater used during the summer. In 1965-66 the school made use of its facilities for learners at the then new Crystal Palace International Sports Arena.

The original school hall had seating for 1,500 pupils

In Sedgehill's early days it catered for the needs of pupils between the ages of 11 to 18 years. All the boys and girls followed a general course of education for the first three years. During the third year parents were informed of the school's assessment of the abilities and aptitudes of each child; these factors, together with the parents' wishes, were given the most careful consideration when the time came for each pupil's allocation to one of the various courses. These were:

  • Those leading to the General Certificate of Education (G.C.E.) at Ordinary, Advanced and Scholarship Levels, and then onto University for professional careers such as Accountancy, Banking, the Civil Service, Dentisty, Domestic Science, Insurance, Law, Local Government, Medicine, Nursing, Social Sciences, and Teaching.
  • Those leading to examinations in the Certificate of Social Education (C.S.E.), and then in most cases onto Training College in: Commerce, Engineering, Building Trades and Tradesmen (many attaining apprenticeships with City and Guild's and professional careers), Needlecraft, Art and Crafts, and Music. All at ages varying from 16 to 18 years.
  • Shorter courses for pupils not preparing for public examinations.

In 1971 the joint head of science at the school, Donnahadh O'Shea, was accused of causing an explosion on a train and injuring a 76 year old woman. The woman claimed she could not hear after the explosion, and said: "All the windows on the non-corridor side blew in. My suitcase came down from the rack, and my purse shot off on to the glass". O'Shea had thrown nitroglycerine from the train as it was going through a bridge. Special Branch found four tins of grey "pistol powder", primers and a 12-bore cartridge in O'Shea's locker at the school. They also found 45 tear gas cartridges at his home in Bishopsthorpe Road, Sydenham. O'Shea had denied he was on the train at the time of the explosion but was picked out by a passenger in an identification parade. He pleaded not guilty to possessing nitroglycerine, causing an explosion and wounding the 76 year old woman. He pleaded guilty to possessing prohibited ammunition without permission. O'Shea was found not guilty of possessing an explosive substance, causing an explosion and wounding the woman. He was convicted of possessing 2lb. of nitrocellulose powder and 3,454 priming caps. He was jailed for 12 months for possessing explosives.

A 1974 intake pupil, Lloyd Hall, was one of the tragic victims of the New Cross Fire of Sunday January 18 1981. The school has recently gained an arts mark and became a performing arts college. The school is now in federation with Forest Hill School (boys' school) and Sydenham School (girls' school), making a sixth-form federation known as Hillsyde.

The school is now planning to be rebuilt on the same site but on different parts of land. The construction of the new school building has now begun (summer 2007) and it is aimed to be completed by December 2008.


Pupils currently wear black blazers (as opposed to the former grey blazers), with the school emblem on the front. The emblem is a yellow shield with a lion inside and the words "Dominus Regnat" (the Lord reigns) underneath.

House system

Pupils are grouped using a house system. Each House - 'Bristol', 'Lincoln', 'Salisbury' and 'York' - has its own coloured stripe on members' ties. These colours are blue, green, red and yellow, respectively. These ties replace the 'old school' tie of black and gold stripes. Those who are selected as prefects at the end of year 10 wear a special black tie with a regular pattern of the sedgehill logo printed on top.

Notable alumni

The Sedgehill 'Birdman'

Sculptor, Elizabeth Frink, donated a 'bird man' sculpture to the school in the late 1950s, which was later replaced by "The Sedgehill Angel". This second fixed Sculpture was created and made in sections by Pupils in the school's Pottery Department, under the guidance of Mr Lewis then the Head of the Art and Pottery Department, and with the sections joined together, was then mounted onto the North - Facing wall of the school's gym block. There it remained until the mid-1980s. Mr Lewis left Sedgehill School at the end of Term [Beginning of the Summer Holidays in 1966 ], to take up a position with Imperial Chemical Industries [I.C.I.]. His Last [Art Room],Form - Class was 2F9 [Class of "66".],as well as being Head of Pottery in LG1.


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